Fast, simplistic, fun, and frustrating, but Furi might not be worth the price for most PC players. For PS4 players with PS plus, Furi should be an instant pickup and is a great addition to the service. The Jailer is the key, kill him and you’ll be free.
From The Game Bakers comes the fast-paced sword-fighting dual-stick shooting boss-battling action game Furi – and breathe. In Furi you were captured and now must fight your way through Guardians that wait for you in their world to stop you from getting your freedom. That’s all I can really divulge; Furi never spoon feeds you the story and you either piece it together along the way or eventually figure it out at the quite “out there” ending.
In Furi a mysterious… someone – henceforth Rabbitman – frees you from your shackles and tells you that to be properly free you must defeat the Guardians that trapped you here. You and Rabbitman both share a common goal as he too was trapped here. Before each Guardian he talks a little bit about them, their back story, and what part they played in putting you here. Rabbitman’s character reminds me of a certain story element of Batman: Arkham Knight which if you’ve played it you know what I mean. He appears after each fight seemingly teleporting from place to place giving you various pieces of backstory.
Furi lets itself down in an attempt to be a difficult game. It’s not quite hard enough to be sold like that – especially since you’re allowed to play on easy during the first run. It seems a bit backwards to lock the hardest difficulty behind completing the game first for a game that touts itself as hard. I killed the first four bosses with one hit, and though the difficulty ramps up in a respective manner – bar the last very fight – I never felt like it was overly difficult. On the harder difficulty, “Furier”, it’s a more respectable level of hard and that should’ve been the starting difficulty. The easiest difficulty setting (Promenade) you should completely ignore – it’s a proper cakewalk.
The soundtrack to Furi is brilliant. It reminds me strongly of Kavinsky’s album Outrun. To thank for this we have: Carpenter Brut, Danger, Waveshaper, Lorn, Scattle, Kn1ght, and The Toxic Avenger. Furi’s neon graphical style benefits greatly from the soundtrack; The Game Bakers seem to have taken a book out of Drive which is heavily neon influenced throughout and even uses tracks from said Kavinsky’s Outrun. The Game Bakers have used an engine that isn’t inherently appealing but through great art direction and design Furi is gorgeous, bright and colourful. Benefiting well from the art design of Furi is the character design; each Guardian looks entirely unique with features that reflect their character; upon seeing them for the first time you have an idea of what may happen in the coming fight. Neon is used here again to allow these characters to stick out in the areas you’ll be fighting. When Rabbitman talks about the Guardian before you meet them what he tells you about them is reflected in the design of the Guardian.
Furi‘s main credit is the combat itself; it’s fun to play, has everything you need, and is simplistic in its design. From the first few Guardians Furi teaches you new attacks and expects you to overcome them. In the first fight you’re taught everything you need to know and experience a lot of the mechanics every Guardian will utilise. Later on, Guardians will start using new abilities, but the simplicity of the combat doesn’t mean you’re bothered by new attacks; you know what to do allowing you to easily deal with new abilities to avoid taking unnecessary hits through abilities unexplained by the game.
In between each of these Guardians is what eventually becomes a rather monotonous walking section. After defeating a Guardian you walk to a portal to enter the next Guardian’s world where you do further walking. Luckily, on PS4 you can hit X and your character will walk by himself while you gaze into the beautiful world design of Furi. It’s primarily during these sections when Rabbitman talks to you about your predicament. At first, it’s really intriguing but after a while becomes a rather monotonous lull in between the fighting. The Game Bakers have tried to make these sections visually impressive and with narrative intriguing enough to avoid them becoming too dull, but unfortunately they become quite stale – especially as some feel like they go on for eternity.
The Game Bakers definitely hope that you replay Furi, and I did. I went through the easy difficulty to see how easy it was and get to a secret ending quicker; the secret ending doesn’t answer any questions and you would have to restart the game again without properly completing it which would’ve annoyed me had I encountered it the first time considering this ending is about five bosses in. That said, giving you a quicker ending where it begs a replay whilst opening up a harder difficulty will certainly appeal to some players. For proper hardcore players, there is the Speedrun mode which appears after completing the game; there the walking sections are cut out and you immediately go from Guardian to Guardian while being timed. Featuring leaderboards to keep you chasing that elusive #1 spot, this could keep many players interested in Furi for awhile yet.
Furi isn’t exactly perfect, but with its unique visual and audio design, there’s plenty to like. Being July’s PS Plus game, it’s a damn fine addition to your collection, but at £18.99 I feel it might be a bit steep; there’s just not enough to offer good value for the player. That said, if you’re someone who enjoys boss battling in an impressively designed game than perhaps that seems a fair price to you. Either way, I enjoyed playing and completing it in about the five hours I did on my first run.