, formerly known as Fenix Rage
, has made its way to Xbox One nearly two years after it launched on PC, in no small part to the legal wrangle that caused the name change. As well as a new name, the game features retuned levels, a new playable character and a new split-screen mode, but has it been worth the wait?
The punishing platformer is certainly one that wears its inspiration on its sleeve. While the developers themselves have name-dropped the Sonic
series - and this is particularly shown with a familiar animation when teetering on an edge - the game plays more like a cross between Super Meat Boy
and Flappy Bird
. The latter's infinite jumping mechanic is mixed in well with the former's tight controls and instant restarts. Those mechanically-simple inspirations lead to rather simple controls:
to dash - both of which can be used infinitely, by and large - and
to reset the level that you're on. This simplicity is certainly to the game's benefit as the controls feel very responsive, leading to very few, if any, unfair deaths.
The game itself is rather simple at least in principle: just get to the end of each level. Simple does not mean easy, however, as there can be plenty of enemies - including bosses at the end of each of the game's areas - looking to hurt Fenix, and one hit spells death for our hero. This will ultimately lead to multiple deaths on most of the game's 200 levels and inevitable frustration for everyone bar the very best. Luckily, thanks to the instantaneous restart, the frustration that is experienced is much more of the "I will beat this" variety as opposed to "I can't be bothered doing that again".
Too mean, Fenix Furia, regardless of how true it may be.
Platformers, by-and-large, are not known for their great stories and Fenix Furia
is certainly no exception. Told entirely via animated, non-voiced cutscenes, the story is extremely basic and fairly unoriginal. An evil being freezes Fenix's village, so Fenix chases down said evil being through a variety of areas. It works well enough as an excuse to travel to each of the game's areas, but it was clearly not the focus of the developer's efforts and will not remain in the memory once the game is done.
There's plenty of replay value with a variety of modes on offer. Each level will eventually have five modes available. Easy, Rage and Two modes available from the start while Challenge and God mode are unlocked after certain conditions are met. Easy, while containing the same obstacles and gameplay experience as other modes, allows the player to take a hit, relieving some frustration the player will encounter. Rage is essentially the game's normal mode and certainly lives up to its name, particularly later on in the game where the difficult levels will cause no shortage of deaths.
There are some beautiful backgrounds on offer
Two mode is the aforementioned new split-screen mode and the other big nod to the Sonic
series. This mode has two players race through the normal levels against each other to see who can get through them the quickest, similar in style to the competitive multiplayer of the old Mega Drive games. Challenge mode sets a certain limit on the amount of jumps and dashes that you can use, turning the usually frenetic gameplay into a much more strategic platformer. The final mode, God mode, allows you to have some revenge on the enemies that will have annoyed you, as it makes Fenix invincible and the test for the player is to wipe out all of the enemies in a level within a time limit.
As well as these modes, there's plenty to find in the levels. Three of the modes lead to the first of the game's collectables: stars. For completing a level under a set time in Rage mode, the player will earn a yellow star. Red and blue stars will be earned for completing levels in Challenge mode and God mode respectively. All of these stars can then be used to purchase minigames that use the main game's control scheme for a variety of different challenges, ranging from collecting cookies that are thrown in your direction to simply playing keepy-up. None of the minigames are particular deep, but they are short, different experiences that allow you to take a break from the main game.
Love might be the last thing you're thinking about during some of these.
In addition, scattered through some of the game's levels are red cubes. Similar to Super Meat Boy
's warp portals, if you reach them before they disappear then they will take you to a set of three shorter levels with a more-retro look. While a few of the retro levels have a pleasing appearance, most are just an added frustration and they feel like they were an afterthought, perhaps because one of the game's main inspirations, Super Meat Boy
. had them included.
While the game's obvious inspirations can leave it feeling unoriginal, the final collectable is certainly a rather unique one: cookies! Not only are these cookies linked to some of the game's achievements, collecting all of them in a single area will unlock a cookie recipe that can be used outside of the game. Not every game encourages time away from them, and even fewer provide the potential for tasty treats!
There is no word on if these recipes lead to good cookies, but it's different at least
Immediately noticeable is the game's aesthetic. The sharp, at times contrasting, colours provide visuals that harken back to 80s and 90s comics and cartoons. This includes the likes of Hellboy
and SWAT Kats
, both of which the Costa Rican developer has noted as inspiration. The music remains high tempo and energetic throughout without being too repetitive, albeit none of the tracks themselves are likely to be remembered after their respective areas are finished.
Speaking of achievements, much like the game itself, they are simple to understand but some may be difficult to earn. The vast majority of them are related to either collecting the aforementioned stars, red cubes and cookies, or for biting the dust a certain amount of times. There are a few more unique ones also available for performing specific actions in certain levels. Earning them all will be quite the challenge, perhaps only possible to the most dedicated of hardcore platformer players.
This punishing platformer is rather simple in premise but is difficult to master. You may have noticed the word "inspiration" a few times and there's a good reason for that, as the game draws from a variety of media. This inspiration can lead to the game feeling a little unoriginal outside of the cookie collectable. However, the game has a striking look, is generally fun to play and provides a challenge, particular for those going for full completion. Those who enjoy their hardcore platformers should definitely take a look, others may find the game to be more frustrating than fun.
- Tight controls
- Plenty of challenge on offer
- Variety of modes and collectibles make the game very replayable
- Those looking for innovation won't find it here
- Will be frustrating for many
This reviewer spent nearly 12 hours and earned 19 of the game's 35 achievements, most of them for collecting cookies and dying. A code for the game was provided by the developer.