Cellar Door Games made a name for themselves with the surprise hit Rogue Legacy, so with the release of Full Metal Furies comes an attempt to truly cement themselves as creators of memorable, colourful and most importantly fun co-op side-scrolling action RPG greatness. With a cast of likable characters and an art style that is decidedly retro yet completely modern, the captivating style of Full Metal Furies is pretty clear as soon as you load the title screen. Luckily, the game has some decent substance to back this up.
Playing as four women, Triss, Meg, Erin and Alex, they set off to take down the Titans of their world, giant beings that if defeated will bring peace to the land. While all four of the characters have different personalities that are shown through a lot of back and forth written dialogue between them, they also each have a different class; Triss is a tank with strong melee strikes and shield abilities, Meg is a sniper, focused on longer range attacks, Erin is an engineer and Alex is the more offense-based fighter. You can flick between them with ease in single player to make the most of their different skills, but they work best when playing with friends in a cooperative environment.
Full Metal Furies is a fast paced brawler, where enemies will flood the screen for you to clear before moving on to the next section. Each character has completely different move-sets but play similarly enough that things never feel confusing, with a basic attack, a dodge of sorts, and a couple of other more unique moves. This comes together better in cooperative mode with your friends, where you can work together and combine your abilities more effectively. After each round, rewards flood in which can then be spent on skill trees, additional abilities and other loot-based goodies that enhance the experience and bring in some addictive RPG mechanics after each round. It’s a setup we are used to, but it works here and becomes addictive as you get stronger.
To switch up the gameplay in cooperative mode, some enemies spawn with coloured barriers relative to the colour of each player. If it’s a blue shielded foe and you’re playing as Triss, you’re the only one that can actually remove that shield by causing damage. This means that it isn’t always a free-for-all when it comes to fighting baddies, as you have to ensure you’re clearing your colour before your teammates are able to actually be effective at all in combat. While it’s a cool idea, this does cause some frustration if one of your teammates is down and waiting for a revive while the stage is full of their colour shields. This leaves you unable to attack anything until they get back up, which can make things difficult and result in a quick death, especially if it’s only two of you playing.
” It’s all very satisfying and, yes, furious, with plenty of times during tough stages that I felt a true sense of accomplishment…”
Enemy design is varied in their style but also with the types of attacks that they do, constantly keeping you on your toes. Like any good brawler of this kind, it slowly introduces new challenges and different obstacles to teach you the mechanics and then tests you by bringing them all in at once during pivotal moments and boss fights. It’s all very satisfying and, yes, furious, with plenty of times during tough stages that I felt a true sense of accomplishment and relief upon completing them. It nails the “just one more go” mentality that makes the genre so successful.
There are some other moments in Full Metal Furies that make it memorable, including a solid sense of humour. The first Titan you encounter is basically a gym junkie who says things like “BOOM” as he strikes a pose, as if checking himself out in the mirror. References to the fact that you’re playing a video game sometimes try a bit too hard to be meta, but it’s all very tongue-in-cheek, as is the ability to pick up instruments when you’re back at the camp and play a tune as if you’re in a cool all-female rock band. It’s also great that this is a game about four tough women – not that they ever make any on-the-nose points about it. The one downside is the lack of voice acting and just generally uninspired audio design. It’s not bad per se (the opening ditty is pretty catchy) but some voice acting for the bigger moments would have brought even more personality to proceedings.
The Bottom Line
Even though Full Metal Furies doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it doesn’t take itself seriously and has well-crafted gameplay when it counts. It functions perfectly fine as a single player experience but was clearly designed with co-op in mind, bringing back fond memories of couch co-op from yesteryear (along with online co-op of course). Given the success of Rogue Legacy I’m a little disappointed they didn’t spend more time on the production when it comes to audio, but with bonus challenges, hidden secrets and plenty of missions that are fun to replay, this addictive action RPG brawler will keep you and your friends busy for quite some time.