Jun 12, 2010

Furry Legend

Furry Legend arrived in the Android Market a day or so ago and looked to be a solid platformer. Even the "it's not my kind of game" review in the market gave it 4/5 stars. Furry Legend is actually based off a WiiWare game and has made it to a few other mobile platforms such as Brew. So what is this game all about?

In Furry Legend you're a Furball and you roll around the 'planet' picking up gems for points. The game has a similarity to Sonic the Hedgehog, but a Furball's normal speed doesn't match that of Sonic's. The game comes with a cute little background story complete with cute little graphics showing some background to the limited story, but who needs a story if the game is good?

The graphics are very good with a bright and colorful world and the animation is smooth (unless background tasks come to life while playing which seems to plague so many Android games). The game also has a nice, unobtrusive audio soundtrack that does wear thin after too many repeat cycles. The audio can be shut off, though, so no complaints. The controls consist of several on screen buttons coupled with DPad support. There are five directional arrows (left, right, and then jumping left, up, and right) and what is effectively an action button which allows your Furball to move a lot faster and/or attack. The game plays slow enough that using the on screen buttons worked for me and I really didn't have a preference in this game (which is odd for me based on my negative feelings towards virtual DPads).

The game plays like an action puzzler... you'll generally have time to plan what you're going to do, but then you'll have to muster up the dexterity to get those buttons pressed correctly in order to run, speed up, jump... etc at the right time. I had a LOT of difficulty getting past the first level due to a long jump that you have to make close to the end of the level. If you visit the company's web site you'll find that one of the hints is that "The faster you roll the farther you jump" and when using FurPower (fancy talk for the A button) you do accelerate. It took me about 20 tries to finally "get it" after becoming frustrated with the "Help" option (which isn't really help at all, but rather a summary of both the controls and what gems / hearts do).

Flaws? Other than the familiar slow down I didn't really find any excect for... well, let me back up. With my old iPod Touch I rarely experienced any major issues. Occasionally some apps would be sloppy with memory (that's my theory) and require me to 'reboot', but it was only after extended usage. One benefit the iPod Touch has (until OS 4.0) is no multitasking and not having to cooperate with other running apps makes things a lot simpler. When I exit some Android apps... usually heavy duty games... I get the impression that they don't actually exit which makes sense given that it's a multitasking OS in some sense. I know I've had games continue playing music after quitting and part of that is the lack of enforced standards that the iPod Touch has in place. So let's make a long story short and note that one time I exited this game and my screen went white and I could no longer do squat with my phone until pulling and reinserting the battery. I'm sure I didn't choose exit, but rather hit the home button so you could argue that I didn't do things right and should have exited properly. I'd argue that this kind of behavior will aggravate the average user. I'm going to be learning more about this soon as I delve into mobile programming so maybe I'll have some more insight and be able to more intelligently write about this. In fact, forget that this paragraph is part of this review as it's more of a general commentary and has little to do with Furry Legend.

In summary, this is a well done game that improves the state of Android gaming in a Market where I'm starting to think that 19/20 game submissions are complete junk. I was happy to see a decent Lemmings style game a few weeks back and now we have another good platformer. I'm getting a bit stingier as the quality of Android releases goes up. This game is a solid 4/5 and perhaps a bit better than that. I've got a sample video from another platform below that should provide a basic idea of how the game plays (although the Android version uses a wide screen for more on screen action) and at $1.99 this game is definitely worth it.

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