Fenix Rage is by far the best game I have played at PAX East. Costa Rica-based Green Lava Studios front-man, Eduardo Ramirez has an impeccable knack for level design as well as mechanics, and it shows. Fenix Rage is polished beyond belief. The main character, Fenix, controlled like an extension of my thumbs.
I had a laugh to myself when Eduardo first told me, “it was all about getting the cookie.” Sounds a bit like a sexual innuendo, right? I couldn’t help but think Green Lava Studios was trying to make a coy joke about how women are objectified in games — and I’m probably over thinking it, but it is a hilarious subtitle, nonetheless. Yes, this game is all about getting a literal cookie, which is strategically, and sometimes frustratingly, placed in the level.
To be reductive, which I shouldn’t be because Fenix Rage is so much more, I could easily compare it to Super Meat Boy. The games share a very similar premise, and both have the immediacy necessary to alleviate the frustrations of difficult platformers, in addition to both having a really cute mascot who, quite frankly, isn’t meant to be so.
However, what Fenix Rage has is perfect balance of letting the player feel absolutely powerful, and providing them a worthwhile challenge. For instance, unlimited jumps and dashes; most games are designed around double jumps, or a dash that requires a cooldown, but Fenix Rage lets the player mash them at will. With that, Eduardo has masterfully designed levels that no matter the empowerment granted to the player, the tasks feel insurmountable, although, not in a unfair way. I knew when I was being punished for spamming the jump button too quickly, or when I dashed stupidly into a dangerous object.
Also, there are some fairly clever mechanics at play. Fenix uses wall rides in a completely new way; sliding down walls sets him on fire, and while on fire, he can dash through ice cubes that may be blocking his path. It’s one of those interesting mechanics that makes you stop and think, “why hasn’t anyone ever done this before.”
Fenix Rage is a game that will instantly get under your skin; addicting you to its crisp mechanics, alluring art style, and clever level design. Oh, and the soundtrack is pretty great as well. It is set to release on Steam later this year, and if it continues to be as good as what I played this weekend I can not wait to “get that cookie.”