Tuesday, November 13

Review: Full Metal Furies [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Aiming to do something a bit differently is always a risk, but as someone who plays a lot of games it’s also always appreciated for keeping things interesting. Rogue Legacy continues to stand out as an early title that ran with the roguelike ball and proved it could work well. No doubt emboldened by that success the folks at Cellar Door Games decided to take on the beat-em-up genre and shakes things up a bit with Full Metal Furies. The result is certainly something different, but I’d say it works far better the more people you’re able to play with, since as a single-player experience its opportunities for enjoying what makes it distinct are more limited.

In the game you’ll be working with a band of 4 distinctive women, each from a different class and having a different feel. While the Tank and Fighter characters have a feel much more consistent with what you’d expect from the genre it’s the Engineer and Sniper classes, with their more nuanced play and ranged abilities, that break out from the mold. As you move them through the game’s multiple acts and stages you’ll be able to accumulate gold, blueprints, and hopefully find some hidden goodies as well that will give you the opportunity to upgrade their skills and arsenals. What’s interesting is that new equipment isn’t always guaranteed to mean better equipment, and you’ll need to look at what each new piece offers in terms of stats and feel to determine what will suit you best. This ability to refine the play style of each class is one of the cornerstones that make Furies distinctive.

In terms of the general feel and the game’s sense of humor it also has quite a lot to offer. It’s full of small touches and bits of personality that at least imbued the experience with some flavor, even if most people may just be about the gameplay and skip it over. The locales and enemies have enough variety to keep you on your toes, it isn’t only your own team that boasts multiple styles of attack. Where things get tricky is that certain enemies will have colored shields that correspond to a specific member of your team, meaning only they can take the shield down to allow everyone else to do damage. This amps up the challenge pretty substantially and really makes you reliant on your entire team to pull things through, a single strong player can’t simply carry everyone in the team.

This is the sort of thing that makes the solo experience a bit aggravating and unable to explore the full potential of what the game has to offer. In particular the Sniper class is prone to issues, almost to the point of making it unplayable, or at least not much fun to play. Going it solo you can only pick 2 team members to run a level with and only 1 can be on-screen at a time, you’ll need to smartly swap them out to contend with challenges. The issue is that with the Sniper being ranged and there being a delay in her being able to execute her attacks she’s perpetually vulnerable, and there’s nobody else around to mix things up and give her the time she needs to operate optimally. Compounding this issue is the fact that some areas are weirdly corridor-like and cramped, making any classes that aren’t melee based sitting ducks even moreso, even when playing with friends. While online play is available to help you try to party up and experience the game as it was meant to be predictably ready availability is spotty at best.

As a game that you can enjoy with a group of friends (the more the merrier) Full Metal Furies is a unique take on a beat-em-up, peppering in some ranged characters elements of action RPG progression as well. It’s smart, sassy, and really forces you to work together to get through some tough spots that will require coordination. Unfortunately as a solo experience it suffers and ends up almost being a completely different game in the process, relatively forcing you to favor use of your melee characters and then hoping your ranged ones don’t become liabilities when you use them. If you have a group that’s looking for an action-based challenge with personality it’s a solid choice though.

Score: 7.5

  • An interesting melding of classic beat-em-up and action RPG elements
  • Each class has its own feel and can get upgrades that help tune how they play to suit your tastes better
  • Works nicely with a group of 4 in particular

  • The ranged characters and overall play suffer greatly when playing solo
  • Online play is supported but availability isn’t something you can count on either
  • Tight spaces mixed with multiple enemies and bullets you need to dodge can be muddled and aggravating