Is Newgrounds’ Friday Night Funkin’ worthy of the hype?

Evangeline West


Friday Night Funkin’ is an open-source music rhythm game developed by a team from Newgrounds, a site that hit it big in the early 2000s with a series of browser games. In FNF, users play as the character Boyfriend to match keyboard directions with notes that appear on the screen.

Your task is to beat your new opponents and keep dating Girlfriend. Of course, with each level, the game gets harder with bigger bosses. A green health line at the bottom of the screen shows who is in the lead and will turn red if you’re losing against the boss.

Is Newgrounds’ Friday Night Funkin’ worthy of the hype?

FNF can be compared to arcade titles like Dance Dance Revolution and Stepmania. Using original beats and a battle between characters, all of the seven levels are labeled as “weeks” until the final showdown. Notable Newgrounds characters appear as bosses, who follow your progress bar as you match the musical notes against your opponent. Independent developers Ninjamuffin99, PhantomArcade, Kawai Sprite, and evilsk8r have brought this nostalgic game to life.

Singing and rapping to win Girlfriend’s heart

Though not explained in specifics with cut screens or dialogue, FNF puts the Boyfriend character in battles against bosses such as Daddy Dearest and Mommy Dearest. It is interpreted here that Boyfriend needs to beat other musicians by matching their beat to win Girlfriend’s heart. Girlfriend is featured in the center of the screen through the weeks and also guides you through the tutorial before the start of the game, which you can choose to play or skip.

The single-player game features two to three songs in each level with the controls getting faster with every round as you try to line up the arrows. Players can choose their level of difficulty from easy to hard; however, the weeks become increasingly difficult even on an easier mode and within each round. The bosses to beat are Daddy Dearest, Mommy Dearest, Monster, Senpai, Spirit, Pic, Tankman, and Skid and Pump. Senpai is one of the few characters with dialogue for the story adding an action and adventure touch.

Friday Night Funkin’ is a retro game for adults

While the gameplay echoes classic kid-friendly titles such as Rock Band and Guitar Hero, Friday Night Funkin’ features some suggestive content. For example, the Girlfriend character sits on a speaker throughout most of the levels and you must defeat gun-wielding bosses. This rhythm game sprung up out of a game jam in which the programmers created everything in a few days from scratch and left open many possibilities for modding. Newgrounds is known for creating games with an irreverent sense of humor.

Without formal cutscenes, the romantic subplot of Boyfriend and Girlfriend is very subtle when you’re playing the game. However, anyone can catch on that Friday Night Funkin’ is intended for a mature audience. Though it’s fully animated and not graphic, FNF is a program for older teens and adults due to racy graphics and some violence.


Friday Night Funkin’ is a nod to nostalgic internet games

If you grew up in the 1990s and 2000s, you will enjoy the classic graphics of Friday Night Funkin’, which are a throwback to dance arcade games. The keys to control the Boyfriend character are up, down, left, and right, and the gameplay is best served by a good set of speakers or headphones. There are other options to download a mod from additional users for a more customized game. Since the initial prototype was released in October of 2020, Friday Night Funkin’ has developed a large fan community that has shared techniques to win battles against the bosses. Start off by picking Story Mode or Freeplay to explore the game or have a seamless playthrough.

The soundtrack features original music that you’ll play along to when battling the bosses. The genres range from hip hop to opera with a nostalgic MIDI appeal in sound. The simple graphics and lightweight gameplay are a nod to the past and other games such as PaRappa the Rapper. The characters also have similar classic movements to older rhythm games. But we also get a few modern details, such as Girlfriend’s dancing and the bosses’ animation.

Friday Night Funkin’ is available on PC and mobile

Friday Night Funkin’ is free to download and can be played on a PC, laptop, or any mobile device. The open-source nature of the game has led to many modification downloads. If you know basic coding, you can create your own mods and share them with the FNF community. The simplicity of the gameplay, graphics, modding is a big reason why the game has developed such a cult following.

Since FNF is based on older programming, however, some players experience a lag in gameplay. This is forgivable as it is a free program with a lot of imagination. FNF can be played through in a few hours, but many gamers choose to go back and change the difficulty to see their progress and speed up the game themselves.

Friday Night Funkin’ graphics and sound appeal to fans of music games

With two to three songs at each level (week), players can enhance their singing skills alongside one of the NPC bosses with the exception of duo Skid and Pump. The tracks get faster with more combos at each level and the subsequent weeks following your progress. Unlike similar games such as Dance Dance Revolution, which uses established songs, Friday Night Funkin’ features original tracks. This is one of the most charming aspects of FNF, and the game’s soundtrack has generated countless plays on Spotify.

The colorful graphics change each week as well as the bosses’ appearances and movements. Girlfriend remains in the middle of the screen and provides voice commands as you battle for her affection. She appears excited, happy, and even in distress as you hit notes or miss a beat. The bosses are meant to be frightening and threatening as the weeks progress until the finale.

FNF is a unique retro game that lives up to the hype

Since the original prototype and demo were released in 2020, Friday Night Funkin’ has obtained cult status among lovers of vintage games. This popularity has single-handedly helped put Newgrounds back in the consciousness of the gaming world. It’s easy to see why as FNF is a simple yet fun game that offers an amazing musical experience. In fact, the soundtrack alone is nearly enough to recommend the game.

FNF is fun for those who want to beat the game in one go, rather than spend hours and weeks playing like adventure titles in a series. The way the game speeds up and gets harder in difficulty appeals to competitive retro gamers. Another great function is being able to choose between Story Mode and Free play mode to try to beat all the bosses.

Friday Night Funkin’ has room for personalization

This rhythm game is funded by donations, allowing the developers to accept mods and updates. There are other variations of Friday Night Funkin’, with different NPC bosses and music.

Users can even pitch ideas to developers with their own individual feedback. The Friday Night Funkin’ community shares different game lore as the official story is vague and up for interpretation. It will only take a few tries to beat the levels and unlock each week’s boss battle. However, the real charm of the game is being immersed in the FNF community and trying the mods.


  • Lightweight download with musical gameplay
  • Different NPC characters each round
  • Original songs with easy keyboard controls
  • Pre-existing community for mod downloads


  • Can lag and overlap scenes
  • No cutscenes to explain lore
  • Retro graphics can sometimes get old

Developer: Newgrounds

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