Twin-stick shooters can seem like an easy genre to get right at face value. When the primary mechanics revolve around moving and shooting, however, you have to bring more to the table. Titles such as Enter the Gungeon and Geometry Wars prove this. Feral Fury less so.
In Feral Fury, you are a panda marine up against a pig army called the Hellhogs. It has been thousands of years since humanity wiped itself out of existence, so now all that’s left are the evolved animals fighting for survival. The story isn’t a terribly important part of the experience, but it decently sets up the bleak tone.
The visual style also fits accordingly with its dark and grimy levels. Pair it with anthropomorphic animal soldiers and you get the type of game that fans of the comic Elephantmen would appreciate. The sound and music are a highlight here above everything else, though. Explosions leave that extra “bang” sound that could leave your ears ringing. The soundtrack is surprisingly memorable and does its job amping you up.
Gameplay is typical fare for a twin stick shooter. Left stick moves, right stick shoots, B dodge rolls, and Y reloads. You can also switch weapons with X, but this is hardly used due to the surprisingly few weapons found. This is where I have to unfairly bring up Enter the Gungeon again. That was a shooter that understood we want to… well, shoot guns, and lots of them! Feral Fury has your standard fare of submachine guns, grenade launchers, and flamethrowers, but little else. Judging by the game’s compendium, there are only 12 other weapons to pick up.
Odder still is that there are a healthy amount of power-ups, abilities, helmets, and more. It’s cool to pick up the ability to dodge roll into enemies or have a helper bot pick up items for you, but to not give the same kind of love towards what you’re primarily using is a bizarre design choice.
A typical run through the game’s four levels on normal difficulty will last roughly an hour. If you are experienced with twin-stick shooters, then I would highly recommend to just play on hard instead. This will unlock a fifth level that provides some challenge. Otherwise, this is a surprisingly easy game in what is a notoriously brutal genre. If you don’t play these types of games often, then Feral Fury will likely be your speed. If you’re like me, then you’ll be hungry for more. Being able to purchase permanent upgrades in-between runs will also scale the difficulty in your favor more.
Asides from the lack of weapon variety, there’s also not much in the ways of enemies to shoot at. For the most part, you will see the same pig soldiers, bugs, and robots from beginning to end. Their AI isn’t terribly intuitive either. All too often I’d find myself waiting on one side of a room as a pig soldier hucks grenades, blowing him and his buddies up. Boss fights aren’t much to talk about either as they go through the same couple of attacks over and over.
Despite my criticisms, Feral Fury is a largely inoffensive roguelite shooter. The biggest crime it commits is that it doesn’t go nearly as far as its contemporaries to stand out. It’s worth a few romps if you’re a fan of the twin-stick shooter genre, but there are more fulfilling options on Switch. I hope the developers at Scandivania Games look to add to this in a future update. At the very least I’d like to see an Image Comics run.
Release Date: Oct. 11, 2018
No. of Players: 1 player
Category: Action, Adventure, Arcade
Publisher: Scandivania Games
Developer: Scandivania Games
A review code was provided by the publisher.
David has been involved in games media for over 7 years running his own blog, YouTube channel, being a founding member of RETRO Magazine, and now as host/producer of ARGcast – Another Retro Gaming Podcast. He also dabbles in voiceover and is occasionally Jude Law’s stunt double.