MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) Many modern games try to push forward the medium with what it can do in the realm of storytelling, but there has been an interesting wave of independent games that have really worked hard on creating finely-tuned gameplay experience. Furi, developed by French studio Game Bakers, creates a laser-focused gameplay experience that provides a great level of challenge.
Furi consists entirely of boss battles, with brief interludes that philosophize about the game’s loose plot. You are a seasoned warrior breaking out of a strange prison, fighting your way past increasingly difficult guards. The style of the game is immediately attention-grabbing, taking you on a trip through a surreal, neon wasteland that you’re trapped in. The man who breaks you out, a mysterious figure in a rabbit mask, tells you about the strange bosses that you will be facing as you approach their arenas.
What really shines about the game is the mechanics. Each boss has somewhere between four and six (maybe more later on) stages to them, often with a long-range fight and close up duel in each stage. You have four moves at your disposal: dash, parry, shoot and strike. Dashing can allow you to run away from a strike, avoiding damage, but a successful parry allows you to heal yourself. This mechanic gives the player and interesting risk-reward decision: do I play it safe and dash away, or should I try to get the timing down on a parry to heal? It’s absolutely exhilarating to try to make these decisions quickly, and feels so satisfying when you pull it off successfully.
Each boss not only feels different from the last, but each stage of the fight within each boss changes things up in interesting ways. The challenge ramps up nicely, but sometimes repeating earlier stages of the fight to get to the later stages does become tedious. Boss battles can be finished in about 15 minutes, but if you are repeating the first 12 minutes over and over again to get a shot at the final stage, it quickly become monotonous.
The audio and visuals of the game do a great job of drawing you into its cruel world. Each boss looks unique, and has a visual style that reflects their fighting technique. The interludes give you a nice chance get a good look at the diverse cast of characters before they begin zipping around the arena trying to tear you apart. While the graphics aren’t the most technically astounding, the art style hides the weaknesses and still manages to shine with a gorgeous neon, cell-shaded look.
I had no interest in this game before it came out, but thanks to it being free to Playstation Plus subscribers I took a chance on it. While it’s not the most innovative game to come out, it’s definitely one of the most stylish and satisfying experiences I’ve played in quite some time.