Ever dreamt of having a game made up of boss battles, techno tunes and dialogue spersed in-between? Furi is the answer to all your prayers.
Set in a fictional, futuristic prison, on a distant planet, Furi sees you take on the mantle of an enigmatic stranger who is endlessly tortured and ridiculed by his jailor. With the help of an unexpected ally, however, the stranger is given a gun and sword to fight back against his oppressors.
That’s when the fun begins and Furi combines the timing and coordination of a Dark Souls battle with a twin-stick shooter. Throughout each of the games battle sequences, you’ll need to time your dodges, strikes, and shots, as well as make effective use of your environment, in order to survive and progress the story. The initial aim is to fight your enemies at range, then eventually get in close to hack them down to move onto the next phase. This continues until their health bar is depleted and you can move on to another floor of the prison to fight another guard.
As you might expect, however, Furi is as brutal and challenging as any game would be if it was focused solely on boss battles. At times, Furi will feel like the most satisfying game in the world when you’re acing a pattern and running circles around your enemy. Other times, you want to hope you covered your walls in bubble wrap!
One minute, you’re dodging laser beams and projectiles, the next you’re circling your opponent, hacking and slashing at them every time they expose the slightest weakness. Furi is definitely all about timing, and patience. You aren’t going to win every battle. A lot of the time you will need some trial and error. For the most part, that’s ok, because there’s no ‘one strategy beats all’ methodology to make this a linear and one-dimensional experience.
But perhaps the most surprising revelation is that your abilities won’t change from beginning to end, only the way you use them. You won’t learn new moves after beating someone up or unlock something because you gained enough experience. Once you get that sword and gun, you’re a master.
That might make the combat seem shallow, but by the end of Furi you will have maximised your skills to their absolute full, necessitating the use of every roll, every flick and swipe. Furi does not fall into the trap of other beat-em-ups where many of the attacks aren’t used or get forgotten about. Believe me, you will be very well-drilled by what it does offer, and encourages you to experiment from the word ‘go’.
That said, sometimes the occasional bug will rear its head and completely throw you off the gameplan you’ve worked so hard to execute. No matter how well a combat system is implemented, you can’t do much against the cheap shots. But the beauty of Furi is that you will want to keep trying, making Switch such a great console for that. You can pick up on that battle any time and try again when you have a wave of inspiration, or a sense of determination to progress.
Which should make it all the more pleasing to know that Furi runs bloody gloriously on Switch. Whether you’re playing Docked or on a handheld, the frame rate is steady and stable, characters gliding around the battlefields like a dream. And hearing that synthetically sexy soundtrack through headphones means it has never sounded better.
But the game also offers a surprisingly depth-filled story. You don’t know the identity of the character you’re playing or how they got there, but you feel their struggle. You immediately respond to their desire to fight back, to gain redemption, and free themselves from captivity. At the same time, you also want to learn more about them and what they might do with their new-found freedom.
Furi is yet another indie darling that has found a perfect home on Switch. It’s fast-paced, sometimes fun, often frustrating, but an utterly compelling experience throughout. You’ll find it too irresistible to ignore with the desire to keep fighting and trying new strategies, the key message that drives the heart of the game to begin with. And if the battles don’t keep you coming back for more, the pulse-pounding, dazzling beats certainly will.
+ Epic soundtrack
+ Easy to pick up, difficult to master combat system
+ Surprisingly deep narrative
– Bugs can break the flow of combat
– Difficulty curve will not be for everyone
8 out of 10
Tested on Nintendo Switch