Fenix Rage: meets Sonic at the end of the world

When a new game comes roaring out of the gates using words like “aggressive”, “frustrating” and “aggravating” to describe itself, it is probably  safe  to  assume that appealing to a mass audience isn’t a top priority for its creators. People who’ve played Fenix Rage have been very quick to compare it to Super Meat Boy and Sonic The Hedgehog, which is a very positive sign for developer Green Lava, seeing as those two games are this one’s main sources of inspiration.
The game couldn't be easier to understand. It’s a rapid-fire 2D platformer in which you control the titular punkish hedgehog-type thing and guide him towards a series of baby blue exit panels, picking up collectibles (chocolate chip cookies) as you go. You’re gifted with a dash move (which is in infinite supply, and basically allows you to fly) and on your travels you’ll also need to dodge a few
moving blocks and break a few brittle ones. That’s it.

Like the recent PC indie smash 10 Second Ninja, Fenix Rage is not only rock hard and extraordinarily simple at the same time, it’s also a game that seems to have been custom built for people to speed run though; the earliest levels can be completed in fewer than two or three seconds apiece. It’s all about tiny mistakes followed by swift death followed by an instant restart, and is all but destined to become a YouTube sensation when it launches; causing an army of PewDiePie-inspired Let’s Players to shriek in frustration for your viewing pleasure.

Great platformers are currently a little bit scarce on Xbox One, and as one of the first titles due to release under the umbrella of Microsoft’s ID@Xbox program, Fenix Rage could bolster the hardcore reputation of the indie program and the Xbox One itself. But will it have any staying power? Early word (from builds played at E3 and PAX East) is definitely on the positive side so far, but will Fenix Rage have the goods to engage players once the savage novelty has worn off? Super Meat Boy kept everyone coming back for more punishment because it was a stuffed to the gills with ingenious level design and a crazy amount of replayability, and Green Lava Studios have invited that comparison. Hopefully they’ve made the game to back it up.

Fenix does have one additional move that we didn't mention. If you slide down one of the throbbing red blocks that you occasionally encounter on your travels, you’ll instantly burst into flames. Although (sadly) this process doesn't gift you with a fiery attack to terrorise your foes with, it does allow you to destroy bothersome ice blocks with ease.

This boss (revealed in a recent trailer) showcases Fenix Rage at its fastest…and possibly also its best. After being chased through a maze and having to hurriedly use fire to bash through walls of ice, this chubby black and green blob suddenly grows a set of limbs, which have to be destroyed with your dash move. It looks truly exciting. And somewhat difficult.

Thankfully Fenix Rage is going to be somewhat lacking in unnecessary plot, although we do know this: it’s set in the aftermath of an apocalypse which leaves only two survivors, Fenix and his mysterious evil nemesis Oktarus. The levels are built from the rubble of their dilapidated village, which makes sense. Why you’re running around them collecting cookies is anyone’s guess.

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