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“Furi” is the first PC title created by the Game Bakers since their formation in 2010. (Courtesy of The Game Bakers)
“The jailor is the key; kill him and you are free.” These are the words that start off The Game Bakers’ newest title “Furi”.
The player assumes the role of the Stranger, a voiceless man who is fighting his way out of an orbital prison specially designed to contain him. The game is made up solely of a series of boss fights, with the player tasked with defeating each of the prison’s immortal jailors using a combination of speedy, twin-stick shooter gunplay and close-range sword combat. The player needs to be capable of dodging a barrage of projectiles while firing back and then quickly transition into close quarters swordplay without missing a beat.
The game’s mechanics are quite simple at their core; there are charged versions of all the standard maneuvers the player has access to, but there is little else aside from that. There are a few elements of the combat system hidden in a “how to play” section of the pause menu that would be nice if the game made more clear, but none of these are necessary to progress. The controls are smooth and responsive and the combat has a satisfying flow to it.
It is one of those games where at some point the player is expected to pull off rapid fire strings of dodges, parries and attacks based purely off of muscle memory. The game is definitely not for the faint of heart; its difficulty is punishing and asks for some quick reflexes from the player. It may not be a game with a vast amount of strategic depth, but “Furi” is one of the best in the business at providing fast combat requiring tight timing and tighter reactions.
The story, while minimalistic, still manages to strike some depth. Throughout the game the players are followed by The Voice, a strange figure who freed the Stranger from the cell so that he could have a chance at freedom too. He provides some exposition on each of the jailors but never gives too many details. He spends much of his time trying to rile the Stranger up, talking about the injustices that they inflicted on him and how they deserve what is coming to them.
The jailors themselves lack dialogue, but despite this, each of them is able to have a surprising amount of personality. The first jailor is a bully who wants nothing more than to torture the Stranger but the later jailors gradually grow in complexity with each fight. Granted the story is not very complex and the jailors are somewhat archetypal, but it still presents something more interesting than one might expect at first.
The game is also aesthetically gorgeous. It strikes an interesting sci-fi fantasy feel in its visuals. While it has a clear futuristic design with glowing neon technology, laser weapons and robotic architecture, it also has an intriguing mythological element to it. The area for the third boss has floating rocket powered platforms moving about, but most of the ground is made to look like a sand garden.
The bosses also often fight with swords and abilities that appear to be magic in stark contrast to the futuristic world they inhabit. It creates an interesting anachronistic flavor for the setting with a visual design somewhat reminiscent of 2010’s “Asura’s Wrath.” The game also makes excellent use of bold contrasting colors to make its characters and environments pop.
The game’s soundtrack also adds to its strong sense of style. It is not a very long game but it boasts a 22 song soundtrack with some of the best electronic music around. From the low thumping of “Unraveled” to the haunting synthesized vocals of “Make This Right,” the game’s music really fleshes out the world and characters. Each boss has two songs associated with him or her. The soundtrack is worth a purchase on its own.
Overall, “Furi” is an excellent albeit somewhat niche game. It seems primarily aimed at those who enjoy “bullet hell” style games but are looking for something with a few twists on the formula. “Furi” is a combination of bold elements with simple grounding. The all boss fight structure and mesh of shooting with hack-and-slash is tempered by a very simple set of basic combat mechanics. The vibrant and striking visual design is reined in by a very small yet capable cast.
“Furi” is a game made with great discipline that pushes to do all that it can within the boundaries that it set for itself.