REVIEW: ‘Fury Unleashed,’ A Roguelike that Gets Better the More You Play (Xbox One)

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Fury Unleashed
Fury Unleashed is a 2D action platformer roguelike published and developed by Awesome Games Studio. Years ago The Fury was the star of a hit comic book. But the tides of time has left his book behind. Now, besieged by negative reviews and social media harassment his creator is having troubles keeping the book going. Due to these struggles chaos has begun to seep into The Fury’s world. And there’s only one person with the wits, will and firepower to save the day. Whether it be long dormant Aztec gods, or future tech wielding nazis, The Fury will not rest until peace is brought to the comic world once again.

I have a fair amount of experience in the roguelike genre. And while many entries in the series draw appeal through their challenging gameplay, I rarely have what I would call true fun with them. With the promise of a mistake forcing a restart of an entire game there is often too much pressure to truly enjoy the experience. That is not the case with Fury Unleashed. With the run and gun platforming present here I cannot help but enjoy myself. Even though I was required to play through the opening procedurally generated world dozens of times I never felt frustrated. Instead, I looked forward to which guns I might pick up, or what power ups I’d be able to unlock after this newest run.

In fact, no roguelike has hooked me as strongly in recent time as this save Slay the Spire, and that is high praise. And while their gameplay styles are worlds different, their promise of always bringing something new to the player’s experience ring with the same siren’s song.

When the player begins their first run through Fury Unleashed they have only a pistol, a knife, a few hand grenades, and their special ability to freeze all enemies on the screen. This last ability must be used sparingly as it requires the killing of 20 enemies to reactivate it. From these humble beginnings The Fury will get upgraded in numerous ways. Some will persist between runs, while others are only with The Fury till death.

The most frequent upgrades that are one run only are armor and weapons. While some weapons can be gained to become an alternative to your starting pistols most are gone at games end. And there are a lot of guns to come across. Everything from the staples like assault rifles and shotguns to dark matter launchers and rail guns can be found with the many areas The Fury will have to battle through.

Gear can also be found throughout Fury Unleashed‘s levels. Providing armor to soften blows along with some bonus abilities also keep a run fresh and exciting. And whoever the player comes across a piece that doesn’t interest them, they can opt to instead get a predetermined amount of ink instead.

As The Fury dispatches the hordes of enemies that will oppose them  they will collect ink that is left behind by felled enemies. This ink acts as experience. Gaining levels allows the player to customize how The Fury plays. Just as with the weapons, the options here are plentiful. With upgrades to help the player survive more damage, deal out more damage, or a number of more utility based upgrades there is a large pool of options to choose from.

This broad range of powers always lets the player feel like they are gaining progress and crafting their experience. And all the experience points applied can be taken back as the player wishes. This allows the player to not only feel like they have the freedom to experiment, but they can also reign in powers as they get better at the game. You’ve beaten the game with 180 health? Let’s see if you can do it with a bit less. Or drop that 30% crit chance back down to zero.

Each play of Fury Unleashed requires the player to fight through a series of comic book issues. Each level is broken into rooms laid out like panels on a comic book page.  The layouts of these levels always seem to provide something new and different. With lots of different sized rooms and enemies to occupy them, you’ll never feel like you’ve done this exact map before.

As the player performs attempt after attempt they must learn how to utilize all of The Fury’s tricks. Along with the previously mentioned arsenal, a dash, and double jump are also available to help the player survive. Maneuvering between numerous enemy shots with trick jumps and dashing past environmental hazards take getting used to. But once I’d sunk a few hours in I was naturally navigating perils with skill that surprised me. The only aspect of gameplay that sometimes struggles is with aiming.

The player can fire their chosen weapon with either the right trigger, or by aiming it with the right thumbstick. Even when aiming with the thumbstick the computer will sometimes try to assist the player in aiming. While their were moments this was appreciated, sometimes it resulted in me having to fight a little to aim where I wanted when more than one enemy were close together. Apparently the computer and I prioritized targets differently.

Perhaps the most defining element of Fury Unleashed‘s gameplay is its combo system. As players fight through each level they rack up a combo count. If the player is hit, or too much time passes between kills, the combo is broken. The combo count can effect the game in a number of ways. There are certain side areas that can only be entered if the player currently has a certain combo count for example. Health orbs can also fall from enemies if the player is running a good enough combo. This system encourages the player to continue pushing forward, keeping the game engaging and fun.

Each comic issue the player fights through is capped with an end boos. These fights are big battles, filled with a larder than life opponent. And with each comic having three different bosses even this aspect of the gameplay can remain fresh. I also appreciated a cool feature the game has surrounding its bosses.

Once a player defeats all three of an issues possible bosses they can opt to skip that area in future play through. So if you do find yourself not wanting to battle through that opening jungle one more time, your in luck!

The visual presentation of Fury Unleashed captures its comic book setting wonderfully. Bright, vibrant colors fill the screen as glowing projectiles track the hero. The enemies are also excellently designed. Whether they be walking skeletons, giant bugs or nazis in future tech, every enemy has it own unique design that allows it to feel at home in it’s setting, while also standing out clearly to seen by the player.

The only aspect of Fury Unleashed that falls a bit flat is its story. This isn’t due to it being bad, as how intermittently you might run into it. With small story moments placed at the end of each chapter you can sometimes go a long time without seeing it if you get stuck. I was genuinely confused once or twice when coming across some of the later ones because it took me a moment to remember what was happening. It had been a while since I’d seen a story moment.

With only a couple small issues Fury Unleashed proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable gaming experience. Fun moment to moment game play, coupled with great level design and a rewarding leveling system promises plenty of reasons for players to return again and again to The Fury’s world.

Fury Unleashed is available on May 8th on PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.


Fury Unleashed
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

With only a couple small issues Fury Unleashed proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable gaming experience.