It’s rare that a game’s name does such a good job of summing up the feeling you have when playing it – Furi is relentless, fast, furious, and utterly thrilling.
Cast as a nameless protagonist simply dubbed The Stranger, players are tasked with escaping a mysterious and highly advanced prison.
To do so, you need to defeat nine enemies – with a tenth optional encounter – in some tense and thrilling battles. Yep, Furi is a boss rush game, but when the combat is this much fun, who really cares?
In order to come out on top, The Stranger has a number of ways of dolling out violence – his sword and gun. The former is obviously good for close-up encounters, and is likely what you’ll be using most of the time, while the gun is handy if you want to hang back and play it a bit safer.
There’s a pretty deep combat system, too. The protagonist has a handy dodge move, as well as the ability to parry attacks, albeit in a very short window. Doing so restores health, so there’s a nice little risk-reward system at play.
There’s no doubting that the game is hard, even on the default Furi mode, but it forces you to pay attention, learn the movesets, and how you can overcome them. Only rarely did I feel outright frustrated by the game. Generally when I died I knew exactly what had gone wrong and why I wouldn’t make that mistake next time.
And if you do want a more casual experience, the Promenade setting tones things down a little bit. There is a lot to learn, but unfortunately the tutorial system doesn’t do the best job of explaining all of it.
One neat touch is how boss battles are broken up into segments. Failing one of these has the player losing one of their three lives – these can be regained by completing a stage of the fight. It’s a nice way of balancing challenge so the player doesn’t fail straight away.
As well as the the close quarters combat, each boss has bullet hell segments, where players are charged with, well, surviving. These bits are probably the hardest in the game, a problem escalated by the perspective.
There are points where it’ll look like you’re clear of a projectile, only for you take some damage. This problem is slightly worse in handheld mode, where dodging bullets is more difficult due to the smaller screen size.
Regardless of how you’re playing the game, one thing you’ll notice is the bold, neon art direction, which is what the kids might call ‘anime af’. In fact, Afro Samurai creator Takashi Okazaki designed the game’s characters, with this style tying really nicely into the ludicrously fast combat.
You might want to invest in some headphones when you’re on the go, too, as there’s a really nice thumping soundtrack featuring the likes of Carpenter Brut.
Between levels, there are segments where the player has to walk really slowly across some trippy terrain while your mate in the bunny mask (don’t ask) talks at you about the world and the next character you’ll be duelling.
Some downtime between encounters is a good idea for such an intense kind of game, but these are pretty dull and the fact they aren’t skippable is an odd choice.
At its best, Furi is a tense balancing act of offence and defence, with a thumping techno soundtrack that draws you into the fray and keeps you pumped.
The game isn’t without its issues, and it could do a better job of explaining its mechanics, but at the end of the day fans of tough action titles will love Furi.