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Review: Furi

by onJanuary 24, 2018
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Editor’s Note: More than a year after the game’s original release and our review on PC and PlayStation 4, this piece has been updated following the release of the game on Nintendo Switch, as well as the content updates that is available to all which reflects on the overall score, and final verdict. 

The new Nintendo console is definitely an idyllic place for the independent scene. Over the course of the first launch year, many developers did not hesitate to port their games to the Japanese console, either to to capture a new audience or offer a different approach to their title by making use of the machine’s unique features. In the case of the Game Bakers, they managed that brilliantly with a successful optimization of their SHMUP and action adventure game known as Furi, previously released in 2016 on PC and PlayStation 4 (as part of the PS Plus program) and then Xbox One.

 

Furi’s Switch version takes all that was great about the original title: A rhythmic epic adventure paired to the sounds of French electro music big names like Carpenter Brut or The Toxic Avengers. And of course let’s not forget the great brush of Takashi Okazaki at work, who is also known for Afro Samurai. That said, and just like when it was first released, the visual beauty will not be enough to counter the rather small and rare technical weaknesses that are still present on this Switch version. Considering there was already another port done for the Xbox One and more than a year to make sure it’s perfect, I’m a bit disappointed to see this lack of effort on polishing especially during the non-combat phases between bosses.

These imperfections are clearly more noticed while playing the game docked, and seem to be gone in handheld mode, which is pretty much how I play most of the time. Sometimes, some stuttering are less visible, but in general it’s an overall solid game technically speaking, if you’re not crazy picky. But the great part in term of technical optimization is probably when it comes to the control scheme. I almost dare to say that the gameplay fit better on the Nintendo Switch console with the HD Rumble.

Finally, Furi on the Nintendo Switch comes away with the “One More Fight” DLC, which adds a new boss (“The Flame”), a new arena and extra improvements likes a harder difficulty level and speedrun mode for free. So in the end, if you missed this great game on previous consoles or PC, then go ahead and plunge into Furi on Nintendo Switch, you won’t regret it.


Furi Original Review published on 30th of August 2013 by Mazen Abdallah

“Kill the Jailer, and you’ll be free”. That’s the simple premise that guides you in Furi, a polished boss rush title that pits you against a series of challenging foes in a fierce, brutal and often frustrating mix of dueling and twin-stick shooting action. While the premise is simple, Montpellier-based studio The Game Bakers have managed to craft a polished, complex combat system out of a series of simple yet intuitive game mechanics.

Furi is set in an exotic neon world, where you wake up in bondage. A strange man (strange by our standards, in that world he fits right in) with a bunny mask instructs you to get up and kill the man keeping you there, and you silently comply. Thus begins your first boss fight, and also your tutorial.

The game’s tutorial takes a good long time, and it definitely requires that time because its combat system is fairly deep. As I said before, the gameplay is a mix of melee and ranged combat. In shooting mode, you fire at your opponent in a top-down arena while dodging bullet patterns that would make the most dedicated bullet-hell gamer blush. These sections easily turn into the most frustrating, and they’re not helped by the game’s obnoxious dodge mechanic. Instead of letting you roll through smoothly, the game’s dodge mechanic shoots your right across a given area. The problem with this is that you have to get a sense of where you’ll end up. More often than not, I dodged a laser beam at the wrong time and ended up smacking right into it. You’ll get the timing down, but the dodge mechanic will shake your faith in humanity. It’s also not helped by the fact that the dodge mechanic isn’t exactly smooth. There’s a sort of delay between pressing and dodging, and you can’t chain dodges together. When the bullet action gets hectic, you’ll have trouble.

you experience some of the best sword-fighting I’ve seen in a game to date.

In the melee sections, you experience some of the best sword-fighting I’ve seen in a game to date. It’s based around parrying your opponent’s blows and waiting for the right time to strike. The game does an extremely good job with this mechanic, and it just felt so satisfying to use. Essentially, when enemies strike, they emit a loud noise and a white light flashes. You need to time the parry just right to catch their blows. Each time you do, you get a chunk of your health bar back. Right after you parry the last attack in a flurry, you have the chance to strike your opponent. Patience is key, and mashing the attack button will only result in pain. In some of the tougher boss battles, you’ll pray for these melee sections, as they’re a great opportunity to replenish your health.

Essentially, each boss has 4-5 health boxes you need to break down, and you have three. The boxes represents 1 or 2 health bars worth of enemy HP (it varies). With each boss you reach a different stage of the boss fight, and the bosses will vary their attacks (and of course severity) as the fight progresses. Typically, a stage will consist of a mix of shooting and fighting (some bosses focus more on one or the other), and whenever you get one health box down, your health is replenished and you get one of your health boxes back if you lost it. This means the boss fights are broken up into sections, which gives you some breathing room. On the flipside, the fights tend to be on the long side.

