A somewhat obscure blast from the past hits iOS in the form of Fur Fighters: Viggo on Glass. Originally a Sega Dreamcast game from way back in 2000, Fur Fighters is proof that we’ve come a long way since those days. Just the fact that a game from the beloved system ports over in a technically perfect manner is impressive, and this shooting animal romp is still a lot of fun.
In Fur Fighters, players take control of six different animal combatants that each have their own special skills. The story opens on the Fur Fighters’ idyllic island home, where they lead a quiet life raising kids and mostly relaxing. Unfortunately, their peaceful lives grind to a halt when the vile General Viggo invades. Viggo is the fighters’ arch nemesis, and knowing he can’t outright destroy the freedom fighters, he knocks them out and steals their kids.
Viggo’s plan was to hold the kids hostage so the animal crew would stay out of his way during the crazy cat’s latest bid for world domination. Instead, the fighters decide to go after him with extreme prejudice. The standard premise takes on a more humorous and endearing quality when it’s played out with cute animals.
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Cute animals aside, this is a shooting and exploration game, with plenty of action-based puzzles. Since each character has unique skills (such as swimming, climbing, and digging), the levels are designed so that players will have to switch between characters regularly. Only one animal can be in play at a time, but only the correct parent can rescue their own child, and the game plays off on character switching a lot.
Gunplay is center stage through most of the 30+ levels, and Fur Fighters sports an impressive assortment of firepower. There are 20 different weapons to unleash on Viggo and his menacing army of creatures (mostly really dumb bears). If the game had a more realistic bent, it would be full of graphic violence, but the cuteness factor tones down the otherwise vigorous shooting.
The graphics weren’t exactly cutting-edge even on the Dreamcast and they look remarkably aged here, but the level design is solid and detailed. Architecture is incredibly blocky, though, as are the characters, and the textures have a sort of splotchy look that was common to the era. But the music and effects are still excellent, and it’s easy to see why Fur Fighters is such a beloved game, even after more than a decade.
The biggest problem with this translation actually has nothing to do with the original game. Fur Fighters just doesn’t control very well with the touchscreen. Aiming is hyper-sensitive and unwieldy, and while the camera was never great, it just seems worse because of the inaccurate controls. There are no options to adjust sensitivity either, which probably would have helped alleviate the problem. The action buttons are in an odd place as well– halfway up the right side of the screen, which makes it even harder than usual to aim and fire at the same time.
Thankfully, the control issues don’t kill the fun, but many will likely find it too frustrating to control– especially when the action ramps up, or when making precise jumps. Everything else about Fur Fighters is pretty impressive. While it’s definitely an old game, the core mechanics and humorous presentation are solid, and if you can get over the control issues, this classic is worth checking out.