Ion Fury

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Ion Fury Game Poster Image
Homage to shooter heyday has dated gameplay and humor.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

There's a thin plot about saving the city from an evil cult, but it's basically just an excuse for the player, as Bombshell, to shoot anything that moves.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Bombshell is essentially a female version of the cookie cutter action hero of the '90s. She's skilled with a gun and always ready with a cheesy one-liner, but lacking any real depth as a character.

Ease of Play

The game pays tribute to classic first-person shooters, and the controls show that. Gameplay is a constant cycle of run, shoot, pick up items and ammo, wash, rinse, and repeat. The game does make use of some modern features like critical hits, such as headshots, but generally stays close to its retro roots.

Violence

The retro, pixelated style of the game keeps the carnage from looking realistic, but there's no shortage of blood and gore. Defeated enemies collapse in pools of blood or explode into meaty chunks, depending on how they are killed. 

Sex

There's a lot of sexual references and innuendo littered throughout the game's environment and in character dialogue. One example is a billboard seemingly advertising sports displaying the message "Washington 4 Skins"

Language

There's plenty of profanity throughout the characters' dialogue, including "s--t," "a--hole," and more.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some of the action takes place in bar locations, complete with alcoholic beverages scattered around. Drug and alcohol use is further referenced in lines of dialogue as well as in the environment, such as a parody poster using a marijuana leaf to promote a coffee shop hanging next to an anti-drug poster.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ion Fury is a sci-fi themed, retro first-person shooter, available for download on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows-based PCs. The game's designed to be a throwback to over-the-top 3D first-person shooter games and cheesy action heroes of the '90s. The game has an abundance of violence throughout, with players shooting at everything that moves and leaving a path of bloody carnage in their wake. While there's a lot of blood and gore, the game's retro art style shows the violence in a pixelated and less detailed manner. Parents should also be aware that the game makes frequent use of profanity in its dialogue, as well as numerous tongue-in-cheek references to sex, drinking, and drug use in the dialogue and on environmental objects.

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What's it about?

ION FURY pays homage to the over-the-top, hyper violent action first-person shooters (FPS) of the past with retro-styled, adrenaline fueled sci-fi trip down memory lane. Shelly "Bombshell" Harrison is no stranger to action, earning her nickname during her time defusing bombs for the Global Defense Force. So when an evil scientist sends members of his cybernetic cult to take over the capital city of Neo DC, who better to send into the highly volatile situation than Bombshell? Armed with her trusty tri-barreled revolver, Loverboy, as well as an arsenal of explosive devices and heavy weapons, Shelly takes to the streets to carve a bloody path through the cultists, straight to their mad leader, Dr. Jadus Heskel. Built on the foundation of classic FPS titles, Ion Fury blends old school action with more modern-day features like autosave, in-game physics, and location-based damage. Jump, duck, crawl, climb, and swim your way through seven distinct zones and multiple levels, leaving a swath of carnage and destruction in your wake. And of course, always have a witty one-liner handy so you can look cool doing it.

Is it any good?

Back in the '90s, when the first-person shooter (FPS) genre was huge, many games featured the formula of big guns, bigger explosions, politically incorrect humor, and snarky one-liners. Well, for good or ill, Ion Fury is a faithful throwback to this FPS heyday, ticking off the same boxes in terms of gameplay and presentation. In fact, until you start to dig a little deeper into the experience, you'd be forgiven for thinking the game is just some lost release from a bygone era. Instead, the game's a new twist on a classic template that awkwardly tries to revive a "cool factor" that's been on ice for more than two decades.

Built on the foundation of a twenty-five-year-old game engine, Ion Fury isn't exactly pushing any visual boundaries. The game looks dated, with lots of sharp angles and pixelated textures. There are some modern tweaks though, such as fine-tuned location-based damage and more believable physics behavior. Player movement is smooth and fluid, though enemy movement is anything but. But the thing that's most dated has to be its attempts at tongue-in-cheek humor, which often fails to deliver anything more than a groan. Bombshell's barrage of unenthusiastic banter falls flat more often than not. Meanwhile, the game makes frequent use of sophomoric jokes, like a "Washington 4 Skins" sports billboard and a Starbucks parody prominently featuring a marijuana leaf in its logo. While that might have been commonplace in the time Ion Fury pays homage to, it just comes across as just crass and crude today.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the evolution of games. How have first-person shooters changed over the years? What are some of the features and traits that the genre has maintained over the years? How do games from the past inspire current games?

  • What are some examples of content that parents should watch out for in their kids' gaming? How can parents address the mature content included in Ion Fury (language, sex, violence, etc.) when talking to kids?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

Themes & Topics

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