We get a glimpse of a huge starship flying in orbit around an Earth like planet. And we get to see the inside of the vessel, waiting is a heavy armed army of pandas waiting for orders and deployment. After which, a small fleet of transporters fly into atmosphere from the main ship down to planet’s surface and the game begins.
What is apparent from the very beginning for me is that inspiration is taken from games like the Binding of Isaac.
As its main gameplay mechanics are very similar to this game with its rogue-like elements and twin stick shooter controls.
One thing I think should just mention is that Feral Fury is quite bloody! Actually, it is very bloody! While not as grotesque as Binding of Isaac, it still has a lot of blood splatter that shoots out of fallen animals that you’ve just slaughtered with a shotgun, so this may not be the most family friendly title on switch.
This isn’t the Care Bears picnic! These bears have come to kick arse and chew bubble gum…. I mean bamboo!
When you begin, you can select 3 different difficulty settings: easy, normal, and finally, hard – which needs to be unlocked by completing normal difficult first.
You then get to pick one of the four troop types, each having their own distinctive look and weapons. However, at the beginning, only one is available to play as, so you’ll need to unlock the rest of the team through multiple play-throughs as a certain level is required before that character becomes unlocked.
Each character isn’t your typical human being fighting for freedom. The characters are pandas… you know them – loveable, soft, and peaceful creatures in the animal kingdom. Well, these pandas didn’t get the memo as they’re wielding a range of high tech weaponry, armour, and unique power ups that could potentially blow a guy’s face off!
Your starter panda looks like a grunt troop type. But thankfully, out of all the available characters, he’s got the most going for him as he can use his main infinite pistol and he can also pick up a secondary weapon, armour, other perks or skills, as well as pick up and use health kits. Some of the other characters can only use a main weapon and don’t have the ability to pick up health kits, but they do have other unique weapons that may prove more effective in battle.
After your selected your warrior, you are thrown straight into battle with your main objective to move through all the areas to reach the exit and progress to the next one and many boss battles.
However, nothing is ever that easy and you will soon come to understand that if you die you’ll lose everything and must continue from the very beginning as this has rogue-like mechanics that is thrown into the mix of this twin stick shooter.
While not as punishing as some of its kind, you will lose all items, however once found they will appear in you compendium for later viewing. Thankfully, there are some positives for restarting again as all the orbs you have collected from the last game will be saved and you can spend them in the permanent upgrade store at the very beginning of the game. This will hopeful help you get further through your next try.
Fight or flight!
When you get dropped off by transporters, you have two options.
You can check out the control billboard for how to play. It’s really easy: left stick lets you move around and the right stick lets you shoot your weapon in 360 degrees. You can roll to avoid bullets by pressing B button or R bumper. You can reload weapons with Y button, use powers with A button. Also, you can switch between weapons with the X button, as well as switch aim assist on and off with ZL trigger. And finally you can set dynamite with L bumper and checkout your compendium with the – button.
Controls feel really smooth and make shooting targets easy and intuitive.
Next option is the permanent upgrades menu. These are guarded by an axe wielding panda. By pressing X button, you are brought to a menu with 24 options to buy. However, when you first start out, you won’t be able to buy anything until you’ve collected enough orbs from fallen enemies.
But like any good rogue like, these orbs will be saved after you are defeated and you can purchase something on your next run. Upgrades can be anything from increased movement speed, luck, or increase the likelihood of finding rare chests with better loot.
After which, you are free to roam. Like Binding of Isaac, you move through rooms with doors being either locked or requiring key/key card or finding secrets hidden behind walls. Instead of dropping bomb like in BOI, you can plant dynamite on walls to try and discover hidden areas off the beaten path.
There’s a map located at top right hand corner showing your location and other important information. You can find your health gauge in top left hand corner as well as coins, stones, and dynamite.
And in-between both of them is your current selected weapon.
Path to victory!
As soon as you pass through a doorway, you will appear in a square room with ether enemies or hazards such as explosive orbs, spike traps, or turrets. Each room is a little challenge in its self, while some will be empty and you will be able to walk straight through them, others may contain shops or rooms full of enemies.
In an instant, you may be locked into a room with bunch of enemies. You’ll have to defeat them all before you are able to move on.
However, not all rooms are harmful like the injection room which will boost your stats but cost you one 1 HP – health point. You may find a room full crates that may prove useful for finding health kits or gold coins.
You can also encounter other animals that may be willing to trade armour or weapons for something you’re holding. If you find a blue key card, you may want go to the shop which is behind closed doors.
Only way to access certain shops is to have a blue key card. However, there may be rare crates that also require a key card and if you’ve already used it then you’re out of luck.
Best save blue key cards as finding rare crates can supply you with better equipment than those from the shops. But the shops do offer you a place to spend your coins on so it’s an option if want to do that instead.
