Thursday, October 11

Review: Feral Fury [Nintendo Switch eShop]

While the rate of releases hasn’t been as intense as it was in the first year the Switch has a ton of very solid top-down twin-stick shooters, whether of the roguelike or more traditional varieties. What’s great is that within that broad category there are a bunch of different takes on what the action should feel like, whether fast-paced, filled with insane power-ups, or simply unpredictable and exciting. The latest to arrive on the scene, Feral Fury, actually has elements that remind me of those I’ve seen in several other great shooters, but though it provides a sound experience it doesn’t really excel in any of them and ends up just being a good shooter rather than a great one.

Starting out you’ll be playing as an armed panda-esque soldier determined to blow some things up real good. In order to do this you’ll start with your standard-issue pistol, complete with unlimited ammo, a few explosives that go off on a timer, and a dodge roll. Since this is a roguelike you can expect to work your way through a randomized map that’s quite different with every run but the good news is that as you collect orbs from the enemies you’ve dispatched you’ll get the opportunity to unlock enhancements and perks that will apply to your future runs, so the game tends to get incrementally easier the more you play it. As you complete certain level requirements you’ll also unlock new animals to play as for variety.

While all of this works out well enough, and there’s no doubt that there’s room for having fun, held up against shooters already available on the system it struggles to shine in any particular area. One issue is definitely mobility as your character simply feels a little sluggish. Whether this is a design choice or simply how things shook out is hard to say but while the roll can help the pacing pulls back the intensity and there are times when you’ll take a hit simply because you are moving just a little too slow. This slowness comes into play in the alternative driving sections in particular, with your vehicle feeling about like trying to steer a Zamboni on the road. Another issue is that the upgrades and power-ups feel a bit too subdued and pulled back. The action never really gets too crazy and with ammo never being a guarantee (especially when not on Easy) it’s hard to want to go to your more powerful weaponry. Oh, and you’re only able to carry one alternative weapon at a time as well.

While there’s nothing clearly wrong with Feral Fury, unlike the best the console and genre has to offer there’s also nothing that reaches out through the screen and grabs you, demanding your attention. Its design, enemies, and weapons are too generic on the whole, its action is just a little too ploddingly slow to get your adrenaline pumping, and while you’ll continue to get further as you go nothing ever gets too crazy. If you’re looking for a shooting experience that’s good enough, but not particularly great, it’ll fit the bill but if you haven’t yet burned through the many great shooters on Switch already I’d say to shop around a bit before making your decision.

Score: 7

  • Slow progression between runs is always a good thing
  • Generally well-implemented with unlocks and some secrets hidden about
  • Three skill levels that can tone things down or crank them up in order to account for varying levels of player abilities

  • In most areas it feels a bit on the generic side, lacking the flair or intensity to go toe to toe with the better shooters already on the system
  • Movement is a bit on the sluggish side
  • Beyond Easy difficulty the availability of Health and Ammo pick-ups tends to be a little too thin, encouraging more subdued play overall