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For the most part, the game does a great job letting you know what to do, and the difficulty feels appropriate for around 80% of the fight. When the boss is on his/her last legs though, things will get crazy, and you may feel the urge to throw something at the screen in anger. Once again, this is typically during some of the shooting/dodging sections, and it’s not helped the infamous dodge mechanic. At times, the frustration will come from not knowing when exactly you can hit the enemy (it feels arbitrary) but as you progress you get a sense of when enemies are vulnerable.

When the boss is on his/her last legs though, things will get crazy

I won’t spoil it for you and tell you how many bosses you’ll face, but if and when you beat the game, you’ll have had more than your share. And there’s plenty of quality to match the quantity. The bosses are each very distinct characters with their own personalities, back stories and fighting styles. Your rabbit-mask friend briefs you on each of them in walking sections in between the boss fights. These sections can feel a little tedious, especially compared to the breakneck action of the fights themselves, but the trade-off is that you can get a sense of the trippy levels.

The bosses have colorful and creative designs to match their respective environments, as well. While each of them has the singular purpose of stopping you, they each have different reactions to your character. Some are openly hostile, while others seem to want to reach out to you in some way. I noticed the bosses seemed almost like anime characters, and sure enough when I looked it up I found that legendary Afro Samurai artist Takashi Okazaki was responsible for the boss designs. He did an amazing job, and the bosses really have a ton of character as a result.

The protagonist does the Gordon Freeman routine and doesn’t really say anything, so you don’t really learn that much about him. If you read between the lines, you can listen to what the bosses yell at you and get a sense of who he is and what he’s doing. Suffice it to say, from the get go you have the impression that he did something to deserve being imprisoned. The game’s story is told minimally in between the boss sections, and while it’s kept simple, you do eventually get a sense of your character’s purpose. I don’t want to give anything away, but it does end up going somewhere. However, most of your focus will be on your various enemies and their diverse worlds.

Furi - VGProfessional Review (6)

The bosses don’t just have their own aesthetics and environments; they also have their own music. Adding to the talent behind Furi are electronic music artists like Scattle, Toxic Avenger and Carpenter Brut. Those of you familiar with Hotline Miami 1 and 2 will no doubt be familiar with the names and their musical styles. Each fight has its own distinct feel, and the game’s amazing, pulsing synth soundtrack contributes to the look and feel as much as the unique environment and character design.

On the whole, like many indie games, Furi is not very long. Its length will vary based on your ability, but you will inevitably get better with every try. The game takes the sacred principles of boss design to heart: it’s all about patterns. You learn to recognize the audio cues, the enemy tells, and pretty much every aspect of your opponent’s personality and how it will affect what they’re going to do next. While the game length felt padded at times, it never felt repetitive in the least.

In terms of value, it’s a tough sell in terms of content on Steam, where it retails for $24.99. I will say that its combat is remarkably unique, and so what it lacks in quantity it more than provides in quantity. PS4 users will be pleased to know that it’s free with July’s PSN+  membership. They’ll be less pleased to know that the game currently has some screen tearing and FPS issues on PlayStation 4 when the screen is filled with projectiles, so I’d look out for a patch there. The PC version was smooth as hell, even in the most hectic battles, so no worries there.

Ultimately, if you like challenging duels that relies on split-second timing, and if you enjoy neon-soaked worlds and pounding synth, you’ll enjoy Furi quite a bit.

Furi was reviewed using a PC and PlayStation 4 downloadable code of the game provided by The Game Bakers, and eventually a Nintendo Switch code. The PC version was tested by Mazen Abdallah on a PC running Windows 7 Pro, with a 4GB NVIDIA Geforce GTX 970 fitted on a 4th Generation Intel i7 4790 3.6Ghz CPU and topped with 8GB of RAM. The PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch version was tested by Nazih Fares. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.

What we liked

• Amazing soundtrack
• Unique and exotic world
• Addictive and challenging combat
• Intuitive gameplay
• Smooth on the technical front on PC

What is not fun

• Dodge mechanic can be frustrating
• Boss fights feel too long at times
• Some sections are ridiculously difficult
• Level transitions are slow
• Rare technical problems on console

Editor Rating
 
Concept
9.0

 
Graphics
9.0

 
Sound
9.0

 
Playability
8.8

 
Entertainment
9.0

 
Replay Value
7.0

Final Score
8.6


Our final verdict
 

Furi is an energetic, challenging boss rush game with an entertaining (and at times frustrating) mix of shooting and melee combat.

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