Furi — the Hack and Slash Bullet Hell

-Furi is a game made by The Game Bakers

Furi is a simple hack and slash bullet hell game that focuses on one on one fights with a gauntlet of interesting and memorable bosses. Yes, the game’s genre combination is unusual, but Furi manages to use the essence of both genres in order to enhance its boss fights. The mechanics of the game are simple; you have movement, a dash that blinks you a couple meters in the direction you are pointing, a parry which blocks melee attacks and ranged attack alike if you time it right, a melee slash, a pistol shot, and charged variants of your dash and two attacks. These charged variants take longer to cast but are more powerful in their respective uses.

Now that you understand how the base game mechanics work allow me to explain why the game feels so satisfying to play. The first contributor would be the game’s unique style on boss design, this meaning both on how the bosses are formatted in general and the unique style of each individual boss. Each boss has its own unique fighting style, which changes as you get through their phases, which challenges the player to find a unique way to play around that specific boss and provides an evolving experience even when referring to a specific boss. An example of this being the boss, The Hand, who in his earlier phases wields a sword and shield and focused on playing defensively, being the only boss to be able to reflect back at you, later in the fight he abandons his shield and instead fights much more aggressively, wielding his sword in two hands.

The game is paced extremely fast which means you must devise solutions almost reflexively. Are you going to parry this attack? Dodge around it? Take the hit and use the time to attack back? You have to make the decision very quickly and doing that repeatedly really gets the adrenaline pumping. If the controls were more complicated than they are then I feel like this quick gameplay would be very annoying, luckily the controls are simple enough where you CAN do them reflexively and properly immerse yourself. The gameplay feels especially satisfying, I feel, due to how much more grandiose the bosses attacks are compared to you. The boss will do unique melee combos stringing together many basic or AEO melee attack that you must either decide to attack to cancel it or dodge it in order to get better punish, or the boss will shoot hundreds of bullets across the screen with a unique pattern for you to dodge across which forces you to keep in mind your positioning. When compared to you, a person who can shoot a line of bullets slowly, slash, and dash, you feel like a person who is barely managing to fight back, an underdog, and that feels so amazing to be fighting as.

Orange bullets are invincible. You must shoot the blue ones to destroy them and dash between sections without getting hit, creating an area for yourself to dash to by destroying the blue bullets.

When complemented with an amazing soundtrack that is suited to each boss and stylistic visuals it creates an experience that left me in complete focus and attention to the game, due to its extreme difficulty which makes its simple mechanics feel precise due to the extreme consequences of doing something wrong and the immersive atmosphere created by art style and soundtrack.

The whole game has an amazing soundtrack that stylized each fight and area, but my fight is The Burst’s. It is named “You’re Mine” by Carpenter Brut, if you would like to check it out.

The game also does an excellent job of handling varied difficulties. Instead of making everything on harder difficulties do ludicrous amounts of damage, on the hardest difficulty “furier” for example, the bosses patterns will become much more difficult to respond to. This makes the game much more interesting and satisfying to beat on harder difficulties since you feel like you are truly besting your opponent who is giving it their all rather than getting cheesed by a random oneshot.

Furi, while myself primarily praising it for its gameplay, also provides a subversive and effective way of conveying a compelling story. You begin the game being tortured in a prison, hung up, and are told you are going to stay there forever. This on its own brings up several questions. Why aren’t you just dead and what has your character done to be sentenced here? The game gives you no answer to these questions, instead forcing you to slowly piece together the pieces as you play. Soon after you start you are freed by a man in a rabbit mask who hands you a pistol and a sword. He then tells you this prison is composed of multiple floors, each having its own jailor acting as each boss, and that you must kill them to proceed onto the next floor, that you must kill them to regain the freedom they have stolen from you and eventually get out.

And you go and battle with each floor’s jailor in order to free yourself from this imprisonment, but before you go to battle them you must walk to each of their arena’s. These journey’s aren’t dangerous or anything, these walks allow the game the chance for the Bunny Mask man, known as The Voice, to tell you about each boss and why they deserve to die. Each boss in this game has its own unique area, music, personality, they are all uniquely human. The Voice spends the time before the fight attempting to persuade you into killing these people and getting yourself and him out of this prison. You learn his motivations as the game continues as well of the motivation of the jailors. You slowly begin to realize that many have noble and respectable intent and that all have great justification to putting you in that prison. It forces the player into a tough situation emotionally, do you stop? You are killing people who don’t rightly deserve to die. But if you do stop then all those you have killed have gone to waste. Are you wrong for wanting to free yourself? I mean after all you aren’t fighting these jailors because of malice but instead of noble intent, you wish to have the freedom you think you deserve. Every boss has its own story and after you fight them and learn about them, the game forces you to make questions like these. It adds a level of personality and quality to a game that already had so much delivered to it by everything else.

Fanart of the boss “The Hand” who is fighting you so his son can have a future.

Furi is a game that makes you in equal parts feel melancholic about your actions in the game and feel the adrenaline pumping throughout you as the music blares on and is a treasure in my eyes because of this.

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A collection of game reviews and reflections on design challenges from the students of IMM 270–02: Game Studies and Design, part of the Interactive Multimedia program at The College of New Jersey (Fall 2020 semester)

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Matthew Stokes

Matthew Stokes

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