Drawing inspiration from the likes of Dead Cells and Rogue Legacy, Fury Unleashed by Awesome Games Studio is coming out soon for consoles alongside its launch out of Early Access on Steam. After five years in the making, how does it stack up? We played it on the Switch and the Xbox One to try and find out.
Besides those modern roguelite classics we just mentioned, Fury Unleashed also cites arcade era greats like Contra and Metal Slug as inspirations (which can be seen visually), but thematically there’s an element of Comix Zone here as well. Taking place against the backdrop of a comic book where its author has suddenly lost inspiration, each level plays much like a panel in a printed comic book. The visual style is a little less Comix Zone or Viewtiful Joe and more like Metal Slug, but you get the idea.
You play as action hero Fury, defeating the demons that are haunting the writer/artist responsible for your adventures as you go along. Doing so fills up the blank pages of each issue, thereby slowly restoring your creator’s drive to craft more stories.
In each level, you get rid of the enemies on screen while picking up loot. You also quickly learn that stringing combos together is crucial, as it delivers higher rewards that will allow you to make it further into the game before you inevitably die and get thrown back a bit. That’s all part of the game and its roguelite influences though, and subsequent runs see you returning as a better armed version of Fury ready to kick ass once more.
What helps you in this regard is that there’s a skill tree for you to unlock, adding RPG influences to what (at first glance) looks like an arcade-inspired retro game. Instead, you get to personalize your playing experience more and more by emphasizing specific skills, resulting in different ways to take down the game’s many boss characters. Permanent upgrades continuously give you an edge when you re-start, and together with Fury Unleashed’s combo-heavy style this makes for an addictive gameplay loop, even though starting over can be frustrating (due to a high difficulty level).
Combos are varied due to a wide selection of attacks at your disposal, which include melee combat as well as ranged (gun) options, and you can even take the action airborne to throw everything together for truly spectacular results. Further mixing up the action are all of the random pickups you’ll encounter while playing, as well as optional missions given to you by in-game characters – which usually have rewards attached to them. Not all of them are permanent, but they all help in getting further in your run and thus unlocking some of the more lasting upgrades in the game.
And that’s not even touching on what is perhaps the best feature about the game – the ability to play it in local cooperative multiplayer mode with a friend. The option’s there on PC as well as console platforms, and playing together definitely helps reduce stress in what is otherwise a very challenging experience. We’re definitely recommend playing together if you have the option (with the quarantine that’s happening now), and we also recommend playing on a big screen. While the Switch version supports playing it in tabletop mode, things become hard to see (which is true for nearly all multiplayer games in tabletop, we’ve found).
If you enjoy classic arcade action blended with modern influences from the roguelite genre as well as the character skill development from RPGs, the Fury Unleashed is an excellent option for you. It might wear a little in single player, but we thought it was a blast when playing together.