When I first saw the name and some artwork from Green Lava Studios’ Fenix Rage, I expected some kind of fast-paced action game. The title character looks like someone who could do some damage, and the aesthetic definitely said “brawler” to me. So when I fired it up to find a frantic, twitch-reaction puzzle platformer it threw me off considerably. After some adjustment time, though, what I found wasn’t entirely disagreeable. I’m certainly not one to balk at a game for not being what I expected. So, how does it all shake out?
Fenix Rage isn’t a game that messes around with anything. From the get-go, you’re dropped immediately into the action with no direction or tutorial nonsense muddling up the opening scene. This fits the theme of the game, as well as the relatively simple design. Our hero, Fenix, has a pretty basic set of available moves after all. He can run, jump, and dash, all without any real limitations. At first, the ability to repeatedly jump without touching ground seems like a curiously overpowered advantage, but as the brutal challenge of the levels you’re tossed into grows it quickly becomes apparent that anything less would be cruel.
What makes Fenix Rage addictive, though, isn’t the pace of the gameplay or even the crisp, well-rounded style. If it were just these pieces I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the game at all; as it stands, I wasn’t terribly impressed, but admit that I had fun. No, what makes this game click is the precise responsiveness of the controls and the snappy respawn time. Death – which happens a lot – is over in an instant, and our hero is returned immediately to starting position. There’s no pause, no drawn-out animation, no waiting to begin anew. That keeps the action flowing even as you struggle, and makes the whole experience quick and seamless.
All told, Fenix Rage is a snappy, well-designed but infuriatingly difficult platformer. Fans of Super Meat Boy and the like would do well to check it out, either now via Steam for $14.99, or next year when the title drops for Playstation 4 and Xbox One. The flow of it is great, and it’s undeniably addictive in that special way that many of these types of games try to capitalize on to varying degrees of success. I’m not sure it’s entirely my kind of game – my twitch reflexes aren’t what they once were – but it’s fun, fresh, and looks very nice as it dooms you to repeat your rapid-fire mistakes.