One of the first interviews I booked for this year’s Rezzed was for a game called Skylar & Plux: Adventure on Clover Island. At the same time I did this, because they both use the same Public Relations firm, I also booked one for Furi.
At first I’ll admit I wasn’t too keen on Furi, as the promotional material kept talking about responsive combat, a phrase I’ve heard and read many times in the past with the sudden realisation when playing the game that it was a lie. But I’m nothing if not open-minded so I decided to give Furi a shot anyway.
It was the right choice.
Skylar & Plux: Adventure on Clover Island stars the eponymous pair fighting the forces of the evil CRT, stopping the various mechanisms the villain installed on their island to destroy it.
The game is a return to classic platforming adventures like Super Mario 64, Banjo Kazooie and Jack & Daxter. You control Skylar and use her cybernetic enhancements to traverse the island and fight bad guys. So expect rocket punches, jetpacks, hovering, grapple beams and much more.
In the time I played I completed the demo build and loved how long the stages were. I interviewed the representative from Grip Digital, co-developers of the title along with creators Right Nice Games, and he mentioned that while the game was linear and you’d go from one stage to the next, the areas would all be as big if not bigger as those shown in the Rezzed demo.
From my playthrough I could see great design choices on the title, clearly inspired by brilliant and successful games. Using the grapple beam to pull platforms to you in a way reminiscent of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, vanishing platforms like those in classic Mega Man games, for which you need precise timing, and of course powerful ground stomping moves like those seen in Nintendo platformers.
But, while it does call back to those amazing titles, Skylar & Plux is its own game, with its own flavour and I can’t wait to see more. I want to know what the story will be like, if it’ll be silly yet played straight as it always is in titles of this style and genre or completely serious. Sadly, because of the showroom, I couldn’t hear anything, but the Grip Digital representative assured me that the characters often quip jokes to each other while you play, lightening the mood when things get even remotely bleak.
Personally, the idea of CRT as a villain, a reference to old-model screens, is hilarious. I also loved the colorful visuals and the over the top action and platforming. Hell, the game even had a rising lava moment, how long has it been since we had a good one of those?
There aren’t enough games of this type out there so I applaud the creation of this one and wish all success on it. We need more of this.
Furi is a different beast altogether. What I thought was a hack & slash game with tough bosses in the same vein as Dark Souls, turned out to be a boss-rush game. Yes, you read that right, the only thing you do in Furi is fight badass bosses.
It’s not an RPG, it’s not a beat ‘em up, and you don’t explore a land finding its mysteries. No, you travel across arenas fighting your jailers and discover the true nature of your character and the world in through cutscenes and forced-walking segments. Can’t say I’m a fan of this approach of storytelling but I can’t deny that the game plays awesomely.
Unlike most other games that give you an increasing amount of skills and powers to use against enemies, letting you combine them until you’ve developed your own style of play, in Furi you have a fixed number of abilities: dodge, strike, gun, charged attacks and parry. You then have to use them effectively against bosses with multiple health bars, increasingly complicated attack patterns and tons of damage.
The boss in the demo starts out slow, teaching you how to use your many moves, but as you take out its health bars, it starts mixing things up, attacking you more often and in general becoming a truly hard boss. By the end of the fight, when he’s on his last health bar, he’s spamming area attacks, blasting you with his own guns and even sending out shockwaves for lots of damage. It’s a wonderfully designed encounter that takes you from the basics and makes you learn by doing.
From the outside it seemed as though the fights took ages, but once I was sitting down I realised it was just a thing of perception. The developers, The Game Bakers, told me that the game was all about skill and it showed. If you were good enough, the fights were shorter, because you’d attack more effectively, dodge when you had to and keep punishing the boss for its openings.
This is a game I’m hoping to play as I feel it can offer lots of challenge. Also, it’s refreshing to see a challenging combat game that doesn’t directly copy Dark Souls’ mechanics, or that of other famous titles. The Game Bakers are being original in their creation and it’s a pleasure to play Furi.
In the coming months and as we approach the release dates for the games, I hope I can get the chance to preview both of them, to share with you just how fun they are.