John Kowalsky is a comics book writer. His most prominent creation is The Fury, character of an action comic book that goes by the name of Fury Unleashed, a title that has been running for more than 20 years by now. But all of a sudden, Kowalsky has lost interest in it and it’s up to you, his creation, to discover what happened to him. It’s time to unleash The Fury!
First released for in Early Access for Steam in 2017 and now in its final version in 2020, Fury Unleashed is a fast-paced 2D roguelike action platformer – yes, it all. Developed and published by the Polish studio Awesome Games, it places up to two players in a quest through different comic magazines with adventures of The Fury: prepare to face mystical menaces in the Amazon jungle, Nazi soldiers, aliens and more. Use an arsenal of incredible weapons to lay down the fury over enemies while you chain kills to build combos and discover the truth behind your creator’s abandonment. Let’s turn the pages of these comics and help Fury… ahmnn… meet his maker?
What we liked!
- Roguelike comics: Everything in Fury Unleashed is built to resemble a comic book – since the adventure takes place inside different editions of the magazine. Its levels are always a combination of two pages, with you starting the level in the top left panel of the first page and finishing it in the bottom right panel of the second page. Each page is composed of different scenes that correspond to the panels of a comics page. It reminded me of Comix Zone, a title from SEGA for Mega Drive/Genesis released in 1995. You may think that you will be running the same panels and pages over and over again, but no, my friends. Here lies the roguelike aspect of the game: each time you play a level, the page layout will be randomly generated: connections between panels will be different, items and resources will be in diverse places and bosses will hardly be the same from your last run. This way, you are never ready for what’s coming for you, exponentially increasing the game longevity.
- Visuals: Ok, you already know about the comics book atmosphere. What you don’t know yet is how colorful, well-detailed and polished they are. The animations of your characters are a little robotic, but it’s compensated by enemies naturality and the festival of bullets, lasers and explosions that will cover your screen. And blood. Lots of it. The artists from Awesome Games didn’t save on special effects from guns and the mess they can do: the final result is amazing! Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that each piece of equipment your character wears (more about them later) gives him a different visual. So, it will not be difficult to see Fury waring a medieval armor with a Fedora hat and some shining shoes…
- Sound: I usually start describing what I liked (or didn’t like) regarding the audio department of a game by the music and then I follow-up with notes about voice work and/or sound effects. But today I’m doing something different. ‘Why?’, you ask me? Only because I want to save what’s best to the end. The sound effects in Fury Unleashed are great! Explosions, the sound of guns firing, enemies being sliced… they are all here! But the icing on the cake in this title lies in the music or better saying, the impact the music has. I will explain: the music is great right from the beginning, but it intensifies as you start killing enemies in rapid succession, making your combo counter reach the sky. This mechanic is perfect to make you as excited and vibrant as it is to link 50+ kills in a chain. But it is also punishing and depressing when your combo chain is broken and the music goes back to its initial format. I loved this mechanic!
- Gameplay: The gameplay in Fury Unleashed revolves around eliminating everything that moves in each panel until you reach the end of the page. To do so, your customizable character starts the game with an SMG and a machete, but these are only your initial guns. As you explore the levels, you will find chests and vendors with new pieces of equipment for you. ‘Vendors?’, you ask? Yes, vendors: as you fight enemies, you will gather black ink, that works like experience points for your character, and gold ink, that can be used to buy fancy new weapons, armors and abilities. As you shoot your way out of the pages, being as fast and lethal as you can is the key for success: this way you have access to some perks like recharging your special attack or activating your shields. So, think fast and kill fast even faster to keep your combo counter always increasing!
- RPG Elements: The RPG elements in this game were a great surprise! Every gun you can equip has a different status like damage and reload time – what is usual. But beyond that, they can have status effects (it can burn or freeze enemies, for instance) and special abilities like piercing through enemies’ bodies or bouncing on walls. And so does your equipment. There is space for 4 different pieces of equipment: head, shoulder, chest and foot can each one equip a piece that can slightly increase your chances of survival or can even make you more powerful. As your character can always carry two guns plus his melee weapon, try to find the combination of items that best suits your playstyle. And regarding his abilities, you start the game with the possibility to freeze all enemies on the screen, giving you a brief moment to recompose yourself or to eliminate them. But there are other interesting options available in chests and shops that include placing a turret or releasing a drone armed with a machine gun.
- Bosses: I am impressed with the bosses in this game: first about the quantity and variation and then with how impressive they are. In each level, there are chances you will encounter as you explore each scene: these are mid-bosses. And after three levels, you will fight one of the bosses of that comic book (there are three in each). Some are easy to defeat as you manage to understand his moves, while others will surely give you some trouble. The best part is that as they are randomized, it’s going to be even more difficult for you to memorize their patterns.
- Dying is part of the process: If you manage to beat this game in one seat, kudos for you! Now if you are like the other 99,99% of mortals, you will die in this game. A lot. But it’s far from a problem. Remember the black ink mentioned a few bullet points above? This ink works like experience points and is used to increase the levels of your character. With each level, you gain a skill point that can be used to learn or improve abilities in a skill tree. Doing so, you can turn Fury in a walking tank that will be ready to obliterate everything in his path! As each time you die, you have the opportunity to make him stronger for the next incursion, dying does not sound like a problem now, don’t you think?
- Local co-op only: As mentioned in my review for Huntdown, as I’m playing all by myself at home during this pandemic, I missed the online co-op multiplayer option. It’s great to be able to play such a terrific game in couch co-op with your 2nd player, but in times like these when we cannot be close to each other is when we really value the online co-op resource in games.
- Direct blow (minor spoiler alert): As you start to discover what happened to Kowalsky, I don’t know about you guys, but Fury Unleashed felt like a direct blow to the destructive behavior people love to demonstrate while on the internet. I’m trying not to spoil anything here, but may it be a warning for what gamer’s toxic behavior can do to others. Try to examine your own behavior to see if you are not doing anything similar – and if you are, please stop being this kind of jerk right now!
What we disliked
- Nada. Noget. Nimic. Nic. Nialas. Nolla. Nul’. Iets. Nothing.
Have no doubts, my fellow readers: this Polish studio does live up to its name because they delivered a truly awesome game! Fury Unleashed is beautiful, frantic and as fun as it could be, always calling you for one more incursion in its challenging levels. And you will attend, because this game is so freaking good that you can’t stop playing, always ready for one more try! Congrats with everything you achieved here guys. Your game is really Awesome!
With a history of gaming that goes from his old man’s Atari 2600 to his Xbox One, Rafael or RAF687, our Brazilian editor, has a love for games as old as he can remember. He has already spent countless hours in many consoles (Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn, PS1, PS2 and Xbox 360) and is always ready for more (as long as his wife is asleep). Raf has been writing for LifeisXbox since 2017, with a passion for games of almost all genres – though we know he has a special place in his heart for RPGs, racing games and anything that includes pixel art. Writing about games has always been a childhood dream to Raf, dream that he has fulfilled reviewing games for you here. You can drop him a message at Twitter, Facebook or Xbox Live at any time.