By Steve Baltimore / May 31st, 2018
|Title||Fox n Forests|
|Developer||Bonus Level Entertainment|
|Release Date||May 17th, 2018|
|Platform||PlayStation 4, XBox One, Switch|
Since I’ve been on a bit of an indie game kick lately, I thought it would be a good chance to check out a new Metroidvania title Fox n Forests. This one was clearly SNES inspired from the pixel art to the chiptune OST. While I love retro inspired games, they are not all created equally. Let’s see if this one holds up.
The story is as basic as they come. An evil force is playing havoc with the seasons in this world. This lead to the world being infested with monsters and mutants. A fox named Rick, who is not as crafty as the thinks he is, will soon be fighting these forces of evil to restore the seasons. This will be done with the help of magical crossbow given to him by the Guardian Tree, which begs him for help. Rick sees treasure and maybe a chance to eat Patty the Partridge if he completes his task, and thus our adventure begins.
Graphically Fox n Forests holds up really well. This is some of the best sprite work and animation I’ve seen in a long time. The enemy designs are all really great and all of the animations look like they stepped out of a high quality SNES game. The framerate runs pretty well on the PS4 most of the time, but you do get that authentic slow down when there are tons of things moving on the screen all at once. I wasn’t sure if this was on purpose or not cause it felt right in place here.
The sound effects here are all a pretty standard affair. The slashes and death sounds of the enemies get the job done, but that’s about it. The soundtrack makes up for this. These chiptunes would fit right in with some of the best tracks from the SNES era. I only wish there were more of them to enjoy, but while the stages were long in length, there wasn’t a lot of them. This means there aren’t a lot of tracks in the game, which is shame since the ones here are really great.
The main objective of the game is to retrieve bark from Guardian Tree so that the seasons can be restored. There are only 8 stages in the main game, but there are 4 more bonus levels that can be unlocked. Each stage is quite large with branching paths. They will contain collectibles, but you will not be able to obtain all of them in one run. These collectibles include cash for buying upgrades to your weapons and health, items to open new stages, and shards to upgrade your magic. When you complete an area and return the bark to the Guardian Tree, she will grant you a new weapon. These will not only be very useful in combat but will help open new areas of each level to explore.
The major mechanic in this game is the ability to change the season. This is done during levels to solve simple puzzles and plays a major role in the boss battles. The effect of changing the season will vary from freezing lakes to making paths to growing new leaves to use as stepping stones. Your magic will deplete the entire time you have the season changed, so you will have to keep an eye on it. Using weapons other than your standard crossbow will deplete this gauge as well. While this was an interesting way to access new paths during levels, the boss battles were made much more interesting with this mechanic. One battle had you shoot icicles so they would land on a boss’ head. Then you would have to make it summer to melt them and back to winter freeze them in their tracks. I enjoyed figuring out the tricks to winning battles, but if you’re in hurry the game will give you hints if you lose.
Fox n Forests has some issues but I can’t say the game isn’t enjoyable. The two flying stages in the game are pretty annoying since you die in one hit, but at least they give a good amount of checkpoints. You do have to spend gold to use them throughout the game, but its not enough to make it annoying. The melee combat is a bit finicky. It seems to kinda work when it wants to at times, when you get the spread arrows it pretty much fixes this issues but its annoying at the start of the game. I think the most glaring issue with this title is its length. You can beat the entire game in around 5 hours and collect everything in around 7. This makes the $19.99 price tag a bit hard to digest, but if you love 16 bit adventures and Metroidvania style titles, you’d likely find a lot to enjoy here.
Game provided by the publisher for review purposes.
16 bitBonus Level EntertainmentFox n ForestsMetroidvania