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Five Nights at Freddy and Systems of Systemic Fear

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

5Nights.jpgAs it turns out, Flayrah never reviewed Five Nights at Freddy’s when it was released to much fanfare in 2014. But to be fair it never won an Ursa Major, getting beat by a Pokemon remaster in 2014 and Undertale in 2015. What a bullet the furries dodged on that one, huh?

You see, in recent days, the independent creator of the franchise, Steven Cawthon, had his sizable political contributions to members of the Trumpian Brigade(™) picked up by Social Media. The candidates in said brigade typically speak about the subversion of American Values and see people who are outside those “Values” as an enemy. They use this fear to get people to donate money to them.

To highlight this, we see Cawthon’s statement in response to this revelation. "I felt [Trump] was the best man to fuel a strong economy and stand up to America's enemies abroad, of which there are many" he goes onto indicate that he prioritizes the need for this foreign defense over the issues of American citizens' treatment by their own government with, "even if there were candidates who had better things to say to the LGBT community directly, and bigger promises to make, I believed that their stances on other issues would have ended up doing much greater harm to those communities than good"

Basically he is noting that we should fear foreign governments more than we should our domestic one. Which is usually a position that people who are generally left alone by their own government can comfortably have.

Interestingly it is this quote that made me think of the story of Five Nights at Freddy’s in a whole new way. So let’s go down this Bonny hole— metaphorically, you freakin’ furrys!

Game review: 'Backbone' (2021)

Your rating: None Average: 3.6 (7 votes)

Backbone (trailer) is a 2D adventure game by EggNut, released on Steam on June 8, 2021, after a five-year development period. I contributed to their Kickstarter.

The style is heavily influenced by noir detective stories, with a dash of science-fiction. Set in a dystopian Vancouver, British Columbia, all the characters are anthropomorphic mammals. You play as Howard Lotor, a raccoon private investigator, trying to find evidence of an affair. To say things do not go as planned would be a vast understatement.

The game is surprisingly short, you can finish it in around four to five hours. After playing it, it felt like it had so much potential, but didn't deliver as much as it could have.

Claws of Furry - A Scratchy Brawler Game

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Claws of Furry Claws of Furry is a game that gives you the ability to play with multiple friends as you scratch your way through four worlds with varying baddies, trying to save your master, who's been kidnapped by what appears to be Lady and the Tramp's Trusty in a mech suit.

As cool as this sounds, this game is not too polished and I would only recommend it for those that adore the brawler genre so much that they have to play every one of them. It may also be good for fans of the old-school Flash game feel. However, in general there are better brawlers out there, with more punch for your buck.

Zniw Adventure - Point and Click to Walk the Dinosaur

Your rating: None Average: 4 (6 votes)

Zniw Adventure.jpgThe adventure genre can sometimes seem a bit prehistoric, but that works just fine when your adventure game is about dinosaurs.

Zniw Adventure, developed by an independent two-person Polish team, hits on all the right nostalgic marks as it tells the story of a yellow dino by the name of Zniw (pronounced Zniff), and her journey to get home in time for her mother’s birthday.

But will this game give the genre new life like a mosquito from Jurassic Park? Or will the game make you wish games like this would go extinct? It will more likely be the former if you're a fan of a good point and click.

"At least it looks good" - reviews decry furry action RPG Biomutant's frustrations

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

'Biomutant' mechanical grasshopper Biomutant reviews are out! It's… mediocre. Not great, not terrible:
Eurogamer - GamesRadar - PC Gamer - Game Informer - Rock Paper Shotgun

Perhaps this isn't all that surprising for a relatively new and small development team. But it's a bit of a disappointment after hype sparked by a trailer that dropped in 2017.

Plot-wise, it seems exposition, rather than agency, rules the day. World Tree RPG this is not. Still, it may be your bag if you thought Ratchet & Clank lacked in species — or 'Wung-fu'.

What the hell is 'Helluva Boss'?

Your rating: None Average: 4 (6 votes)

Helluva BossKeeping up with Flayrah's decades-long tradition of not reviewing (or even covering) animated shows until well after it's necessary, let's discuss Helluva Boss, a show about the misadventures of four demons from Hell who work as assassins.

I'd say most of Flayrah's audience is well aware of Helluva Boss. It would have won the 2020 Ursa Major Award for Best Dramatic Series, but then Beastars had to be translated into English, so never mind. Flayrah has a piece on Beastars currently planned for 2023. Furthermore, Helluva Boss is free on YouTube, and unlike My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, that's actually on purpose.

