This past weekend was PAX East 2016, and it will not only my first conference as press, but my first major conference in general. Going into it, I had no idea of what to expect for the weekend. Lucky for me, my first appointment warmed me up and had me amped for the weekend. My first appointment was with The Game Bakers, an indie studio based out of France, and their game Furi.
The premise of Furi is quite simple. You are stuck in a jail with a life sentence, you are broken out by a rabbit man, and now you must fight your way out. (Yeah, simple.) Unlike most games these days, there are no “filler” levels/enemies in between the main fights. Each fight is the main fight. Welcome to Boss Rush: The Game.
The controls are simple. You can dash; you can parry; you can stab; You can shoot. Each of these (except for the parry) has the ability to be charged up for different results. There is no leveling up. There are no abilities. From fight one, you are given the skills that will lead you to victory in the final boss fight. It is up to you to learn how to properly use these skills against your foes and bring them to their knees.
The design of each character is edgy, but not overly exaggerated. They were brought to life by creator of Afro Samurai: Takashi Okazaki. While they may not be the epitome of “standard human,” each character is roughly the same size. This allows players to be faced with an equal opponent that you duel, rather than a monster you must overcome. Pair these characters, a neon cel shaded world, and electro musicians fueling the soundtrack that includes Carpenter Brut, and you get this beautiful title.
In my demo, I was faced with the first boss, the Jailer. From the first button push, it was obvious that this game is precision based. Each button responded immediately, rewarding those with impeccable timing with critical hits. For health, the Jailer had roughly six bars of health, while I had three. Upon one of his health bars being depleted, the style of the fight changed to keep the fight interesting. Upon the loss of one of mine, I got knocked down, got back up and started where I left off. No “continues,” no “try agains,” but rather a “get back in there champ.” If you are missing a bar of health and you deplete one of the boss’s, you will regain a bar, almost like a health tug of war match.
Each round against the boss was new, and exhilarating. The first few introduces you to the different mechanics: this button is dash, this is parry, this is stab, this is charge, the right stick allows you to shoot. Then the fun begins. This game doesn’t not hold your hand in the slightest. Very quickly, my screen became nothing but neon rave balls of death that had to be shot or dodged. Make a mistake, and you lose health. Simple, yet fair. Quickly I learned if you dashed, you became invulnerable, allowing you to strategically bounce back and forth towards the boss. The fight took roughly 10-15 minutes to learn how to play, and then defeat the boss. To be honest, I wanted to stand on the couch and shout to the heavens “JAILER IS NOW MY BITCH.” However, they would not be professional so I decided against it.
From there, they showed me a little bit of the extras that you can unlock. Each fight will be ranked depending on how much damage you take, and how quickly you defeat them. Depending on what rank you get, you will unlock portions of the concept art from the desk of Mr. Okazaki himself; a little prize for beating the boss into the ground, if you will. Plus, once the game is complete, you unlock a “+mode” that makes the bosses more difficult and more sporadic, making the knowledge from the first fight irrelevant. Complete these, and unlock the full colored concept art.
While it was a simple concept with simple mechanics, Furi had me talking about it all weekend, and fighting the urge to not go back over just to make Jailer my bitch again. Furi will release later this year on the PlayStation 4 and Steam, so be on the lookout. I personally cannot wait to see what other bosses you must overcome.