There’s a certain exhilaration gamers feel when playing 3-D beat ‘em ups like Bayonetta, Devil May Cry, Metal Gear Rising and others. Sure, simply beating the enemies looks cool and makes you feel good, but the true dizzying high comes with skill. The perfect parries, the last-second evades, the last pixel of health comebacks; all of these and more combine to make these games special. Furi epitomises that credo to a fault.
Furi isn’t about memorising inputs for intricate combo strings, or even about upgrading yourself as you go. Furi gives you all the tools you need to win from fight number one and challenges you to get good or die trying. It’s a trial by fire that might put off some gamers, but those who persevere will be rewarded tenfold.
A layman might describe Furi as a “boss rush” type of game: a series of duels against a range of characters that each offer something unique, both aesthetically and in terms of gameplay. Combat takes two forms; first you’ll fight at a long range in a sort of bullet hell shooter fashion (think Nier, if you’ve played it) until you’ve drained the boss’ health bar, then you’ll close in to drain their second bar. You’ll repeat this cycle until the boss goes down for good. It’s a very formulaic system, but it works.
Each fight is escalated further and further, stacking additional layers on top of the boss’ move list. It’s classic gaming 101: memorise the attack pattern, find an opening, rip them a new one. Furi has just taken the formula and refined it. Of course, if you leave yourself open, the game’s many bosses will make you pay for it.
Offensively, you have a pistol and sword, each with basic and charge attacks. Defensively, you can either evade, which is considered safer and can be cancelled from any move, or you can parry. The parry require precision timing which differs from fight to fight, but success leads to attack openings and health gain. Failure, however, leads to a quick, yet painful death.
It’s the risk/reward between evading and parrying a boss that makes for a truly engaging experience. One hit from death and you’re forced to make a decision; you either play defensive with your pistol and try to pick your spots, or you goad your opponent into attacking only to parry their whole combo and countering with your own. Both are viable, but we all know which is cooler.
Visually, the game looks fantastic. The cel-shading is uniquely done, with vivid colours washing over the screen at all times. Furi is a delight to listen to as well, with a synth-laced soundtrack from artists like Carpenter Brut and The Toxic Avenger providing the beats to your beatings. The only issue is that Furi is a one-trick pony of sorts. There’s replayability in the campaign with harder difficulties and multiple endings, but you’re just fighting the same bosses again and again. Once you’ve mastered them, you’re done.
Furi has all the tools to be a fantastic beat ‘em up, and will appeal to aficionados of that genre. If you like a good challenge and the satisfaction that comes from conquering bosses, Furi is for you. Everyone else need not apply.
Furi is available in the Store, priced £15.99.
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Bullets and blades combine for a challenging beat 'em up
An audiovisual tour-de-force and a lesson on how to fuse the shoot ’em up and beat ’em up genres, Furi is a must have game for any fans of challenging beat ’em ups. The difficulty and precision required will put some casual gamers off, but Furi sets out to please the hardcore crowd and over-achieves.