Sleek, beautiful, fun, annoying, agitating, rage inducing, fast paced, intriguing, entertaining, unfair, tiresome, and unreasonable are all words that describe this game equally. Furi has the combat of a fighting game but with the design and strategy of a spaceship shoot-’em-up. Think Soldner-X, Galaga, or Resogun. There will be sword fighting and gun firing mixed in with dodging all sorts of attacks that can take up the entire battlefield. You’ll be doing that a lot when facing Furi’s bosses. In fact it’s all you’ll be doing because this game is only boss battles. Is that a bad thing? Let’s find out!
The story takes place on multiple realms that supposedly exist above our planet Earth. You are a prisoner who has been locked away on one of these realms for undisclosed reasons. You’re broken out by a Donnie Darko bunny/Ninja Ninja inspired character who then acts as a companion for the rest of the game. Except he doesn’t help you out in any of the battles! Sure, later in the story he allegedly did something off-screen but I wasn’t buying it. From there you exact your unknown revenge by trying to break out of these realms. You do this by beating a boss in each level and walking to the next one with some commentary from your mysterious pal. Rinse and repeat.
Each battle is different then the last and will feature different maps, tactics, and attacks for each one. Some bosses will be easier to face just firing your laser handgun or getting in close with your electrified katana. There is also a charged up ability for each weapon but I found them useless in later levels. Rest assured though every single opponent will make you dodge, die, dodge, dodge again, and die again. That much is constant. Where one would fire out wave after wave of energy, another would just blanket the whole screen with attacks. Your ability to parry, avoid, and read the assault will determine your level of success. Be advised each fight could take up to an hour as you learn the strategies of every new opponent.
The design of the battles themselves are not unlike fighting games. Both of you will have bars representing health (except one bar is really two bars of health for the bosses) and whoever can bring down one bar first respectively, will win the round. The winner’s health would then replenish up until the current bar. Which, not going to lie, kind of irked me a little. It made the game that much harder and sort of felt like a tacked on gimmick. More on that later. Each round the bosses will change their game plan slightly especially when on their last health bar. Here the ultimate moves were outrageously abundant and the screen being coated with attacks at their most brutal.
Once you painstakingly overcome all of your ass kickings, it is revealed why you were locked up in the first place. You can then act on why you were captured or take a hint from all of Furi’s foreshadowing. Either way it wasn’t hard to tell what was going on even though you were given the least amount of information as possible. After this happens and your controller throwing is at an end, you realize how much fun you had. Like whenever you performed a perfect parry, succeeded in a clutch maneuver, or figured out your opponents tactics after many attempts. The frustration to reward ratio is real with this game.
Technically speaking Furi is well designed. It has its own unique art style, fantastic music, and immersive voice acting and dialogue. With that said it is easy to see where certain things weren’t touched up. Some textures go through objects and a mouth animation may be horribly off balanced but it doesn’t take you out of the moment. What can take you out of the moment is a muscle strain. This game’s gimmicks may put a dent in your controller, tv, family member or furniture. Sometimes the screen is so full of things that can hurt you that dodging only puts you smack dab into another attack. Better yet you could have sworn you pushed the parry button but Furi didn’t care. In other words some moments may just come down to sheer luck.
I feel I have to mention one, big issue I had. When I first booted up the game my R2 trigger did not respond to prompts or inputs. Luckily, this was only for my charged shot attack and I had another controller I switched over to. From there I had no further problems. However, I’ve heard from others that different buttons didn’t work for them as well. I don’t know if this is just an issue with controllers or if The Game Bakers will be coming out with a patch real soon.
Furi is not kind and it does not care. It knows it offers a fun, rewarding experience for those that persist. The combat is extremely fun to relish and the level designs make you think. Each boss will have you coming back for more whether you like it or not. The story may be a little loose but the graphics, sound, and art style more than make up for that. As hard as this game can be, dying will not be your fault at times. Controls may not respond as you intended and luck may just not have been on your side. But if you ever wanted to be a swordsman in a shoot em up game, definitely give Furi a try.
Review Disclaimer: This review was conducted using a PS4 digital copy that was bought at the expense of the reviewer. This does not affect the content of the review or the final score awarded. For more information, please read our Review Policy.