Backlog Review: Full Metal Furies (Switch)

One of the best couch co-op Switch games to date.

By Joshua A. Johnston. Posted 07/27/2020 20:45 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
Editor's Choice
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Fantastic combat, both solo and co-op; clever storyline with hilarious characters; excellent production values; nifty customization features
Poison Mushroom for...
Retro vibe may not be for everyone; text-heavy plot, although there is an option to turn it off; color barriers are sometimes annoying

Backlog Reviews are where we take a look at an older release and provide our thoughts on it. Today we’re tackling Full Metal Furies!

Couch co-op has a great history on Nintendo consoles. From blasting through the jungles of Contra on NES to banding together in Kirby and the Rainbow Curse on Wii U, playing with others is social gaming at its best. Competitive games have their place, but it’s also great fun just to group together with family or friends and take on the world.

Switch has a number of couch co-op experiences, but finding classic 2-4 player action — especially 4 players — is surprisingly elusive. Many of the available titles either 1) tack co-op on as an extra (i.e. Super Mario Odyssey), 2) introduce competitive elements like friendly fire (i.e. Nine Parchments), or 3) are turn-based rather than action (i.e. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle).

That’s what makes Full Metal Furies an interesting title. It’s billed as 1-4 player action RPG with a fully cooperative experience: no friendly fire, shared rewards, and the ability to blow up enemies as a team. Does it deliver?

Oh, yes. It certainly does.

Full Metal Furies is a multiplatform title, available on PC (Steam), Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. At the time of this review the game retails for $19.99 across all platforms. It’s something of a 2.5D side-scroller in the vein of classic brawlers like Double Dragon, River City Ransom, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game. It’s also an action role playing game, with the ability to purchase upgrade skills and equipment at a base camp as well as the ability to earn mastery bonuses through equipment use.

The game is set in an alternate universe that fuses modern technology and Greek mythology, and the playable characters are inspired by Greek goddesses of vengeance. Players have four female heroes to choose from — a tank, a fighter, an engineer, and a sniper — and each has her own unique and complementary skillset. The tank, for example, carries a shield and engages in melee combat, while the sniper hits things with a high power rifle from a distance. The character classes are nicely balanced, and players can succeed with all of them.

The overworld in Full Metal Furies plays out on board similar to Super Mario World, where each new level is marked by an icon. Players can replay old levels at any time, so if a player needs extra cash or wants to go back and look for a secret location, it’s easy to do. Grinding isn’t too onerous in Furies, which is nice.

Also nice is the way the developer set up the settings in the game. Think the game is too hard? There’s a casual mode. Think the plot is too text-heavy? There’s a setting to turn most of it off. Don’t like the default button mapping? You can change it. Those small touches help make this experience one of the more accessible out there.

On the other hand, if you like hard, the game can certainly give you that, too. Full Metal Furies is a game that rewards players for skill, and some of the optional sidequests, especially, can really test that skill. But it’s never controller-throwing hard, and part of the reason for that is the way it handles failure. If all the characters fall, players can choose to restart from the last checkpoint. Just as importantly, players keep all the cash they’ve accumulated so far, even the cash gained just before dying. Players who are repeatedly hitting a wall against a specific level can retreat to base, spend their cash to upgrade stats and abilities, and return to try again. In Full Metal Furies, no gameplay time feels wasted.

The plot is, frankly, brilliant. It’s simultaneously deep and hilarious, with exceptional heroes and villains alike. Full Metal Furies is the rare title that manages to give personality and life to just about every significant character, from the four furies themselves to the major and minor bosses the furies cross paths with. Not every one-liner is a home run, but there’s a high batting average here. While deep, it’s generally family-friendly, too (the game has an E10+ rating), so you can play this with your kids.

The combat is just as deep. Every character has four core attacks: a main attack that can be used any time, and three special abilities that each have their own cooldown timer. Mastering and mixing those abilities is crucial to succeeding in the game, and they make for some deep strategy. Better still, upgrades can tweak or even change some of those abilities, which deepen the opportunities for doing things differently.

Working together isn’t just optional: it’s essential. In a solo campaign, players choose two of the four furies, with the ability to switch between the two at will. In co-op, players choose different characters and then combine their abilities together. The game hammers the co-op point home by, at times, giving enemies color-coded barriers that can only be brought down by one of the furies in the game. (There is, helpfully, a color-blind mode to make the game accessible for color-blind players.) While these barriers are sometimes annoying, they do keep teams from just being about one person plowing through everything.

Co-op, by the way, is well-tuned. Local co-op is set up with different player profiles, with drop-in / drop-out at base camp. The game plays perfectly well with a half Joy-Con, so if you have two full Joy-Cons you can bring a full team of four into battle. The game also has modes for wireless and online gameplay, although at the time of this post the online community is pretty bare.

The production values are inspired by the SNES era, with 16-bit style graphics and MIDI music that is both parts rock and epic. While there is no voicework, art design and dialogue text help make up for that by creating a vibrant, diverse world.

Overall, it’s hard not to like what Full Metal Furies does. It’s a perfect storm of great ARPG gameplay, brilliant storywriting, and a lot of heart. At $19.99, it’s well worth the 15-20 hours of fun. If you’re looking for a true 1-4 player couch co-op brawler, this is a great one.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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