Xbox Live Arcade Title
Release Date: Out Now!
Multiplayer: Local Four Player Co-op.
(Title provided free or charge by the publisher for review)
Lucha Fury is a deceptive little minx. It greets you with a bright color palette and beautiful art design that looks like a labour of love and time, and then that bouncy music hits you and it really feels like something special. And then, to top of your entrancement, it presents the concept behind this side scrolling beat em’ up; Luchadore wrestlers! It’s a damn fine idea, really. Luchadore wrestlers vary wildly from the more mainstream wrestling to which we are accustomed. The wrestling we know is packed with big guys who use power and heavy strikes over all else, but Luchadores have a far more vibrant, agile and high-flying style of wrestling. These mask wearing nutters often take to the air to deliver big thrills for the crowd, and in theory that’s great for creating a scrolling beat em’ up, but put it into practice and things fall apart.
At the start of each level you get to choose from one of four characters (with a fifth character being unlockable) to take to the streets and use to pound enemies senseless. The choice is largely pointless as each character plays pretty much the same, making your decision more about the look of your character than anything else. Yes, there is some difference in health and basic moves, but it’s really very little. Once you’ve done that it’s onto the action, and therefore onto the problems.
At the core of Lucha Fury’s problem is a lack of any depth in its combat system. You can punch, kick and grab enemies to your heart’s content, but past that the game doesn’t give much in the way of more advanced moves. There are a few grab moves to be used along with a finisher (which doesn’t always finish an enemy) and a few others, but the choice is very extremely limited and you’ll find yourself repeating the same moves over and over throughout the game. The lack of any block, dodge or counter system also hurts the game as it feels like it really needs it, especially to help tame down the fact that you’ll find your character getting stunned far too often, for which you need to waggle the right stick to get yourself out of. Other problems severely hamper the games combat; the game plays in 2.5D, meaning you can also move up and down in the world, which has created some very poor hit detection. Moves don’t connect when they should, and aerial moves are even more unreliable. Coupled with that is unresponsive controls and slow moving character animations. There’s a noticable delay at points between whacking the button and the character actually reacting. This is quite noticable when using the run button; trying to dodge an environmental hazard can be frustrating when the run button simply doesn’t respond quickly enough. And, considering Luchadores are quick on their feet, your character moves at a slow pace, both when walking around and when fighting. Kicks come in slow-mo as do punches and any other move that you may use, and that’s coupled with stiff animations creating the effect that your chosen wrestler is more akin to Scarecrow than wrestler.
What’s more baffling is the complete waste of the Lucha theme. While the art style, backgrounds and little details all show respect for the Lucha style of wrestling, it never manages to sink into the actual gameplay. Where’s the energetic, acrobatic, mental wrestling style that makes Luchadore wrestlers so much fun to watch? It’s all strangely absent, as is storyline. Again, where the Lucha world is filled with intrigue, alliances, betrayals and dramatic storylines, Lucha Fury’s tale is a jumbled mess which seemingly has something to do with some stuff getting stolen, but it’s hard to know for sure.
Finally, Lucha Fury throws in some good ol’ four player co-op action to try and keep things feeling fun, and it does work to a certain degree. Getting together three mates and destroying the mindless AI hordes is a definite improvement over playing it on your own. However, Lucha Fury’s co-op mode is local online, so you can’t play with friends via Live or random people that you’ve never met. This is a rather baffling omission.
As with any game, Lucha Fury will doubtless find itself some fans amidst the gaming hordes that make up the virtual world, and as with any Arcade game I certainly recommed giving the trial version of the game a go. But, considering the genre has been around forever, Lucha Fury hasn’t taken aboard what makes side-scrollers great, and instead delivers a very poor experience.
+ A beautiful art-style.
+ Luchadores kick ass!
+ Kicking chickens to gain health! Honestly!
– It moves so slowly!
– Spamming the same moves again and again.
– Getting stunned again.
While they’re not the best in the technical sense, the art style does make for a bright, awesome gameworld, though a few levels are a bit dull.
The music is repetitive, but it’s lively and fun.
There is one there, somewhere, but it’s a nonsensical tale and you won’t give a damn about it.
Slow, unresponsive, clumsy and simplistic.
Around 4-6 hours will see it beaten with little reason to go back and play again.
Summary: Lucha Fury captures the imagination with bright graphics and lively music, but ultimately fails to capture the essence of what makes beat ’em ups so much fun, instead delivering a poor attempt at the genre.