Housemarque is a name most of us should recognise. From their origins as an Indie Amiga Developer back in the 90′s they have built a reputation for making addictive, visually stunning and original titles across multiple platforms. Even if you don’t recognise their name, you should recognise their releases; Super Stardust, Dead Nation, Outland, Resogun? If you don’t recognise at least one of these titles you must have been living under a rock for the last decade.
Their latest proffering was their first foray into IOS games which has been reworked for use with the PS Vita and PS3. Furmins is a simple physic based puzzler which requires you to navigate your furmins,(cute balls of fur with eyes), from starting point to the safety of the level’s basket. To do so, you must utilise a set of items to move, bounce or shoot your furmins across the zone.
This is extremely easy to pick up and learn. The game is split into two modes. First is the construction phase where time is frozen and your goal is to move the available level items around to set up a working chain reaction, transporting the furmins from point A to point B. The other mode, is the Action phase, where Physics kicks in, time restarts, and the set-up you have created is run through its paces. At any point during the Action phase you can pause the game, resetting the Furmins to their original position and allowing you to modify your chain on the fly.
As you progress through the game, you are introduced periodically to new items until you are using them in conjunction with each other. Starting off simply, you are given ramps and trampolines, but within the first twenty levels you will be using a wide variety of physics gadgets to achieve your aims. Among theses are the Vacuum cannons that suck Furmins in and propel them out at high speed, Conveyor belts that transport the Furmins around and can be made to change direction at the touch of the pad, and melting ice blocks helping you regulate the flow of the furmins to navigate pitfalls and blockages.
Each level has 3 goals, and a star awarded for each successfully completed. A star is awarded for getting the required number of furmins to the basket, collecting the candies strewn throughout the level, and getting the furmins from start to basket within the allocated time limit. These challenges pull you back to play the level over again, reorganising your items and building new paths with which to achieve the particular goal. Thankfully, these can be completed individually and although it is possible to achieve all 3 targets in a single run, the ability to break it down does make it distinctly easier to master the level.
The graphics in Furmins reveals its phone game origins, but this is not a bad thing. The ultra-cute models are perfectly balance against the hand-painted backdrops and the whole thing is vibrant and colourful. The catchy, but never irritating, music compliments the gameplay perfectly and is varied enough to not become repetitive.
This game has obviously been built with the younger gamer at the forefront of its design, and this brings me to the one downside. Although some of the levels can be taxing at times, and the difficulty does increase throughout, at no point was I stuck unable to solve a particularly devilish level and trial and error is more efficient at passing a section. As I mentioned previously, the only difficulty I found was actually optional;trying to complete all 3 challenges in a level in one build. Achieving this can be extremely difficult but subsequently rewarding; ultimately though this is an optional, self imposed requirement.
If you have young children, or just fancy a game that you can just have a quick burst shot of on a short commute, this is a great little game that does nearly everything right. Extremely polished, balanced and entertaining. If you are looking for a taxing puzzle game then this could be for you, but the exacting difficulty would be under your own control.
MLG Rating: 8/10 Format: PlayStation 3 / Vita Release Date: 16/10/13
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of Furmins for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of a week on a PS Vita. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.