Review: Furi (PS4)

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Title: Furi
Format: PlayStation Network Download (3.66 GB)
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Publisher: The Game Bakers
Developer: The Game Bakers
Original MSRP: $24.99
ESRB Rating: M
Furi is also available on PC.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
There have been a handful of games that focus on boss fights and the latest entry in this small genre is Furi. The story follows our character breaking free of his jail and traveling from jailor to jailor until he reaches his freedom. I would say there is a grand or epic tale to be told, but in reality the story is rather thin and the mechanics are at the heart of the game.

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This is a boss battle only game, meaning the only time you are fighting is against a boss. These bosses all fall under a two stage process that is repeated based on how many life bars that boss has.

The first stage is a free roaming arena where players shoot a laser pistol like they are playing a twin stick shooter or shmup. This stage is used mostly for taking out the enemy’s shield and once that’s down the second stage begins.

… the combat is relentless …
In the second stage battles turn into a tight up-close sword fight that takes place in a much smaller circle. Here the mechanics become focused on parrying, dodging, and striking. Enemies will have a tell when you can parry and from what I can see it can differ from boss to boss in the timing needed to parry. When successful, players can go in for the strike and chip away at an enemy’s life bar.

Precision and timing are key because the combat is relentless in punishing mistakes. If you lose a life bar the enemy will regain theirs plus their shield. The only break this game gives the player is regenerating their life bar when they take out one of the bosses.

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Furi does a decent job at giving players a nice variety of boss fights that, for the most part, feel rather different from each other. Some encounters can have more of a focus on shooting while others have the melee combat being more vital. Though you still will have the same two stage setup.

This game is f***ing difficult. There is no nice way to put, it just is. A single fight can take anywhere from ten to twenty minutes and I have even gone up to thirty minutes on a single boss, not counting how many retries I took despite being on the default difficulty setting.

… it just dragged on …
The game does allow for players to bump the difficulty down to a very easy setting to experience the story, but you will not be able to earn trophies and the game feels shallow on this mode with a lackluster story.

One of the positives of this mode is the ability to see every boss and unlock them in practice mode which is how I was able to see every battle and defeat most of them on the default difficulty.

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Speaking of the story, it’s hard to tell if it was given the best presentation and that’s what impacted my opinion of it. See, the story is told mostly between the fights on really long walks, like really long walks.

Players are expected to travel from fight to fight and these walks have some odd controls and camera issues. The developers must have seen that as an issue because players are allowed to hit the Cross button once forcing the game to walk for them. Unfortunately time does not skip and you have to sit there and watch. It can be annoying and was probably meant as a breather between combat, but instead it just dragged on.

… no particular level stood out to me …
Visuals:
The world of Furi is a flashy and neon infused with vibrant colors pulsating in the environment. The game stands out for sure thanks to its colorful aesthetic. Combined with its soundtrack it feels like something out of Nicolas Winding Refn’s mind.

Each fight fits into its level and the battle arenas followed the same basic structure design of an open arena that varies in size pending the abilities of the boss. I did realize when I looked back at my time that despite the colorful world no particular level stood out to me outside of whatever colors were used which is either a sign of lackluster level design or a very cohesive world.

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The characters were designed by Afro Samurai creator Takashi Okazaki and it shows. This artist has a very defined style when it comes design and it can be seen throughout the various characters, some of which just feel pulled directly from Afro Samurai.

Audio:
The soundtrack is by far my favorite aspect of the game as it matches the vibrant neon world beautifully. With tracks from artists like Carpenter Brut and The Toxic Avenger it is difficult not to love it if you’re into electronic music.

… a punishing game that will frustrate …
Each track has a different vibe that reflects the boss you are about to battle and they fit so well into the world around you. The music is the only saving grace for the long walks between fights. I highly recommend checking out the soundtrack outside of the game if you are into this style of music.

Online/Multiplayer:
If players beat the game on the default setting they will unlock a speedrun mode that will rank their runs through the game. Outside of that mode having a way to compare yourself to other players, the game is one player only.

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Conclusion:
Furi is a punishing game that will frustrate a majority of players, but for those that like a challenge they will find great joy after each encounter. I spent a lot of time playing this game and I was terrible at it which is why I bumped the difficulty down. I did go back to the game through the practice mode because I wanted to learn the mechanics and get better at it.

It was an absolute challenge where I felt compelled to test my abilities and that is a sign of a good game. There are some flaws with some fights having a feel of overstaying their welcome and some of the level design lacking memorable set pieces. The world kinda bleeds together with only the bright colors separating them in my mind.

The story is lackluster due to it being told through long walks that prevented things from having the chance to be entertaining or engaging. With that said, the gameplay mechanics are solid and fun despite the difficulty. Whenever I failed I was compelled to try again because I wanted to improve my skill and not because I felt the game was unfair or cheap.

This game will not be for everyone as its difficulty will prevent casual players from fully enjoying it, but those hungry for a challenge have a new game to test their might.

Score:
7.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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