Platforms PS4/Xbox One
Developer Green Lava Studios Publisher Reverb Triple XP
Genre Action Platformer Platform Played Xbox One
Despite already existing on Steam under the title Fenix Rage, the console version, complete with added features, suffered a name change due to an aggressive lawsuit over the word “Rage.” With the new name Fenix Furia, Green Lava Studios has brought the frantic action platformer to consoles and there is no shortage of reasons for gamers to be excited.
Fenix, the protagonist, is furious that his entire village has been vaporized through an explosion, and wants some answers in addition to vengeance. What follows is the pursuit of a mysterious character through several hundred short yet challenging levels, designed to truly test one’s mettle. More specifically, the time required to complete a level can range from less than 2 seconds to a few minutes depending on how quickly the player moves, but that is solely the length of time for a single successful run. Such brief platforming segments may lead some to assume the game itself is short, but nothing could be further from the truth. The first world acts as an introductory collection of stages and is relatively simplistic, but after that the game removes its metaphorical gloves and challenges the player nearly to the point of frustration. Fortunately, it stops just short of this point and the result is an addicting formula constantly pushing you to continue moving forward and attempt the level again. Tougher levels may have you investing 15-20 minutes of play time before you find your way to the exit portal, but because of a simple design choice, the amount of time dedicated to completing a level does not feel nearly as grueling as one may expect. Compared to games such as Trials Fusion which showcases the number of failures in the top left corner of the screen, Fenix Furia never lets you see your double or triple digit death count until it’s too late to negatively impact your desire to keep trying.
Dying is inevitable in Fenix Furia, with my own personal record being 243 times in a single level before succeeding. There are a handful of levels where lucky timing feels as if it plays a significant role in determining whether you live or die, but the overwhelming majority rely strictly on skill, precision, and reflexes. Observing patterns, timing dashes, and kiting enemies are all essential skills required to complete the game. The game slowly introduces new obstacles over time, such as ice blocks, bouncing enemies, floating crocodile heads, or laser beams. Through strategic level design, these individually simple elements become death traps with the assistance of narrow hallways, the pressure of a timer, the necessity of being engulfed in flame to shatter ice, or the sheer quantity of enemies. One level in particular starts Fenix off on a small platform and the initial reaction to seeing the level is that you are unequivocally doomed. Tiny green enemies are bouncing and flying all over the screen with teleporters bouncing them of them off of unseen walls and shooting them back towards you, some travel in pairs to make movement infinitely more dangerous, and the distances each of them travel is varied, adding an extra level of difficulty in predicting where and when to move. Eventually it becomes apparent that certain squares of land are safe from ever being hit and the easiest way to reach the exit is by travelling to and from those individual plots of land. Knowing this information does not make traversing the level any easier, but it showcases that each level has been carefully designed and is not the seemingly random chaos it may initially suggest.
At the end of each world, Fenix encounters a boss character, although just like every other level in the game, death means restarting the level completely. Most bosses follow the typical formula of being hit three times or three increasingly dangerous stages of the fight before winning, but Green Lava Studios has managed to find a way to make each fight unique and creative. Some bosses are defeated in very obscure manners and require some trial and error to actually determine how to best the foe. One such boss fires its protective coating at Fenix in a square room. If Fenix touches this coating or the lasers at the bottom of the level, he dies. He will also die if he touches the boss at any point, even if a dash is timed so as to hit the exposed portion of the enemy. Without elaborating more and giving away the solution, this is a prime example of the kind of scenario you can expect from Fenix Furia. The game takes pride in making you think of a solution while watching Fenix die repeatedly as you do so.
The inclusion of additional challenges is a large part of what will keep players so invested in Fenix Furia. The base game will take anywhere between four and eight hours to complete but when time trials, unlocking every level in the highly pixelated Fenix’s Box world, collecting cookies (which eventually unlock legitimate cookie recipes), completing Challenge and God modes, and possibly even competing against a friend in a split-screen competitive mode are taken into consideration, the estimated completion time increases exponentially. The two unlockable modes dubbed “Challenge Mode” and “God Mode” require the completion of levels under various stipulations. Challenge Mode assigns a fixed number of jumps and dashes to use while completing a particular level while God Mode drastically changes Fenix’s purpose within a given level and tasks him with complete and utter destruction of enemies within a specified time limit. Given how drastically different these modes are from the standard gameplay, it prevents the repetition many would logically fear from a game in this genre. Playing the same levels has never felt more different than in Fenix Furia which is a huge testament to how much thought and effort have clearly gone into this game.
There is also a completely separate batch of levels titled “Fenix’s Box” which are unlocked by reaching red boxes in specific levels before they disappear. These alternate levels are overall much simpler than their campaign counterparts, but are done in an incredibly low resolution style which presents an entirely new challenge. Obstacles such as false walls are introduced in this mode but because of the low resolution style, there is no way of knowing which walls are actually passageways other than trying to push through them. The split-screen option is only a race between two players to see who can complete the level first, but it means that the action is no longer restricted to a single player, and it is available on every level in the game with the exception of the Fenix Box levels. Lastly, there is also an arcade filled with Fenix-centric minigames to unlock. The games are purchased with time trial stars and are more of a charming distraction from difficult levels than anything, but they provide at least some form of use for collected stars rather than simply to say you have completed some of the trials.
Fenix Furia allows players to determine exactly how much of a challenge they wish to face by providing optional goals and different modes. The baseline difficulty is slightly higher than an average platformer, but the brevity of levels combined with simple controls makes for an experience which never feels disheartening. With a plethora of game modes available, the title will hold your attention for countless hours as you attempt to perfect a run, reach a red box, or complete a God Mode challenge. Every design choice from level creation to enemy movement has very obviously been considered in great detail and the title benefits immeasurably from the added care. With Fenix Furia, Green Lava Studios has crafted a perfect example of how to extend play time without feeling stale or repetitive. The game is certainly not for everyone, as young children or inexperienced gamers may become frustrated by the difficulty, but fans of Super Meat Boy or action platformer games are sure to instantly fall in love with Fenix Furia.
- Difficulty level provides incredible challenge while remaining fair and relying on skill
- Different game modes provide vastly different styles of play
- Hundreds of individual levels
- Unique boss fights break up any potential tedium of continuously playing levels
- Grabbing collecticles results in unlocking actual cookie recipes
- In more chaotic levels, locating Fenix’s starting point on screen can be incredibly difficult
The Score: 9.5
Eric is an Xbox editor for Analog Addiction where you can find all the latest gaming news, previews, reviews, and everything else that rhymes with those words. ‘Like’ Analog Addiction on Facebook to receive all of the updates as they’re posted.