Granted there's only one character who is truly furry, and that's Loona the Hellhound. To be fair, she is really furry. On e621, "loona_(vivzmind)" results in over 2000 hits, so that's not too bad. To be less fair, she has the smallest role of the four main characters, to the point where her entire appearance in the second episode consists of her screaming obscenities offscreen. And in the episode that features her for any extended period of time, she's magically disguised as a human for the majority of it.

That being said, I'm still going to recommend furries at least try the series, because it features interesting non-human (if not exactly furry) character design. It has pretty good animation for a free YouTube series, and although it's got a dark, cynical sense of humor, it balances that with a strong moral center. That last one may come as a surprise, seeing as how the premise of the show is that the characters' job is to kill people.

Cat Quest - The Action RPG Purrfectly Distilled

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (3 votes)

Cat Quest.jpgDo feline puns make you cat-atonic or drive you to hiss-teria? Then this game is not for you and you can move on. However if you can’t get enough of the purrfect punny feline punchlines, and like going on a dungeon crawling adventure with action RPG mechanics then carry on.

Cat Quest is a very streamlined and slick action RPG with a catty protagonist. Or at least their spirit companion is, as for the hero themselves they are traditionally silent. However, the other Non-Playable Cats (hereby refurred to as NPCs) are loaded with charm, purrsonality, and the aforementioned cat puns.

Game review: 'Monster Hunter Rise' for the Nintendo Switch

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (4 votes)

Monster Hunter Rise Well, here's one for dronon's list.

Capcom's Monster Hunter franchise has been around since 2004, and the title is self-explanatory. There are monsters. The player hunts them. These monsters aren't particularly anthropomorphic, but feature nice creature design, which furs appreciate, if the popularity of franchises like Pokémon and How to Train Your Dragon are anything to judge by.

And in Monster Hunter Rise, released in March for the Nintendo Switch, there are anthropomorphic animals in the form of the player's companions and helpers on the hunt, Palicoes and Palamutes. The former are cats who perform a variety of roles; while the latter are dogs, not anthro in form but probably sentient - though they are, well, mute. Together, they fight monsters!

Movie review: 'Hayop Ka!' (2020)

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (4 votes)

Hayop Ka! ("You Animal!") is an adult 2D animated film from the Philippines, in which all the characters are anthropomorphic animals. Released in 2020, it was directed by Avid Liongoren, who co-wrote it along with Manny Angeles and Paulle Olivenza, and was produced by Rocketsheep Studio and Spring Films.

The story revolves around a cat named Nimfa (played by Angelica Panganiban), who works at a perfume counter in a department store in the city of Manila. She's been living with her boyfriend for over a year, a large, burly mongrel named Roger (played by Robin Padilla) who works as a janitor. She has doubts about their long-term prospects, so when she meets Inigo, a rich, tycoon husky (played by Sam Milby), a love triangle quickly develops. This is a very adult movie! All three want to have an active sexual life, with varying degrees of commitment.

Movie review: 'Wish Dragon' (2021)

Your rating: None Average: 3.4 (15 votes)

'Wish Dragon' poster Wish Dragon (trailer) is a computer-animated film from the Sony Pictures Animation International Initiative, a fancy way of saying "international co-production", in this case between Sony and several studios in China. Concept art made the rounds in 2018, and they hoped to finish it in 2019. For whatever reason, it didn't get released until January 15, 2021 - in China - so this review is of the Chinese dub with English subtitles.

A little backstory. When Kung Fu Panda came out in 2008, it had so much artistic attention to cultural detail that China kicked their animation industry into high gear. In the twelve years since then, they've become a powerhouse of animation. Recently, there's been a slow-growing effort to make their films more exportable. Some efforts have fallen flat, like the sadly-overlooked Rock Dog; but with Mosley and Wish Dragon I'm optimistic that there'll be more co-productions to come!

Movie review: '100% Wolf' (2020)

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

100% Wolf (clip) is a computer-animated comedy film from Australia, released in mid-2020. Based on a 2009 book by Jayne Lyons, the adaptation was directed by Alexs Stadermann, produced by Flying Bark Productions, and it earned $4.6 million. IMDB gives it a score of 5.7 out of 10, and Rotten Tomatoes is similar. It's definitely for kids. Watching it as an adult furry fan, I have mixed feelings about it.

It takes about a quarter of the film's 96-minute running time to set up the story, so minor spoiler warning. There's a pack of werewolves living in modern-day society. Despite keeping it secret to avoid human persecution, on nights of the full moon they parkour around the city like superheroes to help rescue people. The youngest member of the pack's core family, Freddy Lupin, can't wait until he's old enough to become a werewolf too, and has a good relationship with his father, Flasheart, the pack leader.

