Curious Challenge Limited By Design – Furi Review (PC)

Curious Challenge Limited By Design – Furi Review (PC)

Difficulty in video games has garnered a love/gate relationship. By their very nature, difficult games spilt people down the middle between those able to play and those who crumble. Furi does not care about those people who crumble, it revels in their failings.

At the heart of the game, Furi is the accumulation of various old school elements fused with 80s synth music and anime. The results are a odd buffet of success and failures, but undeniable charm. Furi focuses of the game is 1-on-1 combat, complete with their own dramatic build ups. It knows what it wants to be, it’s confident in its approach, even when things don’t turn out for the best.

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The main problem with Furi is its combat. It’s the main mechanic at play yet it feels the least developed. There’s no real strategy and ability to be creative, it all boils down to reactions and pattern recognition. With only two attacks, Furi leaves a lot to be desired early on. Switching between ranged and melee does create a interesting dynamic, but it’s not enough to carry long play sessions.

Each of the nine bosses offer their own attacks and patterns. The various phases can be thrilling at first, but they soon highlight the lack of depth in the combat. Blocking enemy melee attacks opens up the ability to lay down hefty combos. This is about as in-depth as the melee combat gets. It may look and sound flashy in motion, but it also feels restricted. Ranged combo isn’t much better, acting more like a shoot em up hybrid than anything else.

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Most bosses tend to overwhelm the player with projectiles, causing the player to engage at range. At times, Furi could easily be misidentified as a bullet hell shooter. The sheer volume of projectiles filling the screen supplies a true thrill, even if these phases do go on a little too long.

In between phases, bosses will engage up close, restraining the player into a much smaller area. These sections are fast, intense and hugely satisfying. Bosses will display more varied attacks, forcing the player to stay vigilant. A single wrong step can lead to taking massive damage. This is where Furi shows off its best traits, it’s just a shame they don’t play a larger part in the game.

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Challenge may be the order of the day, but the final boss phases come off as a little over the top. It’s not rare that a boss will suddenly bust out some kind of Dragon Ball Z like super move, engulfing the map a single attack. It leads to cheap deaths, prolonging the already lengthy battles. Some final phases feel more like a case of luck than skill, which makes little sense given the selling point of the game.

With all the annoyances and frustrations, it’s still hard to not enjoy Furi. There’s a strange sense of enjoyment that creeps around, even when things are at their worst. Perhaps it’s how close each fight can be. It could be the music that swells the ears, resulting in toe tapping and head bobbing. Furi certainly has character.

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Furi does have a story to tell, but it’s all very cryptic. Plot is hinted at between boss battles, as the player slowly walks to the next area. Initially, it’s a great way to show off the art style and set the tone of the game. The further the game goes on, the less bearable the walking sections become. Thankfully, there’s an option to auto-walk option to soften the blow.

Beyond the nine bosses in the main game, there’s remixed versions of the fight and a speed run mode to unlock. Both options offer a fair amount of replay value, but nothing too significant.

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On the whole, Furi is a true love/hate game. The challenge on offer titters from mouth watering to cheap. Boss battles tend to drag on but still supply a fair amount of thrills. Combat is meek, but satisfying enough to encourage continued play. Furi looks and sounds great, with a truly fantastic soundtrack breathing life into the game.

Depending on how much value you place in challenging, if not repetitive, gameplay, Furi may have enough to offer. It feels like there’s more to be done with concept and ideas on display. The curious mix of shoot em up bullet hell and old school boss design makes Furi more interesting than most other games on the market.

 

Interesting in concept, solid in execution, Furi is a solid taste of old school themes held back by the limitations of its design.

 

Sean Halliday


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