REVIEW: Fumiko!

Mar
02

REVIEW: Fumiko!

This is a low-poly 3D platformer/adventure game. You play as Fumiko, a lady mannequin type figure with flames for hair. She is some kind of AI, booted up at the start of the game with no knowledge of herself or her whereabouts. She sets off on a journey of trials and discovery, exploring a computer-generated virtual environment and revealing quite an in-depth storyline. There is a lot of text appearing constantly from various characters, giving Fumiko directions and developing the plot.

Steam: Full Release

Developer: Fumiko Game Studio

Publisher: Fumiko Game Studio

Release date: 13th of February, 2017

Genre: 3D Platformer, Adventure

Type: Single-player

The actual mechanics of the game involve a lot of dashing and jumping. You have different numbers of multi-jumps in various parts of the game and most of the time you have to try and climb as high up as you can to reach objectives, collecting fire cubes to set waypoints. Everything is suspended in space, and if you miss a platform or stepping block and plunge too far down you explode in a shower of sparks and respawn at your checkpoint. That happens a lot.

Sound & Vision

You get a nice sense of open space and the low-poly environment is vibrant and colourful. You find bright green question marks around the place that reveal chat from characters and at certain points text from the main narration is typed at the top of the screen giving you information and directions to guide you and set your objectives. Some areas are festooned with decorative details and each level is completely different from the last. Plenty of (slightly psychedelic) eye candy.

There’s a different background tune on each level. My opinions about gaming music are based on whether or not I can remember it when I come to writing a review, and in this case it’s definitely yes. It’s unique and original and I never felt like switching it off.The main menu has no sound volume or video settings, it’s fullscreen only. You would only want to play in fullscreen anyway so it’s not an issue, and the volume is set perfectly by default, I only realised there was no control when I went looking for it so I could tell you about it.

In the unlikely event that you’re playing on Linux with Gnome Shell like me, there seems to be a glitch where the opening area where you select your save slot is fine, but when you enter your slot the screen goes black. You can fix this by restarting Gnome. You’re welcome. That’s the only glitch I found.

Controls

I don’t know if there’s an option for keyboard controls, but in any case you’ll want to play this with controller.

Until now I’d always wondered what people meant by ‘floaty controls’. Well, here there is literally a lot of floating as you drift downwards from high jumps. The landing spots are hard to judge because of the 3D perspective and the camera angles. You see your shadow on the landing site shortly before you land, which does help to an extent, but the problem is that you need 3 thumbs – one for left stick direction control, one for the jump/dash buttons and another to control the camera angle during flight so you can keep your focus fixed on the landing spot during the huge vertical travel. This is not possible of course, unless you’re a mutant, so you have the choice of either looking at your landing spot before you jump and hope to land blind, or else start your maneuver with the camera fixed horizontally or downwards so you can see what you’re doing on the way down. It feels awkward sometimes.Another problem with the camera is that the upwards angle is limited. It’s like having a crick in your neck. The place you want to get to is way up in the air but you can’t see it because the camera doesn’t point upwards enough, so you either have to jump and hope for the best, or jump-to-look before you actually jump, if that makes sense. I would also prefer the auto-follow of the camera to react quicker than it does.

With that said, the controls are generally nice to use. It’s crisp and responsive and in many areas feels wonderful. It’s just that when you’re trying to accomplish a task that requires accuracy, the environment makes the movement feel vague and causes you to constantly miss your landing spots. This could be seen as a natural challenge of the game of course.

Difficulty

There is no difficulty setting. There should be a casual mode in my opinion. I’m no expert with a controller, I usually prefer the adventure/discovery side of things, but armed with a Steam controller I gave it my best shot. I struggled at first, and at the 2 hour mark, after the bazillionth attempt at climbing a stupid wall and constantly being pushed off the footholds by enemy code-clouds I was ready to quit in a hissy fit. It didn’t help that these early levels were comparatively stark, with little in the way of characters or scenery to whet my appetite. This all came later in the game, and I would have missed it all had I not persevered.

After that initial frustration there were some levels where the movement mechanics were a joy to play with, soaring through space with comet tail streaking behind me, deftly launching myself from platform to spire, enjoying the scenery and collecting story snippets…Then it was back to hard platforming, dying over and over again trying to reach the next waypoint.

In a nutshell if, like me, you’re not an experienced platform player then you’ll find a rollercoaster of difficult peaks in between joyous exploration phases. I’ve heard there are puzzle elements but I’ve played a good way through the game and haven’t seen any yet, so far it has all been platforming and story progression, so I can’t comment on the puzzle difficulty.

Value

There’s lots of content with good production quality. People have completed it in 10 hours although it will take me longer due to my platforming incompetence, and you can replay to collect extra Memory Fragments for the achievements. It’s a fair price but I would probably wait for a small discount before taking the plunge (see what I did there?)

Steam

18 achievements, no trading cards yet, Win and Linux but no Mac. I would like to see cloud support added.

Verdict

For me, the game is a lovely experience punctuated by the occasional platforming hell – you may enjoy both aspects of it. I’m glad I played, I followed this game from its early inception on Greenlight and I’m pleased with the final result, apart from the odd minor annoyance.

RATING:

(click on the image to see the rating explanation)

About JimDeadlock

My main focus is puzzlers or anything with puzzle elements in it. I also like forward-planning strategy and discovery/adventure. Games that engage your brain without too much urgency. || I'm a rabid Linux user and try to avoid Win-only games but I'll suffer it if the game is worthwhile. || I don't go for multiplayer games in general, and you couldn't make me play FPS if you tied me to a chair and held a blowtorch to my toes. || Steam Profile

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