A really popular video game genre in recent years has been the roguelike and roguelite genres. For those who are somehow not familiar with the genre the premise is pretty simple. Once you die you stay dead and you have to restart from the beginning. Some games are more lenient than others as you can acquire upgrades from your deaths which will power up your character. I have always had kind of mixed feelings about this genre as I have never been a big fan of losing all my progress in a game. The gameplay in these games are usually pretty fun though so I occasionally like to try them out. Today I am looking at Fury Unleashed which intrigued me due to its combination of genres along with a cool comic book theme. Fury Unleashed is a fun run and gun roguelite hybrid that can be unrelentingly difficult at times.
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Awesome Games Studio for the review copy of Fury Unleashed used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.
If I were to classify Fury Unleashed I would say that it is a hybrid of a number of different genres. The most obvious from just looking at the game is an action platforming run and gun mechanic. Basically the main gameplay reminds me a lot of games like Contra. In the game you are given a ranged weapon, a melee weapon, grenades, and a special ability that you have to kill a number of creatures to unlock. With these weapons you have to kill the enemies that stand in your way as you make your way through the panels of a comic book page. You shoot using one of the analog sticks and the other attacks are performed with one of the other buttons.
Like Contra and other similar games, Fury Unleashed is about more than just killing enemies. It is just as important if not more important to avoid enemy attacks as it is to kill them. The game is littered with enemies and various fixtures on the walls that shoot projectiles. While shooting enemies you need to use your platforming and dodging skills in order avoid the projectiles as you have limited health and health pickups are sparse and heal only a few health points. You will encounter quite a few different enemies in your journey as well as mini bosses and final bosses at the end of each chapter.
In addition to these mechanics the other main mechanic in Fury Unleashed is a roguelite mechanic. Basically be prepared to die as you will likely die a lot. In each run you try to make it as far as you can and hopefully make it through at least one chapter. On your journey you will encounter pieces of armor that you can equip, upgraded weapons, or other tools and upgrades that will help you in your journey. When you eventually die you will lose all of these upgrades and will have to restart at the beginning of the game. To start at the beginning of a later chapter you have to beat all of the final bosses of the previous chapter. All is not lost though as all of the ink (the game’s currency) that you collect will stay with you which will be used to gain levels for your character. Each level you gain will give you an upgrade point which can be used to upgrade stats or give you various other benefits. Therefore you may have lost all your forward progress, but your character will get stronger through each death. After choosing your upgrades its time to head back to a new procedurally generated world.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this review I have mixed feelings towards the roguelite genre. I am more the type of player that likes games where you make progress instead of having to replay the same levels over and over again. While this element of having to restart almost from scratch became frustrating at times (more on this later) I actually had quite a bit of fun playing Fury Unleashed. Fury Unleashed does a really good job blending its mechanics together to create a fun gameplay experience. The ranged combat is really satisfying and it blends well with the melee combat and dodging mechanics. The controls work really well for the most part. This leads to a satisfying experience especially when you are able to make some actual progress.
One of the reasons that I wanted to play Fury Unleashed is that it featured co-op gameplay. At this point the game only has local co-op, but the developers are working towards adding online co-op in the future. The co-op mode features all of the elements of the main game. You just have two players working together to defeat all of the enemies. I am not sure if this adds additional enemies to the game or if it makes the game more difficult in another way. Basically each player gets their own equipment and has their own health. When one player dies the other has to continue on their own. If a player can make it to the next page the other player will respawn with the same amount of health that the surviving player currently has. For the most part the co-op works flawlessly and is the best way to play the game. This is the type of game that works really well with a partner. Players can work together to eliminate enemies and approach the area in different directions to reduce the amount of health lost.
Other than the gameplay I was really intrigued by Fury Unleashed’s theme. Basically the game utilizes a comic book theme. The characters and locales all share a comic book style which looks really nice. The theme goes farther than just the game’s style though. Each section of a chapter is staged as a page of a comic book. To reach different rooms of the page you travel between comic book panels. In addition to just being a clever idea this impacts how you approach rooms and what panels you have to go through as you make your way through the page. The comic book theme even applies to the story. I haven’t finished the story yet, but the background story is about the designing of the Fury Unleashed comic and the fan backlash to a comic that has seen better days. The story isn’t amazing, but so far it seems interesting.
