Fumiko is a colourful platformer that is more than it seems. At first glance, it appears like a fun filled, stylised jumping puzzle; but it is so much more than that. Fumiko is a title that is shrouded in mystery and with a menacing unknown looming over you as you jump through beautiful levels.
The story feeds you bits and pieces as you play to spark your curiosity and keep you wanting more. Unanswered questions and the intrigue of the unknown characters draws the player in and gets them hooked. At the core, the game itself is simple. The goal is to jump your way to the exit of each level.
In terms of gameplay, Fumiko may seem difficult at first, though this depends on how good you are at platformers and jumping puzzles. The controls are easy to learn, with only a few buttons being used (mainly spacebar) and you will be familiar with them in minutes. Improving your jumping skills will take a little longer, but after a few introductory levels you will be jumping your way to the goal in no time. My advice is to just go for it, as being overly cautious and trying to be careful actually seemed to hinder my progress. Jump with confidence!
You also unlock new abilities which help you reach the exit and also make jumping and dashing more fun. Fumiko is a challenge, but the levels are short enough to become addictive. It’s easy to unintentionally spend a lot of time trying to beat a level. The payoff is worth it, as each level is new and exciting.
This brings me to the most obvious and attractive aspect of Fumiko – the visuals.
The developers have successfully taken simple forms and used them in a way to make each level a work of art. Shapes and colours are used to create surreal landscapes and a dream-like world. Attention to detail and the creation of an atmosphere is what makes this game so interesting. There is a great variety of levels, from dark, purple expanses with a menacing atmosphere to more cutesy, bright levels with an air of tranquillity.
The intricate and diverse level designs prevent the game from becoming boring and repetitive. The player is encouraged to explore these beautiful realms and it is truly a feast for the eyes. The animations are fluid and crisp, Fumiko herself moves through the air with grace and her golden pixel hair flows seamlessly as you jump and is very eye-catching.
The music of Fumiko enhances the visuals and helps to create different atmospheres for each level. Fumiko’s soundtrack can be described as sometimes dream-like, futuristic and fun. Definitely Ipod-worthy! The music ranges from upbeat and appropriately bouncy to trance-like tunes, as if you are floating in a sci fi void (which you kind of are). The music adds to the experience of the game immensely and I would say it is one of its main selling points. The visuals and the music combined form a mesmerising experience, you will feel sucked in to this dream-like world and I found myself frequently in awe when I reached a new level.
The story of Fumiko is hard to talk about while avoiding spoilers. All I can say is that it is surprisingly deep. It pulls you in with mystery and unanswered questions. Fumiko is topical as it explores the relationship we have with virtual reality. It also deals with issues such as internet security and even capitalism. The main question is, when does virtual reality become reality? Play the game to uncover the mysteries of Fumiko.
Fumiko has some replayability as you can complete a level without finding all the items. This, paired with steam achievements allow you to go back and explore to find anything you might have missed in a second play-through. The items trigger new dialogue and story options which will also motivate players to replay the game.
The criticisms I have for Fumiko are very minor. The pros definitely outweigh the cons. Fumiko is challenging, but I believe that is central to the game. If you are easily frustrated or dislike platformers and jumping puzzles, this is not the game for you. The respawn time after you die takes a little longer than I would like, but that is very minor and most likely a necessary wait. I have not come across another game quite like Fumiko and I would highly recommend it, it is affordable and well worth the price.
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