The jailer is the key, kill him and you’ll be free.
Furi is the journey of an imprisoned man fighting against a series of foes that are just as dead set on keeping him locked up as he is escaping. One by one the game pits you in a duel with each jailer as the march to freedom brings you closer and closer to the truth. Furi is about overcoming incredibly difficult situations through both practice and patience, learning from mistakes, and having the self control that would prevent chucking your controller out the window.
Combat in Furi is clearly inspired by the character action genre while focusing in on a more simplistic combat style instead of a complex combo based system. Armed with a blade and pistol you can perform a short melee combo, shoot at jailers from range, parry oncoming attacks, and even dodge if the situation calls for it. There are charged variants to some of your moves, but on the whole, it’s a very simple control scheme that fits snugly in the ‘easy to learn, difficult to master’ camp. Each fight with a jailer demands a defensive approach as you study every attack, identify patterns, and exploit weaknesses. At its best Furi perfectly encapsulates how great it feels to be really good at something. Punishing each jailer for letting up their guard, especially those that have killed you time and again, feels incredible because it demonstrates the progress that you have made as a player. Each jailer will only fall through sheer skill alone. And while each battle differs from the last, they often follow a similar formula that leads to a closed-in intimate encounter with your foe. Every moment is filled with tension and emerging victorious evokes a huge adrenaline rush.
After each jailer is defeated, your character enters into a forced walk through a surreal new landscape. In these moments a mysterious figure wearing a rabbit hood gives some background on the next jailer and encourages you to keep fighting. I like the writing in these sections as they paint a really interesting picture of each new jailer however, I think they’re a bit too long, the forced walking is annoying, and the controls don’t readjust every time the camera changes (though you can hit X to auto-walk). That said, I can understand why the developers might not want you to just run through to the next boss. This game is brimming with some fantastic art design and the best way to really appreciate that is in these slow walk segments where you’re not otherwise focusing on other things.
Excellence is not an art, it’s pure habit. We are what we repeatedly do.
An emphasis on defensive combat as well as learning through trial and error also leads to a fair amount of repetition. Each boss has multiple phases in which they begin to employ different kinds of attacks and adjust their current strategy. This leads to duels that can last upwards of ten minutes and a game over (losing all three lives) means repeating every phase all over again. On one side the fights in Furi are mostly fantastic and thrilling encounters, each jailer feels wildly different from the last, and multiple phases allow for some super interesting fight progression. On the other hand, some bosses are endlessly frustrating and repeating the same phases over and over again can potentially kill any enjoyment you might be having. It’s the kind of thing that’s difficult to balance as you don’t want to make things a cakewalk, while repeatedly stumbling into the same road block just isn’t fun. I found that my love for the first half of the game slowly evaporated as the later jailers were either annoyingly difficult or, in the case of the final jailer, unexpectedly easy. The sniper jailer in particular grew frustrating as I spent more time chasing the boss around rather than actually fighting them.
Completing the game unlocks Furier mode, where each jailer features new move-sets and phases while in general being much harder, as well as a speedrun mode. I can’t say I’ll spend too much time with these options, but I do appreciate their inclusion and I like that Furier mode, at least from what I’ve seen, makes the boss encounters feel a bit different.
I may have committed a crime by getting this far without mentioning the soundtrack. It’s worth it to just go listen, even if you don’t plan on checking Furi out.
Despite some frustrating jailers I still really enjoyed most of my time spent with Furi. The combat is excellent and exploiting enemy weaknesses genuinely feels rewarding. Not every jailer fight is great and the intermission sequences should be shorter, but the highs greatly outweigh the lows on this one.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Tense/intimate duels with formidable foes
- Great art direction
- Every fight plays out differently
What I Dislike:
- Some bosses can be more frustrating than they are fun
- Sections between bosses are a little too long