Saturday, January 13, 2018

Review: Furi [Nintendo Switch eShop]


When it comes to epic fights against tough opponents most games only provide them in limited supply. Even then a valid complaint in the past few generations is that in many cases boss fights have become a bit stale, with too many familiar patterns and tropes that diminish their impact. If you’ve ever felt that way Furi may have an answer to your problem, though if you’re not patient and your skills aren’t sharp enough you may find that they’ve dialed it a bit too far in the other direction.


It seems that you’re a prisoner, and all that stands between you are a host of jailers, other convicts… and a weird dude with a furry bunny head/mask thing who tends to wax philosophically. The story, as it unfolds, is a bit on the weird side but it actually entertained me a bit just wondering what in the world was going on. Regardless of how you may feel about it the good news is that, in general, you’ll be too busy clashing with a motley bunch of enemies… and often getting your ass handed to you.

In many ways the fighting reminds me of Punch-Out in that each enemy is a series of puzzles. At each phase their attacks must be dodged, parried, countered, and sometimes simply survived. You have some formidable abilities of your own, able to both shoot twin-stick style and slash, though most up-close fighting will usually involve parrying your opponents attacks first in order to get in your best strikes. Make no mistake, even on the game’s easiest level this will be a challenge, and the game does a fabulous job of pointing this out as you simply face your first jailer during the “tutorial”. You won’t have to worry about being bored as you grind through a long orientation, instead you’re given your skills long enough to try them out and then you’d better be ready to start switching them up. Overall the game does a pretty great job of forcing you to observe, experiment, and adapt as each enemy requires a different set of tactics to take down.


Aside from the action potentially being a bit too intense for the average gamer there are some other issues and quirks to be aware of. Probably the most unnecessarily annoying thing with the game are the over-long cut-scenes where you’ll slowly walk to your next opponent. This is broken up by dialogue from the aforementioned dude with a bunny head but it could easily have tightened things up to not have so much downtime. On top of that as the camera shifts perspective the direction you’ll need to move your joystick in will end up being almost nonsensical and weird at times. Perhaps a minor issue, but it is odd. Next to that the biggest complaint would be that you have no control over the camera and with some of the boss fights this can be a problem and lead to the action being obstructed at times. With every attack needing to be precisely dealt with this can lead to some unnecessary deaths so be sure to keep yourself in a space you can see whenever possible.

All said Furi could have easily coasted with its looks while delivering far less. Its presentation is outstanding and its combat is much more challenging, and yet generally fair, than anything I’ve played in a long while. If you’ve been feeling that games are too easy and repetitive Furi does an admirable job of breaking the typical mold, and it is an experience quite unlike anything else available on the Switch. Just be ready for some frustration, it doesn’t hold back.


Score: 8

Pros:
  • All boss fights, all the time
  • Each foe has their own style and will require you to work in order to win
  • Dripping with style, it looks great on the Switch

Cons:
  • Even at its easiest level the challenge can be substantial with certain bosses
  • The “long walk” cutscenes are a bummer and they didn’t need to be so drawn out
  • There’s no doubt that in some situations the camera becomes a secondary enemy