Thanks to a pair of gentleman from Norway (well they’re Swedish, just bear with me [lol, puns]), the ID@XBOX family welcomes a new twin-stick shooter, Feral Fury. Setting itself apart from recent shooters like Bleed or Vostok Inc, is the top-down view and the similarities to the cult classic, The Binding of Isaac. Players will take on 15 procedurally generated stages, battling enemies and bosses. Along the way, new items can be discovered and currency collected to purchase temporary and permanent upgrades. Perks and curses always rear their heads and by the way, if you die the entire game starts over. Feral Fury is by-all-means a hardcore game, but thankfully all is not lost for genre novices.
Taking place during the post-human era (we died in the oil wars, by the way), pandas emerged as the dominant power of the galaxy. Instead of oil, these pandas are at war over bamboo, and in their quest for universal control there is no limit to the amount of blood they will shed. The story is as cheesy as it sounds, but once the action gets going I could not have cared less. While playing as a panda soldier, you face off against other soldiers, sometimes giant bugs or mechanical bad guys who yearn to splatter you into a pile of goo. At your disposal are weapons ranging from pistols to machine guns to explosives. Thorough explorers will be rewarded with keycards that unlock merchants or shops. On top of it all, there are a handful of other secrets that I won’t spoil here. To move on to the next level, you must find a red keycard and reach the red door. It might be the first room you clear or the last, which only adds to the fun!
What I really love about Feral Fury are the controls, they are very precise and intuitive. You control your character with the left thumbstick and aim your weapon with the right thumbstick. If things get dicey you can always press A to roll and avoid damage from projectiles. Pressing LB plants your explosives, should you have any, and that’s about it. Feral Fury’s U.I. does a good job keeping you informed of your health, ammo and inventory without getting in the way. In addition to orbs, which are used to purchase permanent upgrades before a run, bad guys also drop coins to buy temporary perks during the run. Things might be going well and you can invest in some critical damage increase or a new weapon. Other times you might spend your last few coins on a health vending machine. There is a bit of risk versus reward that really lends to smart decision making.
Three difficulties do a good job of balancing out the pain and suffering. I managed to complete easy mode my first try, but the teases at Skandivania Games will cut you off before seeing the ending you would on normal or hard. I played the most on normal and despite sometimes dying after only 3 or 4 levels, all the orbs I earned accumulated. I used them to invest in permanent upgrades like: always starting with a blue keycard or increasing my ammo clips. I love this design choice because it makes every run meaningful, no matter how far you get. In addition to the regular game is a daily run mode where everyone is given the same circumstances and tries to reach the top of the leaderboard.
Perfectly priced at $9.99 USD, there’s potential for unlimited replay value. Feral Fury has simple yet precise controls and permanent upgrades mean I will always have better odds next time. For me, next time has been daily for the past week, with no signs of slowing down. If I had to nitpick, I would love to see more enemy and location variety. There are three more characters to choose from, but they must be unlocked. I think fans of this type of game will have plenty to keep them busy; those on the fence will hopefully be swayed by the generous price point. In the end, Feral Fury joins Quest of Dungeons as one of my favorite dungeon crawlers on the Xbox One.