Funko Fusion preview – Reimagining pop culture movie moments in gloriously weird fashion

10:10 Games' Funko Fusion has ambitious plans for giving more films and TV shows the Funko treatment.
Funko Fusion The Mummy

The popular Funko toyline, featuring cartoon-style recreations of pop culture’s most well-loved heroes and villains, has been a mainstay of geek culture for quite some time – but now, the cutesy figurines have finally got a video game of their own to star in.

Coming from developer 10:10 Games, made of former creatives from Traveler’s Tales (the team behind the Lego Star Wars and Lego Harry Potter games) Funko Fusion is a new type of action-adventure game that centres around Funko-ified worlds based on iconic films and TV shows.

We recently got a developer’s first look at Funko Fusion in action, which recreates properties like Jurassic Park, The Thing, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Battlestar Galactica, Scott Pilgrim, Back to the Future, and Jordan Peele’s Nope into weird and stylised worlds to explore in single-player or co-op with friends.

Speaking with 10:10 Games’ co-founder and design director Arthur Parsons, he dove into what it took to give the Funko brand a new spin after working on brands like Star Wars and Harry Potter.

“We want to make a game that is created by fans for fans, and what that sort of means is, and for us, that meant working on with Funko, and that didn’t get much bigger than Funko Fusion,” said Parsons.

“That’s where we wanted to kick things off. Funko Fusion is our debut game, and it’s using all of the lessons we’ve learned about humour and IP authenticity to maximise what you get when you work with third-party IP and deliver it through a Funko lens.”

>Funko Fusion screenshot
Image: 10:10 Games / Funko

Into the Funko-Verse

Funko Fusion leans into its recreation of iconic brands, allowing players to dive into levels and scenarios inspired by locations from popular films and shows. Much like Lego Star Wars, Funko Fusion is a very loose interpretation of the events from the variety of movies it recreates, opening the door for more open-ended and stylised action-platforming sequences that lean into Saturday Morning Cartoon-style humour. According to the developers, over 20 franchises will be in Funko Fusion, with plans to add more in post-launch updates.

In the demo, we saw two levels based on cult favourite films John Carpenter’s The Thing and Shaun of the Dead – with both stages focused on bashing grotesque monsters and zombies as Funko-style versions of Kurt Russell and Simon Pegg’s respective characters.

In The Thing, players can explore the Outpost 31 setting as MacReady and Childs, where they bash and set fire to mutated scientists. Each character has one variation of attacks that they can dish out, giving each Funko character something that makes them feel special outside of their visual look.

Along with some objectives to move along the story of each level, you can also find hidden unlockable items and playable characters. To unlock the mutated versions of the playable characters, you’ll need to suffer a defeat to see your hero turn into a mutated version of themselves. 

From this early look, the stages and action feel a bit one-note in terms of flow, but I can’t deny it was pretty nice to see so much fan service on display in a charming and quirky way. One stage I’m looking forward to seeing is Back to the Future, which sees Marty and Doc Brown explore the main Hill Valley town square. In fact, because of the concept of exploring multiple film and TV universes, this is a game of many firsts. Many of the brands featured in Funko Fusion are in a video game for the very first time.

>Funko Fusion screenshot
Image: 10:10 Games / Funko

Building A “Tailor-made” World

“We’re trying to create a tailored and authentic experience that focuses on fun for each themed stage,” said Parsons. “Some levels have an element of inherent customisation in there, such as in Hot Fuzz, where there’s a section in the movie where the hero Nick gets tooled up in the shed with all the weapons, and that’s present in the game.”

“You’ll see that there are cool portions of the game where a character will actually change and transition midway through a level. The same happens with Prince Adam when he transforms into He-Man, and other things like that. But really, we didn’t want to take any focus away from the Funkos themselves and their respective stages.”

Funko Fusion looks to have a keen focus on building out each brand, and giving it its own space to breathe within the game. Given the complexity of each stage, and the sheer number of playable characters on-hand, Funko Fusion seems like it should have potential for some player-creation tools. During our sessions with the game, the developers made it clear that the game’s focus is on hand-crafted experiences and bespoke levels.

Read: Funko Fusion launches in September 2024

While the lack of user-generated content seems like a missed opportunity, I appreciate that each level within Funko Fusion really focuses on building out experiences that capture the spirit of each brand. One experience I want to see more of is the level focused on Jordan Peele’s Nope, which features Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer’s characters from the film exploring the ill-fated Jupiter’s Claim that’s being stalked by the flying monster. 

While Funko Fusion wears its influences to the Lego video game series on its sleeves, the core action reminded me of many other play-set-style games, like Little Big Planet, Disney Infinity, and Skylanders – three games that have unfortunately been discounted.

That puts Funko Fusion in a neat and interesting place to be able to fill in a gap that’s been absent for some time. So far, Funko Fusion has the makings of a fun and satisfying trip through the greatest hits of modern pop culture, and I’m eager to see what other brands will get the Funko treatment.

Alessandro Fillari is a writer/editor who has covered the games, tech, and entertainment industries for more than 11 years. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, he previously worked at GameSpot and CNET as an editor specializing in games coverage. You can find him on Twitter at @afillari