Super Meat Boy established in quality what some games before it started quite shyly. As a nail-biting hardcore platformer, it was easily (get it?) one of the most demanding but ultimately rewarding downloads you could plunk your cash into in 2010. Fenix Rage is pretty much – Green Lava Studios admitted so – inspired by Team Meat’s opus. And while it offers a lot of challenge and delivers much of that feeling of “oh, one more go, but man, am I getting my ass handed to me by this game”, it has some tricks of its own.
There’s practically zero story behind all the zany platforming and precision madness you’ll be thrust into in this game. You’re chasing a little squarish guy that looks like you through screens full of traps and death devices, and if you haven’t gotten a clue by now, you’re expected to restart levels over and over again in Fenix Rage. The trial and error nature of this type of game is the deciding factor whether you are cut to play it or not. In fact, if you’re easily frustrated and often decide to quit playing a game after a few game over screens, you’re probably not going to enjoy Fenix Rage at all.
On the other hand, if challenge is what you’re after, Fenix Rage is deliciously devious. Its colorful art style draws much from Newgrounds flash games of the past, giving stages and characters very distinct tells on screen. Frankly, you don’t have to wait for these tells to know that mostly everything on screen, including walls, are there to kill you. The only things you should be going after are the exit and cookies. Cookies are what bandages were in Super Meat Boy, basically an out of the way collectible that adds an extra layer of difficulty to every stage, if they weren’t punishingly difficult already. But hey, if you want more pain, it’s there for you.
Differently from the lovable meat cube with legs, Fenix can double jump infinitely, as well as dash horizontally, which changes up the way you have to think during your time playing the game. It really ramps the challenge up, because now walls can be traps, as well as everything else a stage might put in your way. Jumping ’til eternity might come off as a cop out, but very few stages are actually open, so the now age old Meat Boy glitch of circumventing the layout of a stage will not work in Fenix Rage. In fact,you die by merely touching the edges of the screen. Tough luck.
There’s also a few gimmicks added in the further you make your way through the game, aside from the boss fights that show up at the end of every world. For instance, there are Portal-like warp pads towards the second half of the game which are used to great effect, adding yet another obstacle between you and the goal. Not only are they inconveniently placed in stages most of the time, they’re also somewhat different from panels you’d expect.
The big catch with some of these mechanics is that they work in a couple of different ways. The aforementioned portals can send you to more than one destination depending on which end of it you jump into, often forcing you to deal with the stage all over again at the cost of finding a collectible. Grinding in walls is important too, due to the inclusion of frozen blocks that cannot be broken through with just your normal dash.
Surely, if you’ve been through Super Meat Boy through and through, you’ll be more than prepared for most of what Fenix Rage has to offer in terms of challenge. But still, some of these additions to the platforming manage to throw in a wrench or two in your way that you might not have been expecting in your twitching ways through the game.
With that in mind,you might still be wondering if Fenix Rage is as rewarding as Super Meat Boy. In many ways, it is. While not as full of personality as our dear bleeding cube of meat managed to be, Fenix Rage covers that omission with a satisfying array of stages and worlds. If you are like me and find reward in dealing with continuously painful jumping and bouncing off stages with failure breathing into your ear at every corner, this game is most definitely for you.