Heading into Fury Unleashed I expected that the game was going to be hard but manageable. My expectations changed when the game presents you with only two difficulty settings. You can either choose easy or hard. I ended up choosing hard as the easy mode seemed too easy. As I haven’t checked out the easy difficulty I can’t comment on how hard or easy it is. Speaking from experience with the hard difficulty though Fury Unleashed is definitely a hard game. I would say that I am a pretty good gamer and yet I struggled quite a bit in the game. This is probably partially due to generally not playing a lot of games from this genre, but it was an unforgiving experience at times. Maybe the easy mode is much more forgiving, but at least for the hard difficulty prepare to die a lot.
Fury Unleashed is really difficult for a couple different reasons. First as I mentioned earlier you have limited health in the game. You start the game with around 150-200 health points. Each bullet that hits you and each trap you run into will cost you at least ten hit points. Thus at max you can get hit around 10-20 times before you die. Normally you would just heal with health pickups. While there are health pickups they are rare and usually only heal a couple health points. To survive in the game you need to really focus on avoiding enemy attacks. In fact avoiding attacks is more important than killing enemies. This is easier said than done though as you will be put into situations where there are bullets flying everywhere. You have to be a master at avoiding projectiles to avoid all of them, and there will be times where it is literally impossible to avoid all of the bullets.
The game’s difficulty is not necessarily a good or bad thing. I mostly bring it up because if you are going to enjoy the game you need to be aware that the game is really difficult. You will die over and over again and there isn’t much that you can do to prevent it. Be prepared to spend 20+ attempts trying to clear a single chapter. You will spend hours in the same chapter before everything goes right and you can move onto the next chapter. There will be plenty of people that will love this challenge. You do get a strong sense of accomplishment when you make progress. It can be really frustrating at times though. If you aren’t ready for a real challenge Fury Unleashed will not be for you.
Most of the time I didn’t have an issue with the difficulty. The problem is that the difficulty reaches the cheap level at times. There will be times where you will take damage where it doesn’t feel fair. This can be attributed to a couple different factors. First some of the enemies feel cheap. There are enemies that suddenly pop out of the floors/walls. Unless I didn’t notice there seems to be no indication where these enemies are either. One of these enemies could pop out of nowhere and deal damage with little to no warning. There are a number of enemies in the game that are just plain frustrating. This isn’t helped by the fact that as the levels are randomly generated you could enter a room and be trapped by enemies almost immediately. Finally some of the projectiles are just really hard to see. This leads to times where it feels like the air itself killed you as you couldn’t see the projectile. All of this leads to some frustrating moments that just feel kind of cheap.
This isn’t helped by the fact that the game relies on luck to a degree. This is the case in most roguelikes as the weapon and other item drops are likely going to determine how successful you will be. Unless you are a master at avoiding projectiles your success in a run is likely going to depend on how lucky you are. To do well in the game you need to get good drops. Some drops are considerably better than others. In particular you want good weapons and preferably a map so you can avoid dangerous rooms. If you don’t get these items you are going to have a very hard time completing a chapter. You basically have to wait for a lucky run to have a good chance at completing a chapter. This is common for this genre, but it feels like it has an even greater impact on Fury Unleashed.
I usually like to include a discussion of length in my video game reviews, but I can’t really for Fury Unleashed. This is due to a couple reasons. First I haven’t completed the game so I don’t exactly know how long it is. It is mostly due to the fact that the amount of time you will get out of the game is likely going to depend on how good you are at it. Unless there is a hidden world there only appears to be three worlds in the game. This might not seem like much at first. Each level consists of three pages though and a final fourth page that features one of three final bosses. Unless you are an expert at these type of games you likely will spend quite a few hours trying to beat each world. Based on the type of game that Fury Unleashed is it also features a lot of replay value as everything is procedurally generated. If you like these type of games you likely will get your money’s worth out of Fury Unleashed.
For the most part Fury Unleashed lived up to my expectations. The game is an interesting blend of genres as it feels like what you would get if you blended Contra with a roguelite. The gameplay blends various types of combat together along with dodging enemy projectiles to create a satisfying gameplay experience. Fans of these genres should really enjoy Fury Unleashed. The entire game is local co-op and it works really well. Even the game’s theme is quite good as it utilizes the comic book theme really well. Fury Unleashed is a difficult game though. You will die a lot and progress is hard to make. This in theory is not a bad thing as it gives you a challenge and a sense of accomplishment when you actually make progress. At times the game feels a little cheap though as you will take damage when you don’t think you should and you need good drops in order to do well.
My recommendation for Fury Unleashed comes down to your opinion of run and gun games as well as roguelites. Add to that your feelings towards really difficult games. If you really like run and gun/roguelite games and don’t mind that Fury Unleashed is really difficult you should love the game. If the game sounds interesting to you I would recommend picking it up.
Buy Fury Unleashed online: Nintendo Switch, PC/Mac/Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One