Fenix Furia by Green Lava Studios brings out the best and worst in its players. Imagine Super Meat Boy, with less meat and saw blades and more little green blobs that can cause death on touch. Unique to Fenix Furia is its infinite jump system, which I was unaware of going in blind until almost completely through the first world. Luckily enough, the game’s level design compliments the mechanics in a way that teaches the player slowly. What results is this infuriating balance between going through levels at lightning speed and bashing the poor heroes against an endless loop of death. It has its moments of fun, but be prepared for well, fury.
Those who have played the easy-to-make comparison game, Super Meat Boy will feel right at home with Fenix Furia. I will admit that I made it much farther in Meat Boy than I ever will in Fenix Furia. This is due to the game’s difficulty, which ramps up to insane levels quickly, testing patience and requiring mechanical mastery. A single misstep normally spells restart, unless the player opts out of the normal difficulty for the Easy Mode that gives an extra hit and a few frames of invincibility. Playing on Easy though is counter intuitive though, as some cool mini games can be unlocked by beating the levels below the time par. Take a breath and just try the standard mode. There’s also a two player mode that splits the screen for a race that’d be fit for any get together or competition.
Fenix Furia definitely proposes a challenge. Even the achievements are aware of just how many deaths will occur. Getting a star on a level is sometimes nigh impossible, some of which have to be beat below a second. It is doable, but any error will cause failure. Thankfully, it takes a split second to respawn and try again. Another cool feature I found while trying to get stars is that the timer doesn’t start until the player moves, letting one examine the level and plan out a route before twitching into action.
Anyone who bests this game deserves a medal. That much is true, but the game feels purely mechanical. There is a plot of some sort involving a frozen guy and a bird, but the goal of saving a princess like Mario or Bandage Girl in Super Meat Boy isn’t there. If anything, the hero seems to be protecting the world from being frozen, but that’s not the core focus of the game, for better or worse.
The incredible difficulty might be an appeal to some, but personally it poked all of the glands that produce anxiousness. Fenix Furia has an interesting set of mechanics that I would love to see explored further, either in future games or maybe when I get the gumption to reach the later levels. The visuals are pleasant enough and the game runs at a steady frame rate, making each death honestly deserved. Musically, the game has some thumping tunes that do blend into a state of meditation, if one can stave off the aggravation.
Fenix Furia is a game for fans of platformers that find Mario too easy. This is for the folks who crave challenge and love learning the ins and outs of simple mechanics. It is an impressive mix of mechanical design choices, but lacks something to make it truly special. I’d love to see more from Green Lava Studios. I swear they’re onto something with the eternal jump and dash, for its incredibly simple, but endearing. Fenix Furia is an awesome experiment, but needs something I just can’t explain to solidify it as a classic for this age.
Look for Fenix Furia on the Xbox One, PS4, or PC. It’s available now.