Feral Fury is Skandivania Games take on the classic twin-stick shooter genre while adding rogue-lite elements into the equation. The team of two from Norway have created a gritty, bleak and futuristic vision of the universe. Mankind is long gone after destroying itself in a futile war over oil and out of the ashes two dominant forces evolve from the species that remain. The Panda Empire, surviving near extinction themselves now overpopulate their homes turning once luscious lands into oversaturated bamboo farms. While the Hellhog Horde are a fierce race of warriors, once bred for food and are determined not to let it happen again. Feral Fury follows the plight of starship Shaanxi IV and its crew, the 3D Battalion Panda marines, preparing for an invasion as they explore the universe for a new place to call home.
On booting up the game you are presented with the quote ‘May the soil we conquer nurture the holy seeds of the great bamboo’ – Admiral Pawgarr of The Panda Empire this is accompanied by a short cutscene filling in the rest of the events.
You have a choice of four playable marines, only one is available from the off and the rest are unlockable by reaching later stages. The game is played from a top-down perspective reminiscent of the Smash TV and Alien Breed era of gaming. I’ll even throw in Hotline Miami as a modern comparison but here the character models and backgrounds have been uplifted into a crisp HD visual. Feral Fury is a good looking game with characters that are strangely cute yet at the same time fierce. Action is fast-paced and the controls are perfectly balanced allowing for no mercy to be shown. The story plays over five chapters which are split into three stage segments followed by a boss fight after each. The objective for each of the main stages is simple, kill the enemies, collect as many items as possible and find the red keycard to reach the end of level teleporter. Feral Fury adopts procedurally generated levels keeping things fresh each time you play, two separate playthroughs are never quite the same. Having said that the fun comes in replaying a level once you have powered up your character getting to test out all of the new weaponry. The game boasts over 150 collectable items and powerups, some can be purchased using the in-game currency at any of the merchants you find. I particularly found the support drones useful and who doesn’t like gunning down everything in sight with a portable chain gun Arnie style. Collecting door keys allow for previously hidden areas to be accessed which are often rich with loot crates and orbs that provide permanent upgrades.
Bonus segments comprise of driving missions but offer little difference in the overall experience. The screen constantly moves sideways so it is just a case of manoeuvring the vehicle to dodge incoming projectiles and taking out the enemies. What does help set this title apart from the rest, especially with the rapidly expanding eShop, is the inclusion of a roll mechanic. It’s a neat touch and certainly comes in handy with some of the more tricky situations you inevitably find yourself in. The game is tough yet ultimately adding to the enjoyment and sense of achievement when a stage is beat, you can lower the difficulty though if it all becomes too much.
Besides the main campaign, you have an endless daily run mode which posts your score to an online leaderboard and a compendium to help track all of the unlocks. The Switch version even features its own set of self-contained achievements, or trophies if you are PlayStation based, and is another reason to keep you coming back for more. It’s a shame that Nintendo still hasn’t embraced their own universal system as showing off your standing to the world is half the fun.
Skandivania Games have created a fun, enjoyable action shooter that offers a ton of replayability. Visuals and sound are spot on with tight controls essential for this fast-paced take on the genre. It’s different enough to stand out from the crowd with very minor issues. The game did crash a couple of times while testing it but this has since been resolved. I had a blast playing Feral Fury and so will you!
Beard Score: 8/10
Genre: Action, Adventure, Arcade
Publisher: Skandivania Games ANS
Format: Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS