Unlike most other video games out there, Furi doesn’t waste any time, as what might be considered standard levels in a lot of other titles, Furi would consider filler and a waste of time.
Our hands-on time with the game was brief, but you can tell that it heavily draws its inspirations from a handful of Japanese titles. Takashi Okazaki, the creator of Afro Samurai, worked on the character designs for the game, lending a very heavy Japanese aesthetic to the entire proceeding. The main character also has a very ninja look and is very reminiscent of Raiden from the Metal Gear Solid series, particularly his later appearances as a cyborg.
Furi is a game that focuses on boss fights, or more aptly, is comprised of boss fights entirely. While other games might opt to slowly warm players up with standard levels and tutorials, Furi takes a much more direct approach to gameplay. Within 30 seconds, I was completely familiar with the game’s controls; you can slash your sword or shoot your gun, and to avoid enemy attack you can dodge, or parry as a method of counterattacking.
It’s a very simple control scheme, but there’s plenty of room for depth if you look for it. While you can fire off quick shots and sword slashes with ease, you can also choose to charge up your attacks, which of course cause more damage. Charging attacks ties directly into dodging, as you can retain your charged attack by dashing. This allows for some rather crazy moments, as you weave in and out of enemy fire, in an attempt to find the perfect opening to unleash a powerful shot on the boss at hand. You can also charge your dodge, should you need to cover more distance.
Creative director of Furi, Emeric Thoa, describes Furi’s gameplay much like a guitar:
“It has six strings, but you need to practice to play correctly. And there’s no limit to how much you can improve. It’s simple and deep.”
The game’s Japanese aesthetic also creeps its way into how the main character handles and plays. Unlike most Western games, which place an emphasis on realism through animation, Furi handles much more fluidly. The combat is incredibly responsive; sharp reflexes and quick decision making reigns supreme here. Attacks come at you quickly and frequently, and you’ll need to respond even more quickly to stay alive. Unlike melee combat in games like Uncharted or the Batman Arkham series, Furi trades flash animations and weighty combat for extremely responsive gameplay. To put it simply, the instant you press a button, your character will react on-screen in tandem.
The boss fight we got to preview seemed like it was from the earlier stages in the game but it was by no means easy. This boss in particular utilized both hard hitting sword strikes, which required very precisely timed parry attacks, along with bullet hell segments which necessitated the use of successive dodges. It was a rather tense boss fight; while we didn’t die during our playthrough, there were plenty of close calls, and things only began to turn in our favor once we began to nail down the timing of dodging and attacking.
There’s something rather entrancing about Furi; once you’ve begun to get a grip on the controls, there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had when you manage to perfectly chain attacks, dodges and parries successively, in a flurry of flashes that is truly a sight to behold. If you’re into challenging games at all, you should definitely keep this one on your radar.
Furi is set to release on July 5th on both PS4 and PC, and will retail for $24.99. You can check back in the coming days for our full review.