Would I review Furmins if it wasn’t developed by Housemarque? The answer is probably not; as the title is somewhat forgettable and I have played more than my fair share of physics puzzle games. The name Housemarque however changed my motivation right away. If you aren’t familiar with this Finnish powerhouse of a development team I can mention that they focus on creating highly playable games for consoles such as Dead Nation and Outland that are personal favourites on my PS3. With Furmins Housemarque extends their market to the massive mobile platform.
Furmins is a game where you have to bring the cute rodent like ball creatures to their sleeping King. The King has to be awaken to set the world right, and restore the flow of water. As stories go it is quite nice, and the introduction movie is excellent.
The gameplay is physics puzzle in the vein of Isaac Newton’s Gravity, Casey’s Contraptions and a host of other titles. You place different objects, press play and hope for the best. If the level fails you adjust your trampolines, ice blocks and doohickeys. You operate some springs, and tools in real time. This gives the game some demands on timing, and skill. I found those levels to be the most rewarding, as it gave me something to do.
Worth nothing is that this is a hard game with intricate level design. Often there is only one correct solution, and I am not really keen on being forced into this kind of thinking. I would rather try my own solutions like you do in Casey’s Contraptions. Still it increases the level of difficulty, and even if you are limited in your solutions you need to be creative to solve the levels. Collecting candy determines your score in maximum three stars. The first three level packs are unlocked from the start, and you are free to jump between levels. To unlock the forth level pack you need 150 stars, but those are fairly easy to attain. The sheer amount of levels combined with the at times harsh difficulty gives the game a long gamelife.
The presentation in Furmins is perhaps the most clear connection to Housemarques other games. The artist who drew a lot of the backgrounds, and art for Outland has had his brush heavily involved in creating Furmins. The result is that it looks great with lush glowing backgrounds, and level elements. The Furmins themselves are cute, and the little animation it takes for a ball to roll is well made. The music is quirky, and highly enjoyable bordering between ambient electronics and cute folk music. I would have liked the option to use my own music as well. The sound effects are sparse, and really well made. I really like the small details such as the Furmins saying ouch when something lands on them. This gives the game an organic feel, and it is otherwise too easy to regard the Furmins as inanimate balls.
Furmins is a great entry in the physics puzzle genre bringing fresh level design challenging to both newbies, and the hardcore fans of the genre. There are better games out there in the physics puzzle genre with the now mandatory level editor, and peer sharing of levels such as Casey´s Contraptions. What sets Furmins apart is the excellent graphics, and challenging level design. It is not the game that I expected from Housemarque, and I really hope to see more of their previous games ported or remade for iOS in the future.