Until things go wrong. Freddy loses both his father and the pack's sacred moonstone ring. Everyone is devastated. Fast-forward six years. I guess Freddy is being home-schooled? No sign of any friends, and his mother passed away when he was younger. Anyway, the pack still lacks a leader, or "High Howler", although Flasheart's brother, Hotspur, clearly thinks he deserves the position. For now, it's time for Freddy's coming-of-age ceremony, except instead of becoming a wolf, he turns into a poodle. Believing they've offended the Moon spirits, the family tasks Freddy with recovering the ring.

Movie review: 'The Donkey King' (2018)

Your rating: None Average: 2.8 (5 votes)

'The Donkey King' movie poster The Donkey King (trailer) is a computer-animated comedy film, and the fifth animated feature from Pakistan. Originally released in 2018 in the Urdu language, an English dub was released in 2020. It was written and directed by Aziz Jindani, and produced by Talisman Studios.

It broke box office records in Pakistan, though I'm mystified as to how, because to me it's not a good film. Maybe its target audience had different expectations, or there were cultural reasons, which, if any, have been lost in the English dub. Don't watch this movie.

The premise starts with King Khan, a lion who rules over a city of anthropomorphic animals. He wants to retire, but his son, Prince Shazad, wouldn't be a good replacement. Miss Fitna, his treacherous fox advisor, proposes that a new king should be chosen democratically in an election …which is not how monarchies work. Her plan involves deposing the king so she can manipulate someone in his place, specifically the film's protagonist, a donkey named Mangu.

Movie review: 'Raya and the Last Dragon' (2021)

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

Raya and the Last Dragon Before we start talking about the movie, due to the pretty unusual circumstances still happening in the world right now, we need to discuss what options are available to watch it. (With apologies to our non-North American readers, for whom none of this may apply.)

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, streaming has been the obvious or only way to watch movies reviewed by Flayrah. Raya and the Last Dragon, however, isn't free to stream right now. You'll have to pay Disney+'s $29.99 'Premier Access' fee, or buy a ticket at a theater.

Currently, this reviewer recommends the Premier Access route. It's more expensive, but factoring in the ability to re-watch it, group watching, and ongoing pandemic concerns, it feels a safer bet.

Anyway, Raya and the Last Dragon is from Walt Disney Animation Studios; directed by Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, it stars Kelly Marie Tran as Raya and Awkwafina as Sisu, the titular last dragon.

Movie review: 'Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor' (2018)

Your rating: None Average: 4 (4 votes)

Allahyar and the Legend of Markhor (trailer) is a 2018 computer-animated children's film. Produced in Pakistan, it's the country's third animated film, made by 3rd World Studios and directed by Uzair Zaheer Khan. Furry fans can skip this one. It's so-so, probably only of interest to young kids, who'll either need to understand Urdu or be able to read subtitles.

The story involves a young boy named Allahyar, creative but shy, raised by a single dad who works as a forest ranger in northern Pakistan. After his father gets knocked unconscious by a hunter, Allahyar rescues Mehru, a young markhor (a species of goat, the country's national animal) and sets out to return her to her family who live on a distant mountain.

Turns out that by showing bravery for a markhor and by having a pure heart, Allahyar fulfills the prophecy of being "The Protector", and gets the ability to speak to animals. They're joined on their journey by Hero, a chukar partridge, and Chakku, a young snow leopard. The hunter, Mani, is on their trail the whole time.

Retro game review: 'Toonstruck' (1996)

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (3 votes)

No one sits in an electric chair during the game. Toonstruck is a 1996 third-person point-and-click adventure game, still available on modern PCs! It's a celebration of cartoon humor, and you can tell a lot of love and effort went into making it. Toony animal side-characters are everywhere.

Originally conceived of in 1993 as a children's game, a decision was made to gear it towards adults instead. Officially it's rated 'T' (Teens) for "Comic mischief, Mild animated violence" - but there is some very adult humor you won't see coming. Virgin Interactive, who made the game, spent over $8 million on it. Some of this was wasted due to changing the engine during development. Otherwise they were able to pay well for its programming, animation and dialog, with (mostly) little executive interference.

The main character of Toonstruck is a burnt-out artist named Drew Blanc, played by Christopher Lloyd, who's been stuck animating The Fluffy Fluffy Bun Bun Show for ten years. When his boss (played by Ben Stein) demands even more rabbits, so he can keep milking the franchise as Fluffy & Friends, Drew despairs - only to find himself accidentally sucked into a cartoon world. His only hope of escape relies on completing a quest to help the locals.