There have been a fair few side scrolling beat ‘em ups in 2018 and it would seem that the genre has had somewhat of a rejuvenation with the amount that have already been released along with future titles coming soon. The latest to arrive is Claws of Furry, a 2D side scrolling fighting game that tries not to take itself too seriously. The game itself has a pretty familiar formula but mixes things up with its game modes. There are 3 different modes on offer here including Rogue mode consisting of just one life where dying resets to the beginning. There is also Arena mode which plays almost like a horde mode where players have to fight waves of enemies and then there is Pussycat mode where dying won’t reset players to the beginning. This can be played as a single player experience but it’s capable of local co-op with up to 4 players.
There isn’t much of an original story involved with Claws of Furry and it’s something that we’ve all seen done a thousand times before, so nothing new and no surprises, just a typical revenge/rescue mission from start to finish. Having said that though there is a generic story accompanying the main character, a badass ninja cat that sets out on a journey of fighting, jumping and….meowing? It’s safe to say that anyone who likes a challenge when playing these types of game won’t be disappointed with challenge on offer here. The difficulty level of Claws of Furry can be gruelling at times, especially when playing in Rogue Mode, but the Pussycat Mode isn’t short of near rage moments that may make you want to throw your pad against the wall after a 7th try at beating an end of level boss. I’m not saying that it’s overly difficult to the point that it’s unenjoyable, but it certainly packs a punch and will certainly keep players on their toes.
Claws of Furry plays as you might expect and involves the usual wave of enemies to fight until they’re all beaten and you eventually get to the boss fights at the end of each section. After every level has been completed, Claws of Furry gives players a score and a grading of level completion, so for anyone who decides to jump in to this game again can try and beat their original list of stats for each level. Apart from a couple of different modes and the bettering of level completion scores though, there really isn’t much else on offer and it kind of lacks much of an incentive to jump back in as it’s a little thin on content overall. I found Rogue Mode to be infuriating and fairly unenjoyable with the Arena Mode offering little more than a repetitive loop of hitting the punch button. Claws of Furry is definitely a game that needs to have at least 2 players playing together to get through it and It’s clearly a little more fun when playing with other players. It almost feels like this is catering for the couch co-op enthusiasts more so than it does for someone wanting to play on their own.
Controls consist of a light and heavy attack along with jumping, dodging and a special ability that can be utilised by the power metre being filled as you beat enemies. The gameplay experience on offer isn’t anything original at all and Claws of Furry does nothing new to mix things up a little. You could say that the developers have played it safe, which Is a little disappointing. Controls are pretty responsive though with a simple control scheme that won’t need any kind of learning curve as it all becomes pretty obvious before the small tutorial begins at the very start. While controls are responsive I found a little issue with my character facing in the direction I had chosen, particularly when fighting fast paced hordes of enemies. This happened fairly often and became quite frustrating, especially when I was low on health and close to beating the enemy and I ended up facing the wrong way and dying.
Visually Claws of Furry adopts a cartoon style art design and looks fairly decent throughout. Colours pop out of the screen and there is a fair amount of detail in characters and level design. Character models are quirky and offered the odd giggle every now and again but the lack of variation was evident quite early on with only the boss fight characters having any kind variation, but even that left a lot to be desired. There is some strange kind of screen tearing appearing throughout the game and seemed to happen as the level scrolled along. For a game that looks and feels basic, it’s surprising that it suffers with such trivial shortfalls that shouldn’t really be present in s game of this style. Claws of Furry has been done a thousand times before and while it doesn’t take any risks it’s still offers some fun, but it quickly becomes repetitive and the difficulty, especially later on in the game can kind of spoil things. For players that like a difficulty level that will offer a meaty challenge, then this may be for you, but for anyone else looking for a fun side scrolling beat ‘em up then you’ll find better games out there.