Publisher: 1C Entertainment
Genre: Shooter, First-Person, Action
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: 18
Release Date: 14/05/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
A Blast from the Past
As a kid of the 90s, I cut my big boy gaming teeth on games like Ion Fury. Futuristic, fast-paced shooters that were filled with gore, or at least indistinct red blobs that were meant to be chunks of scorched meat. Ion Fury was one of many games out in my youth, and while I never got a chance to play the original, I was delightfully surprised to be able to take this reboot/remaster/re-release – I’m not sure what they are terming it – out for a spin.
How did it hold up? Did it give me a hankering for those long summer days spent hunched over my PC screen blasting my way through level after level dealing in hot lead and carnage? You will just have to keep reading to find out.
Homage to the Passion that Fuels this Industry
Sometimes I miss the good old days of gaming, where graphics were not all about hyperrealism. Sure, modern games rock, and I love them, but there is something magical about older games and the way they seem to pull you out of reality so effortlessly. Sometimes the lack of reality in the game helps pull you away from it all.
I said at the top of this review, I’m not sure what terminology they are going to use for this re-release (another new possibility) of Ion Fury, but I for one am glad it kept so much of its pixelated goodness as it did.
There is a glorious fast-paced fluidity to the game, and the worlds and sprites you come across are equally splendiferous in their imagination and design. Games like Duke Nukem, Quake, Doom, and Ion Fury remind me of my childhood, but it also is a wonderful reminder of the passion that exists within the gaming world. These games were built in a time when video gaming was in its infancy. Yes, you could argue that the rate of technology advancements means we are still in such an early stage, but we won’t go there in this review. There is a love and attention to detail worked into these games that didn’t necessarily belong in the graphical period in which they were crafted.
Seeing them back now, on a modern console but hugging tightly to that old school feeling is just a heart-warming, memory-inducing delight.
Ion Fury Gets the Soundtrack Spot On
As mentioned, I never played Ion Fury when I was younger, but I played many similar titles, and I remember even now how powerful the soundtracks were. In 2020, Ion Fury rings that same jamming intensity to the Switch, and it just works so well. The music compliments the gameplay like the right choice of wine with a meal. It accentuates the mood of each stage and gives those all-important audio clues as the action starts to ramp up.
The game features a predominantly music heavy soundtrack, but mention needs to be given to that wonderfully retro love of squelch-based sound effects. Both as enemies explode and as you dance around in the smouldering globs of flesh that once was their body. There remains something childishly hilarious about walking through your slain enemies and seeing a body part get kicked around the screen. The same can be said for the voice acting. If we can call it that. For a while it is relatively minimal, and often repeated, the simple lines and gruff voices create an immediate atmosphere. That said the main ‘villain’ whose face appears randomly on screens through the game is the same man who provided the voice in the OG Doom. If I am not mistaken.
The Real Fast and the Furious
Ion Fury is full speed ahead shoot fest with a story I am still trying to figure out. I could sit and think of some wonderful allegory about fighting for what you believe in. For chasing what you know to be right. Maybe even throw in the word justice, but let’s be honest. This game is about dealing death in rampant fashion with not so much as a flicker of regret. Pull the trigger first and never ask questions.
A first-person, high octane ride, it throws you straight into the middle of the action and never lets up. You can collect a wide range of weaponry from electric batons to machine guns, grenade launches, mini-cannons and more. Grab your ammunition and your exploding balls, and head through stage after stage of imaginative, post-apocalyptic mayhem. If anything moves, you kill it and you kill it fast. It’s a simple rule but one you need to follow if you want to survive.
I really enjoyed my time playing Ion Fury. Yes, maybe gamers of my generation will have a slightly different view of this and other similarly re-released (or OG owned) titles compared to a younger audience. Luckily, that is why we have marketing teams and target demographics.
Ion Fury hits the spot for the mid-thirties age group and there are more than enough of us to make titles like this a success.
The speed of this game is something to be marvelled at. There were no clunky movements or glitches that I encountered. You moved with the speed of a greased-up penguin sliding across a glacier and couldn’t stop to take a break – even if you wanted to. Ok, maybe you could if you went through the options, but I didn’t go down that route. Not because I felt instantly comfortable with the high-octane gameplay, but more because I’m inherently lazy when it comes to playing with settings.
I won’t lie, it has been a long time since I played a game that was so fast and fluid. It took me a few tries to get the timing down, but by the end, I was picking off headshots left, right, and centre. Playing until my hands cramped certainly took me back.
A Game for the Ages, or Better Left to Memories?
I really enjoyed my time playing Ion Fury. However, is it a title I am likely to revisit again and again? If I’m being honest, no. It was fun to play through but once you have reached the end, there was no more itch now than there was two decades ago to hit reset and try it again.
There are no real collectibles as such. Nothing that gets recorded or translates into achievements. So, unless you really are an uber fan of this one title in particular, and hold with no interest in trying anything else, either retro or modern, Ion Fury remains a one and done title.
That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a fun game to play, or that I wanted it to be over in a single sitting. Far from it. I took my time playing this game. Exploring and looking around for hidden treasures. Admittedly, I didn’t find every secret in each stage. Yet, given the lack of cohesive narrative or underlying story, I felt no compulsion to go back and search further.
Final Thoughts on Ion Fury
Ion Fury is fun. I had a blast playing it. It was great to go back to the games that made me fall in love with gaming. That said, it can’t be ignored that there is a limited amount of people who will be interested in returning to these titles, but that’s ok. It was released as a service to those longtime fans. It can’t be any other way. That said, I am sure it will also pick up more than a handful of new ones along the way. I can see views being split on this title. For me, however, it was a blast from the past, and I loved every second of it.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Ion Fury for the Nintendo Switch at the following link: Nintendo eShop
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.