Cellar Door Games combines brawlers and RPG mechanics in a fun chaotic package called Full Metal Furies.
Call them beat em’ ups, brawlers, action/rpgs, side scrolling action, whatever you want. I have had a long love affair with this genre and these types of games dating back to when I was a little kid. From classic arcade games like X-men, Simpsons, TMNT, through the early console generation of Golden Axe, Streets of Rage, Altered Beast. Then onto more modern additions like Scott Pilgrim, Castle Crashers, and Lost Castle. Brawlers just have a special place in my heart. There is just something about sitting down with your best buds and beating the living hell out of video game baddies. Obviously Cellar Door Games shares my love of the genre and after their last, amazing title Rogue Legacy, they took nigh on five full years to make Full Metal Furies.
Was the wait worth it? Did they take a risk on taking on an old genre? Is the game fun and charming? I would say yes to all of those questions. Full Metal Furies captures everything I love about the genre and adds a healthy dose of chaotic, team-focused combat and a decent progression system.
Meet the Furies, not Furries (like I read it a hundred times).
The Furies are on a mission of peace as Full Metal Furies begins. The world is thrown into chaos after Prometheus, the king, dies. The Titans wage a brutal war for succession and the world barely clings on after a stalemate. So the Furies decide the only way for peace to prevail is to kick some butt and make sure the Titan’s don’t destroy what’s left of the planet. When it comes to story, Full Metal Furies has one but it certainly isn’t that big of a deal. I enjoyed the witty banter between our four main characters more than anything. Speaking of which…
Each character approaches combat a different way. Alex, who I primarily played, was the fighter and who wielded a big hammer. I found myself always in the thick of things and found the best defense was my offense. Erin is an engineer with a focus on mid ranged combat. This is probably the easiest character to play as due to most of her abilities not requiring too much aiming and you can stay a fair distance away from the action. Then you have Triss, the tank, who is basically Captain America and beats people to death with her shield. She is an opposite to Alex in that her abilities focus on deflection, damage mitigation and —as her title implies— tanking. Last but certainly not least is Meg the sniper, this character was by far the most difficult to use at the beginning as she is best suited for long ranged combat.
Whichever character you do decide to play as though can be effective in combat. Combat is for the most part your standard affair, except with a couple of key differences. Enemies can come with color-coded shields which need to be disabled first. If you are playing alone this will usually mean they come in two varieties. Obviously the more players, the more shield colors. On one part it makes the combat very dynamic and tactical. On the other hand it can make the combat a downright pain if your partner is down. Not to worry though as your partner can be brought back up and into the fray as long as you stay alive.
There is a large focus on cooperation in Full Metal Furies so all kills, health and gold are shared between the players. This is primarily due to Full Metal Furies progression system and combo system. The combo system allows you to use your abilities in conjunction with other characters. Alex can knock enemies up into the air and Erin can shoot them on the way down. This allows for massive amounts of damage through combos. The problem for me lies in that these moments were rare and very difficult to manage at all. The reason simply being that the game is chaotic and precision doesn’t usually work out very well in most situations.
On top of the chaos, Full Metal Furies is not an easy game to say the least. There are over seventy enemies, each with varied tactics. There are versions of enemies which switch color shields after certain amounts of damage. Certain other enemies become invulnerable for a short while after taking damage. We found ourselves having to play scenes over and over again until the stars aligned just right and we won the battle. Don’t even get me started on the boss battles.
I enjoyed the overall combat in Full Metal Furies, it’s fun and frantic. My advice though is for you to activate story mode in the options menu if you want to have hair by the end of your playthrough. Then ramp it up once you’re comfortable with getting combos and shield busting. Obviously, Full Metal Furies is best enjoyed with other people, however you can play the game by yourself. Quick switching between characters can feel satisfying if you can nail abilities and combos together.
Progression, secrets, and your camp.
The progression system has Rogue Legacy written all over it, not that it’s a bad thing at all — Rogue Legacy had a great progression system. Each character has a skill tree that increases health, damage, ability damage etc. On top of that, each character also has alternate equipment which can fundamentally change how they play. As an example, Erin might change out her huge cone shaped pistol for one that requires far more precision for bigger damage. These schematics can be found throughout the game as you progress.
One key aspect to note about progression is that you are always moving forward/gaining. Even if you die a hundred times in a row, every time you kill any baddie, that gold is shared among you and your friends. Which you can then use to boost your character. On top of that there is also equipment mastery which boosts innate stats. Full Metal Furies is hard, but no situation is going to hold you up for long. It truly depends on how patient you are. All these systems play very nicely with each other. Even if the UI gets a bit cluttered at camp sometimes.
Camp is where you can upgrade your characters and unlock trophies. My personal favorite thing about the game. Once you beat a stage or boss fight you are rewarded with a trophy. These unlock aspects like Go-cat which is a flying cat that tells you where to go during a stage. Another trophy might unlock a set of instruments for you to play with. It’s all very cutesy stuff that just adds fluff to the game.
If you are looking for something more serious. There are puzzle stages, puzzle stones and the gates. The gates are hard to describe but are for those that want to hundred percent the game. Sometimes hidden in the stages you will find stones which have a hint on them as to where to find another stone. These stones then have a code on them which unlocks a gate. What is the point of it all? I have no idea.
Between the brawler aspects, puzzle levels, equipment, skill trees and the hidden secrets, Full Metal Furies is jam packed with content.
Sweet pixel art and great enemy designs.
For the most part I found myself with very little complaints about the art style of Full Metal Furies. The main characters are adorable and the enemies are as well, strangely. The game is bright and colorful and I never really had a hard time with the hit boxes. Things can be cluttered on the screen at times depending on how many players you got going. The one area which is lacking a bit is the level design. Most of the time its just a flat wide road to fight on. There are occasional new elements thrown in like landmines but nothing that you haven’t seen before.
The soundtrack matches suit with my expectations and the sound effects all have the proper amount of oomph behind them. None of the tracks are really all that memorable as I was far too fixated on enemies and not dying to notice anything. Overall, I did wish there was more times to stop and smell the roses in the game. The game needed more moments to blow my mind away with its art-style/soundtrack.
All the little technical things.
So here is the major caveat when it comes to Full Metal Furies. There are no online lobbies. You can directly connect with friends to play with across Steam but there is no public jump in/jump out mechanic. It’s hardly an issue but definitely worth noting. You can probably find plenty of people to play with on the forums.
Full Metal Furies recommends playing with a controller but I found keyboard/mouse just fine and at times even better for controlling ranged characters. There are also Steam Achievements/Cards as well.
Replayability is going to be high on this one. Aside from all the gates, secrets, and treasure hunting to be done. There is also a NG+ mode which makes you bite your fingers off. While I haven’t beaten the game. I would guess somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty to thirty hour experience for overall game time.
To wrap up, Cellar Door Games took a risk on this one but they poured their heart into it. It’s a well made game with no bugs that I encountered. It mashes together many RPG elements and keeps true to the genre at the same time. While it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, any fan of brawlers should put Full Metal Furies in their collection. It stands toe to toe easily with the best. I can easily recommend this game to veterans and newbies alike. So get some buds and start bashing in some skulls!