InFURIating… and fun.
July marked a new month for PS Plus, and along with it came a slew of free games. Of said games, Furi, a fast paced and unforgiving action title, released as well. Lucky PS Plus owners could download this bullet hell-esque experience on day one… for free. But Furi isn’t just for everyone, no; Furi is an intense and hardcore game that requires patience, a cool head, and skill (or, at the least, a keen eye and good memory).
Furi is both deceptively simple and insanely difficult. As a prisoner, you must escape your brutal jailor and make your way into the “real world”. All the while, you’re aided a by a strange and seemingly omnipotent man masked with an overly large bunny face (think Silent Hill 3). From the game’s inception, you are knee deep in action, even while battling your way through the not-so-forgiving tutorial. Fortunately, I didn’t lose completely in the tutorial, but I began to understand the level of difficulty this game possessed.
Controls in Furi are very basic, though they need to be utilized with precision and skill. The X button dodges, O parries, and Square attacks. R2 powers up your pistol, and the right joy stick will fire in whichever direction its tilted. Simple, right? Wrong. Each boss has a set number of health bars, and as you progress your way through each block of health, the battle becomes increasingly more difficult. In other words, you may think you’ve got the battle down until you get deeper into it.
I learned this perfectly well on the second boss. A prisoner of the same nature, the second boss is a woman who is bound (but still deadly). As you approach her cell – she’s nowhere in sight – you learn her story from your masked friend. Once you approach the center of the area, she appears: bound with her head lodged in a piece of metal. The fight begins immediately, and you quickly learn that she can blast enormous lasers from that metal head piece. As you dodge, shoot, and attack, her patterns become clear. (Each battle is split into a couple stages of battle per health bar; you must deal enough ‘blue bar’ damage to an enemy to drop it into a close combat state. From there, you must take out the boss’ orange health bar; repeat this trend into all the health blocks are annihilated). After the first two bars of health is depleted, she breaks her arms free of her binding and begins wielding a scythe.
During each battle, too, you are given three blocks of health. Should you fail any given round of a battle, you lose a block. Your opponent regains their current health bar, and you must start the round over again. If you are able to win, you regain a block of health. The process continues until one of you is out health blocks (though they never regain a health block, only health bars). I didn’t run into any particularly awful problems until the third boss fight, where I lost in his third block of health.
Still, Furi is certainly an interesting title. The visuals are cell shaded with a touch of cyber punk, and that worked well. The soundtrack reminded me, strangely, of Blade Runner, which also, for me, worked. What really threw me off was the strange camera angles during your walking segments (yes, you literally just walk for minutes while listening to your mysterious helper educate you about each boss). With each new screen, the camera angle changed, often to some pretty wonky angles. At times, these angles were awesome, and the new places your guide positioned himself in were also cool. At other times, the angles made the game feel slopped, especially the mechanics. During combat, too, camera angles often hindered my progress. You can’t rotate the camera, so it’s stuck in a set position, and, based on that, will sometimes give you very limited views of your arena.
In conclusion, Furi is a serious endeavor for the hardcore. It’s extremely fun and very rewarding, but it delivers in equal parts immense frustration and anger. As I mentioned earlier, patience is a needed virtue; an eye for patterns helps, too. Overall, Furi is well worth the download (especially since it’s regularly $24.99). If you’re feeling in a mood to punish yourself – by all means, take a stab at Furi. What’ve you got to lose?