You may stumble onto instant crate which rewards you as soon as enter the room, each item, weapon, and armour is all random, so won’t know what you’re going to get. Whatever it is will give you brief description of what it can do on top of the screen and will be unlocked in your compendium for later viewing.
It’s all about the loot!
There’s 168 different items, weapons, powers, scrolls, bots, and helmets just mention a few to unlock as you progress. If die, you’ll lose all of your current weaponry, however they remain unlocked in your compendium which you can view at any time to find out what each of them does. Also, these items are then unlocked so you’re more likely to see them again in your future runs.
Big, bad, and ugly!
You’re going to be fighting a lot of different types of enemies as you progress. Some run straight for you while others will teleport around the area while firing projectiles so approaching every new encounter differently is advised. Also, you may enter a room and end up fighting a mini boss.
There are also end level bosses to fight. Again, these are randomised so you’re never quite sure who or what you are going fight. I’ve fought giant spiders, hi-tech mechs, and even warlocks, each having their own attack patterns and projectiles which make situations tricky. But if you got the right set of armour and weapons, you’ll plough through them. However, the end level boss is a tough cookie and he won’t go down easily.
There are hidden areas hiding behind locked doors or even walls – that’s where your dynamite comes in handy. You won’t have an unlimited supply however, but if you’re lucky, you may find more in crates.
I stumbled on to a warp gate that lets me move a few levels ahead so I could start further in but it comes at cost. Also, I found a creepy library with a huge ghost in it but sadly my busting skills weren’t up to snuff and I joined the ghosts in the afterlife soon after, LOL.
You can buy permanent upgrades that will allow you to see cracks in the walls if you’re struggling in finding secrets, there’s even a helper bot that can alert you to secrets as well.
Another interesting little mechanics are the wells that are located in secret or in certain areas of the map. If you drop a few coins down, you may unlock a rare item or power but with all risks as it comes with a certain percentage of bad luck and these will negatively affect you while you’re on that current floor, so be careful.
Take the wheel!
One cool level happens every now and again after a boss battle. You gain 3 new items and then you sometimes have a choice to leave by the right exit or drive out that current level and on to next.
This seems to happen randomly, sometimes you can go to a jeep and find it being repaired or you might find main doors shut.
However, if you get lucky you can get to drive your jeep on the highway, shooting at enemies with your Gatling gun. Just be careful as it has a long cool down period if it overheats which happens pretty quickly.
It’s not a hugely long level but you get a couple of phases before it’s over and it’s a nice little distraction which mixes things up a bit.
Last thing that’s the most important is progressing and you can do that by getting a red key card but these can sometimes be hidden away from one the of many enemies. So explore each room, keep an eye out on hidden or rooms you haven’t explored yet – this should be on your to do list.
Normally, the red key card is in area that’s full enemies. If you’re successful, you can use this card on unlocking the exit which is typically a door with red beams over it.
Once through, you’ll be in the portal room, here you may find crates with health kits or ammo refills, or even friendly characters.
Health kits are hard to come by though and most crates are empty, sadly. However, increase your luck and maybe you’ll find something nice inside one.
As an added bonus, there are 29 achievements or as the game calls it challenges to unlock. These range from anything, from completing a stage to completing the game with each of the individual characters. It’s a nice inclusion as most people enjoy trying to unlock them. And as this game has that rogue-like element, I could imagine multiple playthroughs will be needed to unlock them all.
One thing I need bring up is I am not a huge fan of rouge-likes at all. But this is so darn addictive, I’ve not been able put it down.
It can be played in short bursts or longer if you can pull yourself away from it! I Love shooters so I think that’s what has kept me hooked and with a plethora of items, weapons, and etc. to unlock, I can see myself playing this for a long while.
My only negative is no 2 player mode which I think would have been a really cool feature to have.
Music is your typical up beat tunes but fits overall style well. Really like the meaty noises from weapons like shotgun or explosions. All sound effects are pretty good, especially for weapons, powers, boss encounters, etc… All sound great.
Visuals & Performance
From a bird’s view point, the game actually looks pretty good. While the stage themes are your typical factory and facilities, it’s the little details on the characters that look great, as do weapons and powers.
Also, I like the little details in actual areas like fire flies. Particle effects look quite nice. The flash light has a rather nice cone of light effect in darker areas. It really makes the game look great in handheld and TV mode.
Performance has been flawless. No issues. Everything ran great!
Game also supports screen capture and video capture which is always a welcome edition.
Also, the game supports cloud saves.
Game is priced at £8.99 and I personal think it is worth every penny, especially if you’re a lover of rogue-likes or twin stick shooters. It’s hard but it is beatable with 29 challenges/achievements to unlock. There are also 160+ items, powers, weapons, bots, and etc. to unlock over time which will be added to your compendium. There are 4 different characters each with unique play style.
A total of 15 procedurally-generated stages split into 5 chapters and permanent upgrades.
Great twin stick shooter/rogue-like
160+ items, loot to unlock
4 unique characters
Pandas make everythng better