FRU Reviews

  • Slam Shot SamSlam Shot Sam1,108,818
    12 Jul 2016 26 Jul 2016
    14 0 1
    FRU | Xbox One

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    I’ve personally always been on board with Kinect, immediately adopting the original peripheral and accruing a sizeable portion of its catalogue. The - mostly - good times that followed meant I took no issue with the second generation initially being a compulsory part of the Xbox One package. I did, however, grow to take issue with the fact that it received excruciatingly little software support thereafter.

    The release of FRU these years later singlehandedly helps remedy that. Providing a reminder that the brick sat underneath your television can do more than clumsily register voice commands, FRU has the player use their body to interact with the game world and aid a young protagonist through varied platforming stages.

    Elements of the environment are seen in a different light once bathed in your transparent silhouette, which means you can serve as both a help and a hindrance. Just as often as you become a living platform, filled with grandeur as your own fair hand carries the nameless protagonist to safety, improper movements condemn them to fall to their death.

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    Platforming isn’t automated, so whilst contorting yourself into all manner of shapes to build safe passage, it’s worth remembering you’ll also need to be able to wield the controller. Ingeniously simple and intuitive controls help on this front, with movement mapped to both analogue sticks and jumping to both triggers. This means precision control can be maintained using one hand ambidextrously.

    ​Performing both functions will challenge your multitasking skills, akin to patting your head and rubbing your stomach whilst occasionally switching on a dime. It’s great to see a game that exercises both muscles and grey matter, rather than neither as is often the case.​

    Perhaps the final hurrah for Microsoft’s Kinect, FRU sends it off with a bang.
    If that sounds a tad complex (in the least patronising way possible), FRU is very accommodating and might be able to help. Pass the controller off and designate a person to each operation, use objects to extend your reach, even tactically dress to more easily fit into small spaces or cover larger areas. Perhaps most useful is the ability to pause gameplay whilst repositioning yourself, which opens the experience up to those less able and to those with small play spaces.

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    Whichever tactic you choose to employ, whoever’s in front of Kinect will naturally look the fool. Embrace this and there’s a great party game that’ll see your friends and family takings pins, lunging, sitting on the floor, standing on one leg and more. The silhouette’s pretty unflattering and seemingly adds a few pounds if you’re self conscious, but if that’s the case you probably aren’t going to be up for crab walking around the room with your arms in the air...

    Unfortunately, there isn't much substance to justify busting it out more than once. There are four short chapters, each one introducing a new mechanic to keep things fresh, in which you’ll easily acquire all of the collectibles. You’re rewarded for doing so with access to FRU’s prototype phase, which is drastically different aesthetically, whilst maintaining the same core mechanics in a less polished form. It’s interesting to see how the game developed over the course of a few levels, but nothing more.

    It’s great to see a game that exercises both muscles and grey matter, rather than neither as is often the case.
    The undoubtedly front-and-centre gameplay mechanics are complemented by a serene soundtrack that effectively develops to be quite urgent in the final, challenging stages. Meanwhile, the simple art carries a warm and charming glow that’s impossible not to be taken with, mirroring the touching connection made in quite literally guiding a character by hand. Naive storybook framing furthers the effect, as if you were helping them off to sleep with a whimsical bedtime story the whole time. In an odd way, it’s the closest I’ve come to parenthood, because I was essentially playing that role in what was evocative of nostalgic childhood memories.

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    Perhaps the final hurrah for Microsoft’s Kinect, FRU sends it off with a bang. A sweet, innovative and tight platformer that’ll work your mind and body, the game unfortunately comes to an end all too quickly.

    Pros

    + Accurate controls and Kinect tracking
    + Some brain-teasing levels
    + Gets you active, whilst not being strenuous
    + Strong presentation
    + Accommodates a range of players

    Cons

    - Short runtime
    - Lacking in replayability and additional modes


    8/10

    A majority of FRU's achievements are easily achieved. Those for completing the final chapter without a single death and completing a speedrun in under 40 minutes provide the only challenge, as well as a whopping 150G each. You'll also need a physically present co-op partner to earn an additional 50G.

    Originally written for Pass the Controller, a copy was provided for the purpose of this review.

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    Thanks for reading.

    EDIT: I conducted an interview with Through Games' Mattia Traverso on FRU, the risks involved with developing a game for Kinect, and much more. If you're interested in reading it and learning some more about FRU, you can find it here.
    4.0
    Showing only comment.
    JuicedBeaverGreat review for a great game! The moment I realized just how unique this game is was when I swam out of the silhouette of my head to get over an obstacle...it doesn't stop there! I threw my hand up to prevent myself from plummeting to a horrible death when I noticed that I had instinctively made a fist to grab *ahem* myself in midair.

    Damn that was a strange paragraph to type out.
    Posted by JuicedBeaver On 31 May 17 at 04:54