Whatever it goes by these days… Fenix Furia is a sleek Xbox One arcade platformer.
The story in Fenix Furia is just the age old tale of a crash landed blue cube controlled by a cloaked crustacean that taunts a weird star faced guy through hundreds of portals, thousands of bad guys, and results in ten thousand deaths (it’s literally an “Achievement”). The gameplay is even simpler: touch the blue box, get the cookie, make it fast, and avoid the enemies (says the How to Play). None of it makes sense and it all makes for a super freaking fun game.
Fenix Furia is a visual and audio success. The artwork and animation sequence immediately and distinctly set the game apart in a way that only a title with character manages. Fenix has a way about (him? her? it?) that is reminiscent of Ristar or Sonic, and it just makes it more of a blast from the past. The rolling polygon backgrounds in the game’s hidden level sequences are a good example of the simple touches made to bring the experience together. The music is incredibly well scored and beautifully sets the tone. Its a wonderful cartridge-inspired Xbox One arcade title.
Each level has an exit: the blue box. The player is given infinite lives, jumps and dashes to try and beat the level. Each level also has a hidden cookie: they have a greater purpose, but at the very least they unlock ACTUAL cookie recipes. It’s possibly the funniest and most useless addition to any game I’ve ever seen… unless you really love cookies. Meanwhile, the Xbox One additions are all very much appreciated.
Here’s a good explanation for those who didn’t see our news update: Fenix Furia was rebranded for Xbox One. After playing the Xbox One version, I can’t imagine going back. The Easy mode makes it possible for less experienced gamers to enjoy the game without succumbing to the harsher difficulty modes. The two player split screen mode adds some oomph to the title and a better investment for someone looking to play with others (I’m a sucker for games willing to include a local co-op). This is just where the game starts hitting its groove.
Fenix Furia is at first glance a polished platformer that fires on all cylinders. Its true brilliance shines when the player decides to push their boundaries, which is the best part about the game. During an Easy mode playthrough, the premise is basic and unknowingly watered down (you would know if you played the ‘Fenix Fury’ version). There are so many layers to the game, and it’s all here for anyone who wants to dive into its insanity. The game features an alternate Arcades section accessible from the main screen. These arcade levels are unlocked by using stars like game tokens. The stars are unlocked by playing Rage mode and beating the game’s ridiculously fast-paced Time Trial challenges. We’re talking pinpoint precision jumps and dashes. Oh and remember those fun cookie collectibles from the casual playthrough? Find them all to unlock the game’s true ending.
The bonus “Arcade” levels feature different objectives and high scores to achieve. Meanwhile, hidden within some levels are Red Cubes. These Red Cubes are obtainable through a mastery of the level’s jumping and dashing, and become inaccessible unless the player reaches them in time. Grab a Red Cube for some alternative style levels that hold their own unique flavor. These kick up the difficulty a notch because they feature a one-hit kill mode the player will eventually become familiar with in Rage mode. Fenix Furia’s difficulty level gets plain stupid from here on out.
The player unlocks Challenge mode and has to beat each level under a set number of jumps and dashes. It doesn’t seem like much, but the room for error is nil, and it’s here only for those willing to invest time to master the gameplay. Lastly, there’s the game’s God Mode, and it’s not half as empowering as it sounds. The player finally unleashes fury on all enemies that opposed them throughout the game. Unfortunately, the player is tasked with killing EVERY enemy in the level, and is again given a very small amount of time to do it.
The title is filled with content, and it feels like the developers put a lot of thought and effort into building it up for its Xbox One arcade release. The game accomplishes what it set out to be in every way. The levels are short in hindsight given the speed it takes to complete them, but the four main modes —and excruciating grind it takes to finish them all— lends for hours of gameplay to even some of the most hardcore gamers. The only remotely disappointing part of Fenix Furia is that it’s lacking in original mind-blowing platforming sequences. It borrows nostalgic platform solving sequences (think Bowser battle, SMB 3), but it doesn’t really pay it forward. There isn’t anything truly inspired as far as all-time greatness, and when that’s the worst part about a game… it’s a pretty good sign. Fenix may not be legendary, but he still makes a great impression.