STAFF REVIEW of Fenix Furia (Xbox One)

Saturday, June 25, 2016.
by Brent Roberts

Fenix Furia Box art When you're going to develop a game, what sort of qualities and characteristics do you want to be in it. Do you want it to be enjoyable? What about challenging? What about so freaking hard you swear to the unholiest of demons for some form of wrathful vengeance? If you answered yes, then Fenix Furia from Green Lava Studios should be right up your alley. Priced at $14.99, Fenix Furia originally was released back in 2014 on the PC as Fenix Rage, but now makes its debut on the Xbox One. Is it worth it? Let's find out.

Set in a 2D platform world, Fenix Furia is designed to test your patience. Your reward for this? A virtual cookie. Oh, but there's so much more. I have to get this out of the way right from the beginning: Fenix Furia is tough, I mean like putting the durability of your controller to the test type of tough. Did you know they package extra sticks with the Xbox Elite Controller? Fenix Furia could easily be the reason for this. Why is this game so tough? Well, the developers were aiming for something between Flappy Bird and Super Meat Boy and ended up producing something that some would deem to be impossible. If you have never played a 2D platforming game before and you're considering this game, God be with you.

The story of Fenix Furia is so small it could fit on the side of a milk carton under the word "MISSING". You play the role of Fenix, not Marcus Fenix mind you, and your home world has been obliterated by an explosion leaving you and Oktarus. This other survivor manages to stay just one or two steps ahead of you. So, you travel through four different worlds, each one being 20 stages long, looking for each level's cookie. Yes, a cookie. What I just told you could be deemed a spoiler since the story is not only mysterious, but it requires you to complete the game to find out.

Your chance at finding out just who Oktarus is, and the story behind Fenix Furia, rest squarely on your desire for constant and repetitive punishment and death. The reason for this shady story is that the developers want you to focus on the gameplay, and trust me, you'll be glad they did. This is because Fenix Furia's primary focus is to make you pay an exorbitant amount of attention to make sure you get the timing of every single jump you make, right down to the micro-second. If you thought Super Meat Boy was hard you haven't played this game.

Fenix Furia's jump and dash mechanic is the fundamental cornerstone of the gameplay. It is also one of the biggest deceptions in video games. Sure, the controls sound like they are very simplistic, especially when you consider that the A button jumps, Right Trigger performs a dash, and you move with the Left Stick. It's clear that we're not talking rocket science controls here, but it's these three simple controls that you must master to thread the needle to ensure victory. Imagine you're on the moon, and you have to throw a pine needle through the eye of a sewing needle back on earth, and if you screw up you die. This type of gameplay has been improved and there is even an option to help calibrate your controller, and given the responsiveness and pinpoint precision you will praise the developers for this option, because without it there would literally be no hope.

The cartoonish style of Fenix Furia adds a lot of character to the game. Varying levels with different styles of enemies will always be present to keep you on your toes, and the whole retro synth music that blasts through your speakers will give your ears a sense of nostalgia as you quickly notice your heartbeat racing along with the tempo as you make sure every jump you make is precise. One of the interesting twists that I enjoyed was the inclusion of various powers such as ice, fire, and more. These grant you temporary powers to overcome certain obstacles and they add a nice strenuous touch which makes you feel that the developers just wanted to mess with you a little more than they already were doing.

One big drawback would have to be the dramatic and sudden spike in the difficulty. Now, I know what you're saying, but normally if you have 20 stages in a level, you would expect stages 18-20 to be the hardest right? From the beginning, Fenix Furia will put you in some incredibly simplistic levels to make sure that you get used to the feel and tempo of the game itself, but then BAM, off come the floaties and its swim or sink. As I'm typing this my character is stuck in a level that every time I try to complete it my right index finger goes numb from pressing the button constantly and I end up beating my controller like it owes me money. I played the game on easy difficulty and there are still 4 other difficulties to choose from (2 are even locked out probably because I haven't sacrificed enough of my stress and anxiety into this game...that's one theory).

If you're a hardcore fan of 2D platforming that feels impossible to beat then step right up to Fenix Furia and see what lasts longer, your controller or your patience. I have to hand it to Green Lava Studios as they have created one of the most difficult games I have ever played in my 30+ years of gaming. With colorful graphics and simplistic, yet deceptively difficult gameplay, Fenix Furia will be a champion to those who have the dedication and drive to be the best, while others may want to seriously reconsider their thoughts of buying this game in order to keep their sanity. To underestimate Fenix Furia's difficulty will be your greatest downfall as it will also lead to many bouts of swearing, smashing, as well as shattered dreams and broken controllers.

Overall: 7.5 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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