This Rogue Legacy follow-up excels in local multiplayer but shrivels when you’re alone.
Full Metal Furies is, for the most part, an excellent follow-up to developer Cellar Door Games’ previous title, the well-received Rogue Legacy. It attempts a similar idea as the roguelite platformer, taking the side-scrolling beat-’em-up and layering it with a lot more depth, mostly stemming from upgrades purchased in game. In the right multiplayer setting, Full Metal Furies is an impressive, enduring experience, but in single-player, some of the brilliance gets muddled despite an earnest attempt at making a solo playthrough fun.
Four classes make up the characters of the Full Metal Furies, split between Tank, Fighter, Engineer, and Sniper. In a given file, the upgrades and improvements for each are saved. Ideally, you’ll play in four player with one player manning each class. If you play alone, you select two classes and can switch between them at the press of a button. Each class has four distinct attacks, most with a cooldown between uses. The abilities vary from basic melee or ranged hits to powerful special abilities that can do damage across a wide area. The classes all feel different, fitting into their archetypes well.
Upgrades make them even more interesting, primarily with augments to their abilities, such as the Tank’s shield reflecting bullets at enemies. New weapons can be found as well that each have their own mastery level, adding more gold and stat bonuses to your party. Unlike the punitive incremental upgrades of Rogue Legacy, this game makes you feel like you’re always progressing your characters, even in failure.
The levels are spread out on a world map that spans multiple locations. The story progresses over several acts with a healthy amount of stages, secrets, and bonuses. Levels aren’t overly long and generally keep a quick pace as you fight foes and dodge obstacles. The spaces in levels are often cramped, which can make four-player scenarios very tight. Ranged characters, especially with only one or two players, are at a severe disadvantage since most of the time, the combat spaces are too small to actually be in a safe ranged spot to fire. More power to those who can solo a team of Sniper and Engineer. I totally can’t do it without immense frustration.
That gets to the issues with solo play. This is a game meant for co-op, so the scenarios are seemingly built for having two characters at a minimum roaming the screen at once. In single-player, only one character is ever on screen. Switching between the two is quick and can lead to some neat combos, but too often I’d just get swarmed by enemies without much recourse. The single-player is ultimately just okay.
Thankfully, the multiplayer is strong. Coordinating with a friend on the couch is really fun in Full Metal Furies, even when the combat gets furious. Built into the Switch version is also the ability for online and wireless LAN play. I was unable to try wireless LAN, but online play worked totally fine when I could find people to play with. I’d most recommend finding people to romp through this with in one location, but online is a satisfactory replacement for that experience.
For all the potential overcrowded multiplayer screens or frustrating single-player moments, Full Metal Furies bursts through with a winning style and presentation. The artwork is gorgeous with adorable animations. Your party’s base camp, where you wander around to make upgrades and change your party composition, is filled with cute touches, like a cat you can pet and musical instruments that your heroes can play. Those elements combined with the lightweight action-RPG combat made me want to strive past the problems I had to experience more of this colorful world.
Full Metal Furies works best as a local multiplayer game, but the developer makes a solid attempt at serving more common play styles by offering up a suitable online experience and a competent single-player alternative. This game is a much harder sell if you’re only ever going to play it by yourself, but it’s easy one if you have a few friends that want to mess around in a bright and lovely world with cute characters and a solid brawler with some light RPG upgrades.