Marfusha (XSX) Review with stream

A twin-stick tower defense title with roguelite elements, Marfusha is a highly entertaining, addicting action game with an interesting backdrop.

To be more accurate, Marfusha is a high-tempo tax-paying gate defense shooter that stars a young anime girl taxed with unrelentless guard duty. For whatever reason, machines have started to invade and the local government decided it was a good idea to put a school girl in charge of defending the city wall.  While the story is weird and pretty far out there (the teen defends her homeland wearing her schoolgirl uniform), it gives the game a good excuse to depict a war-torn world and how the few inhabitants live. 

At its core, this is a tower-defense title but it is much more than that.  The wall that you need to protect is on the left whereas all enemies attack from the right on a simple to understand 2D plane. Originally armed with just a pistol that is weak and shoots slowly, it is your job to destroy every invading machine that tries to break the wall.  At the end of each wave, the government will send you a paycheck and you can use that money to buy one of the three random upgrades, presented as cards, before the next wave.  It is funny because you only take home a few bucks each day because the government starts taking more and more out for taxes. Sure, there might be a political statement here but I find it rather humorous that a young teen is risking her life to defend her homeland, using guns bigger than she can carry, and is getting paid pennies on the dollar. Uncle Sam always gets his cut, I suppose.

Speaking of heavy weaponry, this is where the experience shines. The starting pistol will not be your weapon of choice for long. Once a few waves have been cleared, the game will offer machines guns, assault rifles, shotguns, grenade guns, and even sniper rifles to take down ground, aerial, and even boss enemies. Each weapon has positives and negatives, but all carry the same stat upgrades. For example, do you want to increase your fire power, reload speed, or purchase a one-time use special weapon?  If you choose to upgrade your fire power, all weapons, regardless if you switch from a shotgun to an SMG, will retain the upgraded value.  This is why this game is as fun as it is. Each wave only takes about 20 seconds and rewards the player with something to upgrade each time. The constant, worthwhile upgrading is just plain fun and addicting. Players can even recruit and upgrade a classmate to defend the backline as a last line of defense. The quick pace of upgrading, in combination with the difficulty that is almost perfectly balanced despite the randomness, results in a fun experience all the way through.

Depending on your performance, there are different endings to unlock, providing worthwhile replay value for those completionists. The included Challenge mode will also test the player’s skill even though it is basically the same game as the campaign.

My complains are few and minor such as some music tracks are on a short loop and never end, and the player is locked to 45-degree angles when aiming, but these are easily overlooked by the rest of the presentation. The 2D anime art style, in addition to the cutscenes, look amazing and the dorm room perspective every set of waves is an intriguing insight on the playable teen’s lifestyle and background. This dorm room intermission didn’t need to be included in the final build of this game, but I am glad it is there because it shows how dire the situation is even though you are playing a teen, wearing a school uniform, holding a gun bigger than she is, fighting against floating robots that want to destroy your precious wall. There is plenty of welcomed personality here.

From the moment I started playing Marfusha, I didn’t put it down until I finished it a couple hours later. The simple concept, addicting upgrading system, and fascinating presentation results in one of those games that checks all the right boxes and hit that pleasantly surprised sweet spot. Tower defense fan or not, this Playism release shouldn’t be overlooked; put this on your Wishlist immediately.

Also available on Switch and PS4/5.

SCORE: 8/10

Also Play: Let Them Come

Better Than: Heavy Fire: Red Shadow

Don’t Forget About: 13 Sentinels

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief

Twitter: @ZackGaz

Please consider supporting me on Patreon.

Liked it? Take a second to support squallsnake on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!
Back to top