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Review: Action Packed Fury Unleashed is a Great Rogue-Lite with an Emphasis on the “Lite”

Screenshot: Fury Unleashed

Over-the-top is almost like its own subgenre of action. You have games and movies that involve action that take themselves seriously, and then you have those titles that just unapologetically go all out. My first impression upon seeing Fury Unleashed was that it would be a combination of Broforce and Metal Slug—and it kind of is. With its comic theme and rogue-lite elements, it’s something I haven’t quite played before—and it’s damn fun, too.

Fury Unleashed is a side scrolling action game with rogue-lite elements, and roleplaying game character progression. You play as Fury—or a multitude of other unlockable characters—as he fights his way through three issues of the comic book series in which he’s the titular protagonist. Each comic is made up of a few sections which represented by pages in a comic book, with the rooms cleverly being the panels that make up the comic pages. Each playthrough is randomized—with different room locations, mini-bosses, end bosses, and enemy types and placement. Each of the three comics are themed, too—with different enemies and hazards in each. And there’s an overarching narrative that ties it all together—but it’s about the comic creator, not the action you’re seeing on screen.

Screenshot: Fury Unleashed

There is a story underneath the action of Fury Unleashed—but it’s really not something I expected. It’s actually about the creator of the Fury comics, and deals with the issues the creator is going through. The story is told through interactions with Mr. Doodle, who is apparently telling the story. These interactions usually lead to short, black and white interstitials—pencil sketched rooms that feature conversations, bad reviews, and other interaction with the mysterious creator. But truthfully, these narrative interstitials are easy to ignore to get back to the great gunplay.

The gameplay in Fury Unleashed is fun. Shooting is satisfying, and the movement is done excellently. Dashing away from enemy projectiles and returning fire is responsive–and addictive. If you’re above an enemy, you can stomp on their head to dispatch them, and there are multiple grenade types to play around with. Aiming and moving works almost like a twin-stick shooter, with movement and shooting independent—which is good, because there are often so many enemy projectiles, Fury Unleashed resides in one of the circles of bullet hell. On top of all of that, there’s a combo system to juggle—with the higher combos giving you chances at important health pick-ups. The higher your combo, the more the music ramps up too, driving you forward to maintain those big numbers.

Screenshot: Fury Unleashed

The weapon selection in Fury Unleashed is great, too. Most of the guns are just plain fun to use. And even if you don’t like any particular weapon, it’s possible you can get a better version of that weapon eventually. If your rocket launcher fires too slowly, you might find one with more damage that fires multiple rockets at once. There are some weapons I didn’t care much for, but then I found a variant that made me swear it was the most fun I’ve had in the game. There are different melee weapons to find, too, but I found that they altered gameplay even less—though the different grenade variants are great.

Fury Unleashed wouldn’t be very fun if it didn’t have interesting enemies, but it does. Each comic has a different theme, and a different set of enemies to go along with it. There are skeletons and Nazis and Aliens (oh my) to contend with across the three comics. The boss encounters are similarly exciting, and interesting, with their own (often) bullet hell like attacks to dodge through.

Screenshot: Fury Unleashed

As fun as Fury Unleashed is, I feel like there’s almost one too many systems you have to juggle. Dashing, shooting, jumping, throwing grenades, stomping, and keeping up your combo can feel a little overwhelming at first. But it is a rogue-lite game, and in such games, success isn’t guaranteed. In fact, it’s expected that you will die, pick up incremental advantages, and most likely die time and again before seeing all the game has to offer. Fury Unleashed is no different, and once it clicks, it clicks. Still, Fury Unleashed is definitely more on the “lite” side of the “Rogue” spectrum.

I appreciate always-forward progression in any game, and with the different weapon types to unlock, and the skill tree, progression is certainly always forward in Fury Unleashed. While death ends your run in Fury Unleashed, like it would in any title, it’s not really “permadeath.” Instead, you lose whatever money, armor, weapons, and grenades you’re in possession of—but whatever ink you collected during a run goes toward increasing your character’s permanent level. The entire skill tree stays active, even after death, so it’s possible to eventually fill it up and unleash your true Fury. What’s even better is that after defeating three of the end bosses for a comic, it allows you to completely skip over that comic—something that is rare in any rogue-lite.

Screenshot: Fury Unleashed

If you get lonely blasting things as Fury (or the other characters you can choose from) you can always invite a friend to play. The co-op is local only, and shared screen—making it feel like an old-school title. I’d love some online multiplayer, but nothing quite matches the feeling of couch co-op.

I really enjoyed Fury Unleashed. It’s got explosive action, a great set of guns, and it’s so light on the “Rogue” that it feels more like an action roleplaying game at times. It can be a little overwhelming to juggle all of the mechanics at first, but dying and learning is part of the formula. I definitely recommend Fury Unleashed.

 

Fury Unleashed is available now on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows

 

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