The term ‘controlled chaos’ is a difficult term to accurately describe. It refers to a state in which some things are under control and some are not. To make an RPG where the prevailing theme is random chaotic events requires some level of balance and direction. As good as chaos and weirdness can be, it has to have a central aim that builds toward something. To build toward something truly great, requires vision, direction and talented execution. Thankfully we have all of those things and more in indie developer bitter’s RPG debut: Furquest.
The Role You Play
At the beginning of Furquest, you assume the role of an adorable puppy who finds themselves washed ashore on a beach. You are soon greeted by a cheerful yellow bunny named Valentine, who affectionately refers to you as Prince Aef. However, at the start of the game, you also have the option to select a name for your character. As your journey progresses, you will have the pleasure of being accompanied by two more loyal companions – a horse named jpeg and a wolf named Dire. Each character possesses unique abilities that assist you in advancing. Valentine enables you to navigate over ledges with ease, jpeg’s skateboard allows for quicker movement across the game world, and Dire’s intimidating howl wards off both darkness and adversaries. These abilities greatly contribute to your progression and success in the game.
In this world, every soul has two aspects: Main and Invert. The Main side represents the positive qualities, while the Invert side reflects the negative characteristics. For instance, a good Main will be accompanied by an evil Invert, and a happy Main will have an unhappy Invert counterpart. This duality exists within each individual’s soul. When someone captures the soul of their invert, they transform into a much more powerful form known as a hero soul. After thousands of years of relentless Soul Wars, Prince Aef has resorted to an extreme measure: he has declared friendship as a criminal act. This drastic move aims to effectively create a division between the mains and inverts and safeguard their souls. In an intriguing twist of fate, a peculiar puppy awakens in our world and prepares to embark on their own quest filled with surprises and adventures.
The gameplay of Furquest takes a unique approach, deviating from the traditional norms. Rather than engaging in typical combat scenarios when you engage with enemies, you are instead zapped into different arcade-inspired mini-games. Each mini-game offers a different experience and captures the essence of classic arcade-style games. Every enemy you encounter has their own unique mini-game associated with them. This adds a refreshing level of uniqueness to the gameplay experience as you never know what to expect. Moreover, the boss encounters elevate the complexity even further by incorporating elements from diverse genres like dating and cooking simulators, providing an interesting twist to the overall game mechanics.
One thing that was a bit disappointing about Furquest was that it was a bit too short. It’s rather linear to progress through, there’s not much in terms of extra side quests, and there’s little incentive to grind or explore outside of the main quest. You can’t collect any XP in the game so there’s little incentive to grind, and progressing through the game at a normal pace will get you the candy you need to buy whatever else you need. All in all, the game only takes about 6 hours to finish.
It’s somewhat comforting that amidst the chaotic nature of the game, the music manages to balance things out with its calm and somber tones. The soundtrack contributes to the overall ambiance of the various worlds, creating a somewhat pleasant atmosphere as you navigate through them. The integration of the music seamlessly blends into the background of various minigames during encounters with enemies. While the game’s mood may be inconsistent and unpredictable, the soundtrack manages to impeccably align with every element that the game presents, which was undoubtedly a formidable accomplishment.
If Furquest is going to gain any kind of lasting reputation, it will likely be for its chaotic nature. It constantly keeps you on your toes, demolishing any attempts at predicting what will happen next. The dialogue is absolutely absurd and utterly ridiculous, the constant introduction of new and different minigames keeps the gameplay fresh and all of the characters you encounter are varying degrees of bizarre. While such a description may seem a bit off-putting, the incessant madness that this game bombarded me with was not at all disappointing. In fact, it managed to keep me captivated and entertained throughout my entire playthrough.
The Talking Parts
In Furquest, the dialogue serves multiple purposes. It maintains a sense of normalcy to drive the storyline forward, while also adding elements of weirdness and chaos, as well as plenty of comic relief. This combination creates an emotional roller coaster ride that has you laughing one minute, scratching your head the next, and then doing both. Weird things are constantly happening and it’s difficult to predict how your companions will react. They might treat it as an ordinary event or anticipate your surprised reaction. Throughout the story, regardless of the situation, the main character usually just responds in a very nonchalant way using different types of ellipses and facial expressions.
Z…We’ve Reached the End. Anything Else?
There are a lot of cultural references in Furquest. While it clearly gets a lot of its inspiration from Undertale, there are countless other little references from just about every type of media imaginable. Most of the mini-games that make up the combat are references to classic arcade games like Galaga, Frogger, Pac Man and even Flappy Bird. Every other reference you recognize (if you recognize it) is very bizarre and weird, but it fits in well with the overall tone of the game.
Furquest is one of the most chaotic, bizarre and strange RPGs I have ever played. It is also one that I received an immeasurable amount of joy from playing. I highly recommend this game to anyone, and I eagerly look forward to whatever the developer bitter has in store for next time.
Final Score: 9/10
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