About Friday Night Funkin'
Friday Night Funkin’ is a free-to-play indie rhythm game made by four Newground users. Similar to DDR in style and concept, players use arrow keys or WASD to play. It was first made for the Ludum Dare 47 in October 2020 but quickly gained popularity. A full version titled Friday Night Funkin’: The Full-Ass Game was backed successfully on Kickstarter with over $2 million, and is planned for release in early 2022. The current, 7 Week game is available in browser on Newgrounds, itch.io, and can be downloaded on PC for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Sing to Win Girlfriend
Playing as the main character, “Boyfriend”, you engage in a series of singing and rapping contests in a call-and-response style, with vocals often in gibberish. Your goal is to last through each “Week’s” three songs against your opponent, to impress “Girlfriend”. Friday Night Funkin’ can be played in three modes: Easy, Normal, and Hard. Higher difficulty adds more notes, which move across the screen faster. A difficulty above “Hard” is planned to be added for the game’s full release.
Friday Night Funkin’ is undoubtedly not a kid-friendly game. There’s a “naughtiness” option in the Newground version that can be toggled on and off, though there may or may not be any difference in doing so. In later Weeks, two opponents in particular get twisted into strange creatures, one of which is a demonic lemon with teeth.
Concept Rating: 3/5
Stuck Inside Your Head
For a game that revolves around music, you’d best hope that the music is good. Luckily, Friday Night Funkin’s songs are absolute jams. They’re songs that you’ll be surprised to find stuck in your head days later. If you ever want to listen to them without playing, all songs are available on Bandcamp and Spotify, in both vocal and instrumental versions.
It’s evident that the success and support that the game has received have helped it grow and expand. In Week 7, you’ll find actual voice acting for your opponent, who won’t hold back on the insults, should you lose. Additionally, Week 6 is transformed into a pixel art style to match its opponent.
Graphics & Audio Rating: 4/5
Funk It Up
An earlier version of the game exists on itch.io, where some difficulty and audio balancing wasn’t quite right, but playing the game on Newground will let you play a newer version where both of these issues are fixed. It also allows you to reconfigure controls and offers “Free Play” mode, which isn’t quite what it sounds like.
Free Play allows you to choose which song you want to play, rather than go through a whole week if you just wanted to play the third song, for example. High scores are still tracked as usual, and there are still penalties for missing any notes.
Some controls still aren’t intuitive, however. The game will automatically pause if you click outside the window, but unless you look in “Options”, you won’t know that pressing “P” will allow you to pause the game as well. A similar issue exists on the comedic “retry” screen when you botch a song. Pressing “Enter” will allow you to retry the Week, but it’s not so intuitive that “Escape” will take you back to the menu. Still, these are minor flaws.
Friday Night Funkin’ has done a fantastic job when it comes to giving players the satisfaction that rhythm games were made for. The difficulty levels are balanced well, and there are some more complicated rhythms and timings that aren’t commonly found in rhythm games. In fact, any players with musical knowledge will find their familiarity of off-beats helpful.
While Friday Night Funkin’ has a call-and-response style to its songs, there’s enough variation and interest. Sometimes the patterns deviate from your opponents, resulting in a duet, which are some of the most satisfying moments. Most importantly, jumping in is intuitive with the timing involved, even if you haven’t played the song before.
Gameplay Rating: 4/5
With its solid foundation of success, catchy tunes, and bold comedy approach, Friday Night Funkin’ is a game that’ll live rent-free in your head and bring you back for more.
Visit Friday Night Funkin’s Kickstarter page to see what they have planned for the full release game in 2022.
Replayability rating: 4/5
Friday Night Funkin’ is a rhythm game with unique characters, great style, and absolutely jammin’ tunes.