Review: Fox n Forests (Switch) - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Friday, June 29, 2018

Review: Fox n Forests (Switch)

by Danny Bivens

Great classic 2D action that comes up JUST a little bit short.

Fox n Forests is a labor of love by developer Bonus Level Entertainment. They launched a Kickstarter for the game a few years ago with the goal of recreating a completely authentic16-bit feel for their project. While they succeeded on almost every aspect of this, there are a few issues that keep this title from being something really great.

Fox n Forests has players take on the role of Rick the fox. Along with a sometimes playable companion bird named Patty, it’s Rick’s job to help bring peace to the forest by defeating enemies in an attempt to get stolen magic tree bark back to the season tree. It’s not a super deep story, but the other dialog found throughout the game is charming and will bring a smile to your face.

Although there aren’t a whole lot of levels in Fox n Forests, the levels that are there are quite lengthy. To aid players in completing these meaty and challenging stages, Retro the Badger (a badger who is all about adding to his retro game collection, something I can appreciate!) comes to the rescue. For a small fee, players can choose to create a check point with Retro. The deeper you get into the stages, the more expensive the fee gets, but not prohibitively so. Of course, these are completely optional - which is great because skilled gamers can add some extra challenge to the game by simply avoiding these.

The controls are straight forward and easy to get the hang of. Being a 2D action/adventure game, Rick’s main attack is firing arrows by pressing Y (or A). Perhaps in an effort to prevent spamming this attack, if a player is moving while pressing Y, they will perform a melee attack. This adds an interesting caveat to the gameplay that limits (but doesn’t hinder) the way players will take out enemies. There are numerous upgrades to unlock throughout the experience including different arrow types and attacks. On top of all of this, players are able to perform a double jump and switch out arrow types on the fly.

The most interesting aspect of the game comes with the ability to alter seasons. This is done by the simple press of the ZR button which instantly initiates a screen swipe that changes the season. Season alteration is used in a variety of smart ways throughout the game. For example, switching from spring to winter will allow players to walk on ice to get to new areas that weren’t accessible when it was water. Additional platforms (sometimes depicted as leaves, or berries) give players access to reach new heights. It’s a really clever addition to the game and is implemented extremely well.

One of the first things you’ll notice about Fox n Forests are the visuals. Setting out to be an homage to Super Nintendo titles, the developers absolutely hit one out of the park here graphically. Colors are varied, animations are smooth and enemy designs are wonderful. In terms of character design (and overall gameplay experience), the bosses are well done. The sprites are huge and detailed and provide a somewhat puzzle-like element (albeit simple) to defeat them. The audio is also a high point in the game featuring some great retro inspired tracks that fit the title perfectly.

Although there are plenty of great things to like about this title, there is one aspect that brought the experience down a few notches. In game progression is locked by finding collectibles throughout the stages. If you don’t have a certain number of x-item, you are unable to move on to the next world - despite beating bosses. I can understand wanting to entice players to go back and find these hidden items, but for a lot of people this might be a potential turn off. The backtracking keeps Fox n Forests from becoming a great experience as opposed to just a good one. Throwing my amateur game developer hat in the ring here, maybe they should have made the boss battles locked behind these items instead…and this is why I’m not a game developer!

Fox n Forests is a meticulously well put together game. The visuals are a real treat, the game controls nicely and the ability to change the seasons on the fly is really amazing. Unfortunately, the need to backtrack really holds it back from being something great.

Final score: 7.5

Review code provided by the publisher

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