Super-difficult 2D platformers have been popping up like crazy over the past few years. Fenix Furia (previously known as Fenix Rage) continues the tradition but does it do enough to forge its own identity with so much competition out there?
One unfortunate day, Fenix finds his homeland destroyed by an evil entity. So, he begins a quest for revenge. At the end of every stage, he encounters his adversary at the exit who quickly leaves before Fenix can confront him. This reminded me a lot of Dr. Fetus in Super Meat Boy. In fact, the entire game is very similar to 2010's meaty adventure. However, whereas Meat Boy moves like a ninja, our hero here has his own style as he can jump and dash infinitely. This gameplay setup does feel fresh and it's handled quite well. Thankfully, the controls are tight which helps a great deal when facing the incredibly difficult campaign. Were you expecting it to be easy? To be honest, I find Super Meat Boy to be a walk in the park compared to this. Therefore, make sure you're ready to thoroughly test your skills before you enter Fenix's hazard-filled world.
Fenix Furia is quite a colourful game with easily distinguishable enemies, hazards, and features. I like watching Fenix as he runs and jumps because he looks like he's putting a lot of effort into every action. Certain features such as hummingbirds scattered around and animated backgrounds help add some life to the game world but it's mostly barren outside of these small touches. The enemies are mainly blobs with different coloured outlines while stages are composed of repeated textures. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad looking game; I just wish it had more unique personality that you can easily get immersed in. The audio is rather mediocre, too, with unmemorable music and generic sound effects. Once in a while, you'll see story sequences that I can imagine would be much more entertaining if they had voices or cool effects but instead they play like short silent films as if you're reading a comic book with no text.
Fenix Furia's campaign consists of nine worlds with 20 stages in each. You can find a collectible cookie in every level and earn stars by beating stages in under their par times. Once you find all of a world's cookies, you unlock an actual recipe. I'd let you know if they're any good if I wasn't on a diet, but I digress. Each stage can be played in two difficulty settings, competitively against a local chum, and a couple of bonus modes that involve being invincible so you can kill all the enemies and placing limits on your jumps and dashes. Some levels contain optional exits that unlock stages from Fenix Box if you reach them in time. If that's not enough, you unlock arcade mini-games by earning stars. Basically, there's a ton of content to master so it'll likely take days to acquire everything.
The biggest issue that I have with Fenix Furia is that the core gameplay remains mostly the same throughout the entire campaign. You'll come across a couple of new mechanics such as being able to warp between coloured gates and slide down a hot wall in order to catch fire and melt ice but nothing significantly changes the basic jump and dodge hazards formula. Now that I think about it, the clever bosses are unique and provide some much-needed variety but there are too few of them to break up the otherwise static gameplay. My only other complaint is that the difficulty is all over the map. One stage can be a breeze while the next seems nearly impossible. Considering you can't skip levels, this uneven challenge can be very frustrating to deal with.
In the end, Fenix Furia may have its problems but it's still a worthwhile experience for those who just can't get enough 2D punishment. If you fit this description then invite Fenix over and get your Rage on!
- + Tight and challenging gameplay that'll put your 2D gaming skills to the test
- + Loads of stages and extras to unlock
- + Clever boss battles help mix things up
- - The core gameplay doesn't evolve much and therefore starts to feel repetitive
- - Campaign has very uneven difficulty
- - Presentation could use more polish