Fury Unleashed Review- Comic Book Roguelite Is A Graphic Novelty
Developed and Published by Awesome Games Studio
Available on PS4, Xbox One, Steam, and Nintendo Switch
After years in development, Fury Unleashed is finally ou t of early access. A fast paced roguelite shooter, Fury Unleashed is a mix between Binding of Isaac and Metal Slug. Who can say no to a goofy twin-stick bullet hell shooter with a comic book style? It’s a simple concept executed well, making Fury Unleashed a refreshing and exciting new addition to the genre.
In Fury Unleashed you play as Fury, a badass comic book character who is tasked with saving the world, as per normal comic fashion. He or she (or they) must fight his or her (or their) way through a variety of bad guys in four different comic book issues—skeleton warriors in the jungles of the Amazon, futuristic Nazis in their secret base, alien hordes of an invading mothership, and a mysterious final manuscript level. Along the way, he or she (or they) must gain enough equipment and upgrades in order to be able to fight the final boss of each book. Fairly straightforward.
There is, however, an overarching meta story in Fury Unleashed. Author of this series John Kowalski has become tired with his work, and with increasing public criticism of his comic series, has lost all faith in the character. A strange figure called Mr. Doodle occasionally appears and gives you advice on how to win back John’s faith, which fortunately involves a lot of shooting. It’s an unusual circumstance of the narrative conflict “man vs author,” which I can’t say I’ve ever seen in a game before. In any case, the story is simple and it works.
Fury Unleashed leans heavily into the comic book style. The rooms of each area are set up like comic panels on a page, equipment you find reference the first comic issue they were seen in, black ink is the resource you use to level up, stuff of that nature. It gives the game an interesting style and excuse for having treasure chests to appear out of the void carrying a minigun while exploring ancient ruins Amazon Jungle.
The gameplay for Fury Unleashed is like a mix between Contra and Binding of Isaac. A twin-stick platforming game, Fury Unleashed is a whole lot of shooting and slashing. Plenty melee weapons, each with different stats and passive buffs. You can find a number of grenade mods too, like a cluster bomb or a vampire grenade that heals you. There area also some special equipment items. The default is some kind of ice blast that briefly freezes everyone on screen, though I also found turrets and gun toting drones. Armor items can add good buffs as well, such as detecting hidden enemies or extending ink collecting range. And most importantly, the guns. The beginning levels have standard stuff like dual SMGs or a rocket launcher, later levels have miniguns, laser cannons, sawblade launchers and more. A lot of creativity went into all of these items, and though some may not be worthwhile, you can break down any unused equipment or weapon into bonus XP.
The movement mechanics are good, with a nice air dash and double jump allowing for quick mobility around the map, crucial for dodging the projectiles and enemies. Fury Unleashed also has a Mario Bros style head stomp, though I found it ineffective against enemies who can aim a gun (or ancient magic staff) upwards. Same with sprinting, which is not always feasible in a game set in small rooms. Nonetheless, I’m glad they incorporated them, any fun mechanic is worth the effort and I’m sure better players than me will be able to use them well.
Fury Unleashed is a procedurally generated game. As I said before, the map is made in the style of comic book panels, but the size, shape, and way forward are somewhat randomized, in the manner of Binding of Isaac or Dead Cells. The items, shops and enemies are randomized too to some extent, though in the early levels the item pools are so small you’re not likely to see that much variation. None of this is unique, we’ve seen this style of procedural generation before. One new addition to the mix is the occasional mini quest. Some variation of a challenge is given—kill 20 enemies with this gun to unlock it as a loadout, finish 10 enemies off with a melee weapon for some XP, etc—which forces you to change up your combat style in order to get a reward.
As for the enemies in Fury Unleashed, they’re not all too complex. Either a skeleton that shoots magic bolts or a skeleton that has a sword. A Nazi with a jetpack or a Nazi with a gun. Nothing revolutionary, but were the enemies more powerful the game would be impossible. Dodging slow projectiles is hard enough, and I think the basic enemies in Fury Unleashed are perfectly fine, albeit lacking in variety. The bosses, on the other hand, are many. I think there are something like 40 unique boss enemies in this game, both minibosses that can be encountered mid-level and 3 different final bosses for each of the 3 main zones.
The progression cycle of Fury Unleashed goes like this. Each “world” has 3 stages. At the third stage, you encounter one of the three final bosses. After that, you move on to the next world, and repeat. Once you beat each of the three final bosses, you can skip their world and go straight into the next one, saving you time at the cost of equipment. But more likely than not, you’ll die often in your first few runs. That leads us to the upgrade tree.
There is a fairly extensive skill tree available to you, with upgrade points being gained from the ink you collect during the mission. All of these are passive buffs, such as increased health or the possibility of collecting extra grenades from kills. I found a lot of these to be mostly ineffectual. Having a higher range of collecting ink is not a huge deal when you’re in a small room. And many of these upgrades were too small to notice until fully upgraded—who cares if a critical hit does 160% damage instead of 150%? The good news is, you don’t need to waste XP to find out which ones are worth using. Fury Unleashed allows you to reallocate upgrade points at any time for no cost at all, which made character building a lot more interesting.
And speaking of character building, Fury Unleashed gives you the ability to customize Fury’s look. While not impacting stats at all, the customization is just fun. There are a lot of different hair styles and several unusual skin colors, in case you want your Fury to look like the ork cop from Bright. There are a number of other pre-created and uncustomizable character builds too. I can see dozens of various looks, though unfortunately the only one I have unlocked so far is a large wolf fursuit, which I don’t think I will ever use.
The most difficult aspect of Fury Unleashed is the health system. Health is impossibly hard to regenerate once lost, as each health pickup only heals like seven HP. You only have a chance of receiving a health pickup when your combo is at three or more, with a higher probability of dropping when the combo is high. That means you need to be constantly engaging with enemies in order to recover from damage, but at higher levels, the enemies are often more punishing against aggressive play. There are some other ways to get it back. You can purchase healing for a ton of money from the occasional health-specific shopkeeper, but even their best healing option only gives you 45 HP back, which is not even half the base health level. That said, it just means I need to be a better player.
Overall, Fury Unleashed is really cool. It’s fun and fast-paced and very replayable. A refreshingly new take on the roguelite procedurally generated style which harkens back to Spelunky and Rogue Legacy. And at $20, I say it is absolutely worth it.