Story: After mankind has been eradicated, the pandas have risen to power and now control the world. But peace is still elusive, as bamboo is scarce and valuable, which leads to wars of epic proportions. You are just one soldier, but you have to assault a stronghold and collect all the loot, while gunning down anyone tries to block you from your goals.  That’s essentially the story of Feral Fury, you’re a panda soldier who needs to survive a raid on a base stocked with both enemies and goodies, with the hope of making it through to the end. The narrative is silly and minimal, but adds some fun atmosphere and come on, post apocalyptic pandas? Sold.

Entertainment Value: Feral Fury is a twin stick shooter that will feel familiar to anyone who has experience in the genre, especially to those who have spent time with The Binding of Isaac. This game takes a lot of cues from Isaac, so it will feel like you’ve done this all before, but some fresh twists ensure it doesn’t feel like a rehash. You are dropped into a base and need to find a keycard to exit, but the location is random and could drop from the first room or the last one. Even if you grab the key in the first room, you need to reach the exit room and of course, it is always tempting to explore and try to track down more loot and upgrades. So the risk vs. reward exploration system is a big part of the game, as you could find some powerful items, but you could also run into strong enemies or fall victim to a pesky trap. Once you die, it is game over and you need to start fresh, but you can make things a little easier on yourself. As you kill enemies, you collect some orbs that serve as currency once your run ends. You can then cash in these orbs to unlock permanent upgrades, such as starting with an assault rifle, faster movement speed, higher critical hit chance, and better shop items. This ensures that even if you have a nightmare run, you will at least earn some orbs toward a future upgrade. I love this approach, it adds so much to the experience and removes of the frustration when runs blow up in your face.

The combat is a lot of fun and frustration free, thanks to precise and responsive controls that never let you down. Even in tight situations when a slight deviation would lead to death, the controls are like a rock. This is crucial, as the screen can be filled with enemies, projectiles, and other hazards, so the controls need to be crisp and the game more than delivers in that area. You start each run with just a pistol, but as you clear rooms, you can find chests or drops that grant other weapons. So shotguns, assault rifles, grenade launchers, even double fisted pistols can all be unlocked, plus numerous other damage dealers. But your ammo for these beauties is limited, so you need to keep an eye out for ammo boosts or upgrades that increase your total ammo allotment. These weapons can turn the tide quickly, so use them wisely and don’t waste them on weak enemies. You can also find various items that can help or hinder your runs, from boosts to critical hit and movement speed to summons that protect you and harm enemies to equipment that gives you some kind of an edge. I was able to cast a magic spell when I reloaded, had a buzzsaw that followed me and attacked enemies, and could leave a trail of damage behind as I moved, plus countless other bonuses, though some are curses that will lessen your effectiveness. The game is just a blast and has just the right balance of skill and luck, plus the permanent upgrade store that ensures players of all skill levels can feel that progression loop. So if you’re a fan of twin stick shooters and want to scratch that Isaac itch with a new game, Feral Fury is highly recommended.