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Swords, guns and a bunny-headed cornerman designed by Afro Samurai's creator

Furi is all boss fight, no fluff, but one bunny-headed, advice-giving cornerman.

Emeric Thoa says he designed the game around the feeling of boxing: the tension of walking into your next fight, your cornerman giving you advice as you prepare to face off against your equal, or your better.

"It's a boss fight like a duel rather than a boss fight that you're used to," said Thao, CEO and creative director of developer The Game Bakers.

Furi's characters are all designed by Takashi Okazaki, the creator of Afro Samurai, and the bouts themselves feel like a mash-up of a bullet-hell shoot-'em-up and stripped down fighting game. All of it unfolds bathed in the intensity of electro music that helps breath more life into the pulsating neon action of the gameplay.

But first there's the set up.

The game opens with your character, arms locked into some massive machine, being tortured by a cowled man wearing four Japanese Noh masks, which rotate to reflect the mood of his taunts.

After the torture session, he leaves, and another man appears, this one wearing a giant bunnyhead and pink disco pants. He frees you and walks you toward your first bout, on the promise that you'll take him with you when you finally leave this place.

The first duel is with your tormentor. Combat takes place drifting between third-person perspective and a sort of isometric view, with the camera moving around a lot to make sure you can see what's going on and to zoom in at moments to show your flashy attacks.


You can slash with your sword, shoot a gun by aiming with a thumbstick or holding a trigger to charge a blast, dodge and parry.

Your opponent's attacks vary between close-up hand-to-hand combat, which forces you to time your parries and then riposte with a series of slashes, and the gunplay, which essentially turns the game temporarily into a shoot-'em-up. During these moments, you're dodging screen-filling blasts, zipping around slashes that are unblockable and shooting away some of your attacker's bullets with your own. The enemy's green bullets can be shot and turned into health-recovering capsules.

The entire match plays out over a 15- to 20-minute duel, with both of you trying to whittle down the other's health bar and deplete their lives. Every time you take one of your opponents lives, you gain one back. This, combined with the ability to shoot some bullets down to help restore your health bar, makes it feel like no matter how close you are to losing, there's always a chance for you to make a comeback.

Gameplay is as tactical as it is intense, with the first duel's combat flowing around the music of Carpenter Brut, a popular synthwave musician whose work was also featured in Hotline Miami.

"Music is a big part of the game," Thoa said. "Each level has music made by a famous electro musician.

"It helps support this adrenaline rush that comes from a boss fight."

The game's variety and depth is meant to come from the different bosses in the games, each of which have different fighting styles.

Thoa says he sees the game as one that asks the player to master a basic set of tools.

"It's like we give you a guitar and you have six strings," he said. "You need to practice and learn to play."

Between each boss fight there is only the long walk to the next battle.

"We call it the path," Thoa said. "You walk and the music ramps up as you walk toward the arena and a character tells you about the boss who is waiting for you, the backstory and tips.

"The battles themselves are very intense, very hectic and between them, you need a breather."

Thoa says the walk is meant to capture the feeling a boxer has as he enters the ring.

The main game will take six to 10 hours to complete and then players can try their hand at a harder difficulty mode which redesigns all of the patterns of the boss battles. There's also a speedrun mode, Thoa said.

"We wanted to do one thing, but do it great," Thoa said. "We can't be a AAA game, but we can make a AAA boss fight and do a triple indie game."

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