We've seen the rolling platformer idea explored several times over the years to varying degrees of success, but with the release of Furry Legends, Gamelion is attempting to inject a whole new level of playability into the standard formula and make things more interesting through the use of creatively-designed levels and a host of puzzle-solving elements. Episode One marks the first release and what basically amounts to the overall game's first five levels for players to tackle.
In Furry Legends, you take on the role of a Furball whose ultimate goal is to reach the end of each level safely. While this will generally feature a lot of rolling around and jumping to and from various platforms, it also features a wealth of other gameplay mechanics to make things more interesting. You'll see everything from bashing through wooden barricades and walls to using one of your three available Furball's various FurPowers to navigate many of the dangers you'll be faced with in each level.
Rolling around and jumping play the biggest role in navigating the game's levels, but puzzle-solving and doing battle with enemies also comes into play from time to time. There will be many times when you'll be forced to move boulders around, activate switches and even rescue other Furballs who've become trapped throughout the game. You'll also have to deal with a steady flow of enemies that can make things difficult for you. You can target these enemies using the "Z" button and then quickly flick your Wii Remote to make your Furball attack. While this works fairly well most times, it can be a bit erratic when you're faced with a large number of enemies or at the very least one that's overly aggressive.
There are also three different Furballs to take control of once you've rescued them, each featuring their own unique FurPower. These special powers range from super speed to the ability to slow down time in a Matrix-style fashion that will allow you to manoeuvre through some of the more menacing and fast-moving dangers. The catch is that you only have a limited amount of reserve FurPower and you'll have to use it wisely. Of course you can always guide your Furball back to a Red Berry bush to eat more of the berries in order to restore some of this FurPower if needed.
The level designs in the game are extremely well constructed and offer up a very solid level of platforming and problem-solving challenge. The downside to this is that the game uses a very loose and floaty control system that can make navigating these clever challenges a bit more tricky than it would normally be. It's understandable why the developers chose to give the game this type of feel given how challenging it makes the game, but it can lead to some very frustrating moments, especially when you've put in a good 20 minutes on one level only to run out of lives and have to start all over again at the beginning. It's something to at least keep in mind if you're not very tolerant of a looser style of control.
The world of Furry Legends is filled with very lush backdrops and some extremely vibrant color schemes to make the game's unique world come alive. There's a nice level of detail found throughout the game's different areas and even the enemies and Furballs themselves show are all very well-drawn and animated. Given that this is only basically one world of a much larger gaming package, there's not a lot of variety in the various scenery, but considering the attention to detail of what's there, it's difficult to complain too much.
The musical score of the game is a lot like the visual presentation in the fact that it's very well done, it just doesn't vary a whole lot throughout the game. There are some very catchy musical tracks that do a marvelous job of conveying the light-hearted theme of the game, but after a while they all tend to sound alike. They certainly don't get to the point of becoming annoying, but a little more diversity might have been a nice touch.
How much fun you get out of Furry Legends is going to mainly depend on what type of gamer you are: it can be a rewarding experience, but that's of course for players who can overlook its overly floaty physics and somewhat erratic attack controls and just enjoy it for the light-hearted platforming romp it offers. That being said, those who demand a certain level of precision in their controls might end up finding it more frustrating than fun. There's plenty of fun and quirky humor to be had, but given the clever level designs and gameplay ideas, you can't help but be left wondering how much better it would have been with a little tightening up in the control department.