Game Review #415: Furwind (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Allan Jenks
Developer: Boomfire Games
Category: Action, Adventure, Platformer, Puzzle
Release Date: 6.27.2019
Buy Furwind from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
No Pain, No Gain
So, in the past couple of years, I have developed this bad habit of seeking out platformer games that are extremely difficult—rage-inducing, one might say—then getting frustrated with them, walking away from them for a week or two, then coming back and beating the boss or level I couldn’t beat, then getting stuck on the very next level and repeating the whole vicious cycle again. I’m not sure why I do this to myself, though I must say, after years of never playing any platformers that required any advanced motor skill coordination, this masochistic practice of mine has certainly given me back some of that fine-tuned coordination I thought went the way of my youth, so that’s a plus! This brings me to today’s review game: Furwind.
No, Not That Fox!
Furwind is an action platformer where you play as a young fox, Furwind, who is trying to save his ancestral forest home from an ancient evil force, Darhûn, who is trying to destroy it. No, this is not Fox ‘N Forests. I know, it sounds like it—and the graphics even sort of resemble it—but this game is its own thing. In Furwind, your character starts out with a basic tail-swing attack, and you gain additional skills, such as the ability to fly in short, straight-line bursts while jumping, as you clear more levels.
You can also upgrade your skills in the shop by cashing in some of the many gems you collect throughout the stages. Your flight, for instance, can be upgraded so that you have more bursts available to you per turn, and you can purchase additional hearts to increase your overall health bar, among other upgrades.
There are three different stages in Furwind, each with several different levels and mini-challenges, as well as a stage boss once those have all been cleared. Hidden within each of the levels are scrolls that unlock more levels, and while some are placed fairly obviously, others are a bit out of the way from the standard path. I ended up having to re-run through every level in the first world until I was able to locate the scroll I missed that was needed to unlock the first boss level in the first stage—and, of course it was in the dark stage!
Is The Dark Stage Worse Than an Underwater Stage???
Each level has its own unique type of challenge, and the game incorporates your new skills into the levels as you go, which keeps it interesting. I mentioned the dark stage earlier, and that one was a love-to-hate favorite of mine. The stage is completely dark, except for the globe of light surrounding your character, which is from the fireflies hovering around you. These fireflies only stick around for a limited amount of time, and once the last one flies away, leaving you in complete darkness, the red eyes descend upon you and you die. You can stop and stand in front of a glowing crystal, which keeps the fireflies sticking around, but unless you stand near a firefly nest, you have no way of re-upping your little buddies.
While the other levels have their challenges—like outrunning a wall of demonic hands in an auto-scrolling, no ground, floating platform stage, or jumping up floating platforms while avoiding falling into the lava pit below in the vertical scrolling stage—the dark levels were the most stressful for me.
Audio & Video
Graphically, I enjoyed Furwind, as it is another retro-style 16-bit entry into the ever-growing “Modern Retro” indie market, which, when done right, can be a beautiful thing. I think the sprite work is done well, and the visuals are bright, colorful, and easy on the eyes. The soundtrack is nothing to write home about, but it gets the job done. The weirdest part of the game, to me at least, was the “voiceover” work, which was really just a series of guttural, mono-syllabic grunts with a dialogue box telling you what is being said. Perhaps this is what the fox really says? Sorry… I’ll see myself out…
Overall, I really enjoyed my time with Furwind, and I still haven’t come close to beating this game, so I am sure I will continue to enjoy it for some time to come. Even the stages I had to repeat while I was trying to find the missing scroll were fun the second time around, so there is definitely a lot of replay value here—especially once you’ve gotten the hang of the mechanics and start to own the mini-bosses from the earlier stages that gave you so much trouble at first! If you are a fan of a decently-difficult platformer with some light RPG and Metroidvania elements, and you enjoy a well-crafted sprite, then I would recommend that you pick up this game. You will definitely get a good value for your money, and this is a game you can pick up and just play for 5 minutes, or get lost in it for a couple of hours.
Buy Furwind from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
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*Review code provided by JanduSoft