Gameplay: Ion Fury: PC / Switch / Xbox One / PS4. Rating: 8/10
Enthusiastically received by the gaming masses, there seems to be no real reason for the onslaught of metroidvania-inspired throwback titles to slow down.
Of course, there are many, many good titles in that ilk appearing but, nevertheless, it is somewhat of a shame that few other subgenres are receiving the same misty-eyed nostalgic treatment shown to the metroidvania clones.
For this reason alone, Ion Fury deserves heapings of praise. There must be very few lifelong gamers born in the early 90's who don't have fond memories slogging their way through the gratuitously violent Duke Nukem or DOOM - three dimensional slaughter simulators that wowed hyperactive children as much as they distressed concerned parents.
Now, the cheesy magic of early to mid-90's FPS gaming can be relived, as Ion Fury enters the vast fray of throwback titles, complete with its corny dialogue snippets, charmingly awful graphics and a lack of hand-holding that will seem obscene to someone not fortunate enough to be familiar with old-timey run 'n' guns.
Ion Fury is not a modern revitalisation of a genre, but more of a paint-by-numbers homage to a number of games, but most obviously Duke Nuken. It has it all, from the eye-rolling one-liners, the mixture of sprite and 3D animation, ear-piercingly loud but incredibly satisfying gun sounds, all the way to having the actual voice of Duke Nukem himself - Jon St. Jon. Ion Fury is so painfully authentic that it even uses the same engine as Duke Nukem and could easily be passed off as a release that is twenty five years old.
Still true to its inspirations, Ion Fury is obscenely difficult in parts, with the boss fights proving to be especially tricky to the point where they may feel almost impossible to complete. Luckily, the guns are as powerful as they are varied, with each weapon posessing an alternate firing mode that is both extremely useful and very fun.
Though tutorials and busy HUD's showing your next objective evolved in gaming for a reason, it must be said that Ion Fury's distinct lack of any prodding in the right direction is extremely refreshing. That being said, there were parts where the painstaking backtracking and searching became more of a burden than a blessing. At least the developers have positively stuffed the levels with an seemingly endless array of hidden compartments and tunnels.
Clearly, Ion Fury is a labor of love on the developer's part and a welcome throwback to some of the most memorable and nostalgic games ever conceived.
New Ross Standard