At first glance, Lone Fungus looks like an entertaining game. You will set off like a wacky mushroom, whose most important mission ever is to reach the top of the world. You are the only living mushroom left in this cruel world. Soon you end up in a platformer where you explore various caves, defeat enemies and solve clever little puzzles every now and then in a Metroidvania-like game. But this time you play with a pathetic fungus who only lives for the sake of his own kind!
Lone Fungus visuals and audiovisuals
Basically, Longe Fungus is quite an entertaining platformer at the start. It is quite entertaining to send your fungus through that game world. It all looks very cute and the theme is chosen strongly. The development of the visuals and audiovisuals are nicely done for an early build like this demo. Although the environments still need some development, they are already filled with new things to discover. There a lot of solid platform elements. I definitely love the idea of how flowers are used as trampolines. They were very entertaining until I accidentally bounced myself to death in one of the spikes on the ground.
After a while, it was time to pick up a sword. Since it’s dangerous to go alone! This sharp and hazardous weapon will bring you luck as well as a good dose of headache. The sword can be intensely useful when you have to defend against enemies. The headache comes into play when you need that sharp sword to bounce safely over dangerous spikes. My fungus often died because the controls on the keyboard seem to take on a life of their own. To bounce on those spikes, you have to press the down arrow key and then press the Z to strike down with your sword. On the other hand, your sword won’t hit downwards at all.
Difficulty to the max
The difficulty is unnecessarily increased by the stiff controls. This is very noticeable when you have to arm yourself to survive your first boss battle. During that epic battle for the existence of the Mushroom breed, you have to compete against a huge floating statue that always shoots strange energy balls at you. The statue floats so high in the air that you can only reach it by using flower-shaped trampolines. The boss was difficult, which immediately makes me a bit anxious for the rest of the game. If all enemies are like this I will not get the game through with this control. Still, I managed to defeat him after a couple of tries.
Still, I did not like the boss battle that much. The best tactic was to just wait passively in a corner and strike when he was vulnerable. I found out this tactic after multiple attempts to kill him with aggressive attacks. Which failed epically because most of the times I killed myself by falling into the spikes. By now and then I got a bit frustrated because of the boss. After going off the boss battle a dozen times, I wanted to put the game aside. So I opened the menu. When I changed my mind and went back to the level from the menu, the game’s background music suddenly stopped playing. Strangely enough, when the music stopped playing because of this bug, I could find enough focus to defeat the boss. Coincidence?
Some crazy discoveries
Another crazy phenomenon occurred when I pressed the 0 button. Then suddenly I saw squares appear, which is a developer feature that raises questions in a public build. I think it is the collision mask. Disclaimer: I played a demo of a game that is still in development, so it’s not fair to settle too many such things yet. Let me focus on something positive too, because praises can be given how the solo developer behind this project has recently released quite a few patches to tackle one problem after another. In doing so, the maker tries to process as much feedback as possible that he receives via Twitter and via email.
Chances are high this can become a great indie game when finished. For the time being, the concept of Lone Fungus is quite fun and it is fun to discover new things. The art style is attractive and I see a lot of potential around this theme to keep dressing everything up. Still, I think there is a need to improve the controls a bit before the game really launches. In addition, I am curious if the game will do some more creative things with the gameplay in the longer term. I have seen some interesting ideas on his Twitter!
Play Lone Fungus yourself!
You can try out the Lone Fungus demo yourself at Itch.io! The game is playable on Windows.