Fenix Rage (PC) Preview – Brutally Hard (Sorry, Not Sorry)

I’ve played some pretty tough games in my time as a contributor with Canadian Online Gamers, numerous hardcore games that have been extremely difficult to complete. With that being said, Fenix Rage, the upcoming 2D platformer from Costa Rican developer Green Lava Studios, was the most challenging game I’ve played yet. A very aptly named title I must say, as it caused numerous fits of rage in my household! I don’t think I’ve ever sworn so much playing a game!

It’s evident within minutes that some game most likely inspired the developers. Level design is quite similar to notoriously difficult platformers like Super Meat Boy, the character bears a somewhat striking resemblance to Sonic the Hedgehog, and the game mechanics are quite similar to a certain game with a certain bird that flaps a lot.

With hundreds of levels to play through, Fenix Rage is filled with extremely challenging platforming action. The main objective in each level is to reach a blue portal at the end, in a little time as possible. It’s deceivingly easy at first, but within a few levels you encounter strange green “blobby” things to traverse around that are either stationary, bouncing in place or following a set path within the level, making determining patterns and precision jumping very important. You’ll eventually come across other obstacles such as lasers or portals to phase through (which need to be timed perfectly to avoid enemies), as well as walls of brick or ice, all of which require careful planning to move around while trying to quickly complete the level.

There are cookies strategically placed within each level. They are optional, but collecting them all will rewards players with cookie recipes, a real reward that I think is pretty awesome. I’m determined to bake those cookies, it adds an extra incentive to go out of the way to collect them all.

There are no tutorials in Fenix Rage, you are thrown into the game to fend for yourself. Don’t worry though as the controls are not hard to master. Fenix really only has two moves, his flappy jump and a dash that sends him rapidly smashing through brick walls in his way. As you progress certain walls allow Fenix to ignite and smash through ice, and sometimes he will be captured in ice, which lets him pass through lasers unscathed. Thankfully, the controls feel tight and responsive, allowing for perfectly timed jumps and precision moves, essential for a game that is so brutally challenging.

Death is FREQUENT (Editors Note: CAPS are for serious emphasis) and you’ll find yourself dying, sometimes hundreds of times before finally getting through a level. With each death you are whipped back to the beginning within seconds, truly making it difficult to quit. With leaderboards and the best time to beat posted at the end of each level, replaying a level is very enticing, and often found myself angrily telling myself, “Just one more try, just one more!”

While nothing spectacular to look at, the level design was extremely well done, and the graphics captured an old school feel, with some nice 16-bit inspired visuals.  As for the sound, it is fairly basic but it does include a fantastic retro soundtrack that really added a nice touch.

You’ll scream, you’ll swear, and you might even throw a controller (I may or may not have done this), but you’ll have a great time trying to beat high scores and collecting cookies. If hardcore platformers are your thing, and I do mean hardcore, then Fenix Rage is one you need to watch for. Looking forward to raging even more when the finished game is released on September 24th.