Game Review - Furi on PC

Written by Lightningstrike197 on January 05, 2018 @ 8:05 pm

Furi is a game that manages to do a lot with a little. In terms of core mechanics, it's incredibly basic. Most of the game takes place from a top down perspective where the playable character, Rider(a.k.a The Stranger), has the ability to fire a simple projectile, execute a melee attack which does have a combo string if the button is pressed repeated, charge either of the two attacks, dash to a set position, and parry. However each of these mechanics have a variety of uses within the game, and can be combined in various ways. On top of that, each of the game's 10 are designed to test the player's skill with the mechanics in a variety of different ways, ensuring that players will have to get the most out of the mechanics to succeed in Furi.

Furi is almost entirely comprised of multi-phase boss fights. With a few exceptions, each phase consists of two sections: a section where the game takes a top down perspective and plays similarly to a twin stick shooter or bullet hell game, and a section where the camera zooms in and the game plays like a simple hack n slash game. The top down section always comes first, and takes up the majority of the game time. It's at these points where the game is at its deepest. Each of your abilities during this phase are capable of being used in both an offensive and defensive manner to some extent. Shooting will both deal damage and destroy certain types of projectiles and it can be done in tandem with parrying. As such there is almost never an opportunity when you do not want to be shooting, except when you want to use a melee attack or charged attack. Melee attacks deal far greater damage and unlike projectiles they inflict hitstun, though many attacks have super armour that prevent simple melee attacks from stunning them. Charged attacks also inflict hitstun, regardless of whether it's the gun that's been charged or the sword, and can be charged while dashing, making them effective punishes for ranged attacks that can't be destroyed with regular projectiles. The lengthy hitstun they provide also gives the player ample time to reposition. Charged gunshots will also destroy multiple enemy projectiles, unlike the regular projectiles, making them useful for creating space when there is a high density of enemy projectiles. There are some attack animations with super armour that will prevent the charged projectile from inflicting hitstun, but basically every attack, barring the ones where the boss is invincible while casting, can be nullified by a charged melee attack.

These mechanics allow Furi to make full use of it's space, meaning players have a lot of options in how they can position, which in turn creates a lot of variance in how the battles can play out. Since the player has a lot of tools to use defensively, there are a lot of ways in which players can approach each boss's individual attacks. If, for example, the boss were to unleash a flurry of destroyable projectiles across the arena, players could either back up and spam projectiles to destroy the projectiles coming directly at them, or they could use dashes and charged shots in tandem to avoid the projectiles while creating space for the player to push forward to eventually land a melee attack on the boss. The former option is a much safer option but at the cost of not dealing a lot of damage to the boss, whereas the latter is very risky and requires a lot of skill, but will deal far more damage to the boss. Decisions like these are frequent throughout Furi, and are where the game gets most of its depth. The developers of Furi clearly intended for it to be a speedrun game, as evidenced by the Speedrun mode, and the achievements that revolve around being quick, and these decisions that revolve around optimisation go a long way in making the game a good speedrun.

The second segement of each boss phase is much more akin to a 3D action game. It removes the player's ability to fire projectiles and limits the player's available space to just a small circle around the boss. This portion of the fight is much simpler than the first segement, though not as shallow as it may at first seem. In this phase, there's only a small window where the boss won't block an attack and counterattack, usually right before or after the boss attacks itself. The most obvious tactic is to avoid the bosses attack and immediately follow up with your own, however more aggressive players can attack the boss immediately to force a counterattack, then land a second attack to block the counterattack. It's another risk/reward tradeoff that the game has going for it though overall this second segement has much less depth than the first.

Of course there are two parts to creating such decisions. They are ultimately the product of strong fundamental mechanics and solid enemy design, or in this case, boss design. Luckily for Furi, the boss design is mostly solid. Each boss has a variety of attacks that command space in different ways and require players to make full use of the mechanics to avoid them. Almost every boss has some form of projectile attack, melee attack, AoE attack, and beam attack, but they all have their own unique twist on them. One boss fight takes place in an arena that has walls that can be destroyed and has a projectile attack where it fires large projectiles that break into smaller projectiles on contact with a surface, which means that positioning and moving to avoid the attack changes based on which walls have been destroyed and which ones have not. Another boss is capable of creating clones of itself and firing projectiles that leave a trail behind them, which can severely limit player movement if they don't position carefully.

A problem that can often occur with these types of games is that often when players attempt a boss for the first time, they end up taking damage from attacks because the player had no prior knowledge of what the bosses attacks were. This can often feel unfair to the player, even if it really isn't, and Furi is very careful to avoid that. All the basic attacks are telegraphed in the exact same way, and are taught to the player in the introductory boss battle, so players should always be able to have a basic idea of what a boss's attack will do the first time. For the most part, each boss builds upon its initial gimmick with each successive phase, so players should be able to apply what they've learned from previous phases to the current phase, which gives the game a sense of flow that really draws you into the experience.

The boss design isn't without faults however. Generally the final phase of the boss fight ends with the boss becoming invincible and using an elaborate attack that the player simply needs to dodge, until it finishes and the boss is defeated. This phase is disappointingly simple compared to other phases since the player has the sole objective of avoiding the bosses attack. It often devolves into a simple timing test instead of the complex challenges that the previous phases were. Some of the bosses tried to get around this by making players destroy static pillars to end the phase, but even with this it still lacked the dynamism that gave previous boss phases a lot of its depth. Also the final boss(not including the secret boss) felt very toned down and weak in terms of design, for story reasons, a choice I don't particularly agree with.

Between each boss fight, there's a walking section. These sections build up the upcoming boss fairly well, with music that gradually builds up as you approach the boss arena, and are fairly aesthetically pleasing. Beyond that, these sections add little to the game, but they aren't very intrusive so they aren't a big deal either way.

Overall, Furi is a well crafted game with a strong combat system that emphasizes making minor optimisations to improve your play. I recommend this game to anyone who enjoys games with skillful and challenging gameplay.


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Game Information

Platform
PC
Developer(s)
The Game Bakers
Publisher(s)
The Game Bakers
Genre(s)
Action, Shooter
NA Release Date
July 5, 2016
EUR Release Date
July 5, 2016
AUS Release Date
July 5, 2016
MVGL User Score
8.0
Composer
Carpenter Brut, Danger, The Toxic Avenger, Lorn, Scattle, Waveshaper, Kn1ght
Official Website
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