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Fox N Forests

Posted by GG Goblin On May - 29 - 2018

Foxy retro.

While there has always been a desire to revisit the memories of the past in videogames, with the current success of the indie gaming scene, you can’t move for games trying to channel the successes of games from videogame history. This is most apparent in the current crop of platforming games that are trying to relaunch the genre with promises of reminiscence. Some of these new platforming games take on the 3D genre with new, more modern tricks. Others take a more historical view, casting us back to a simpler time when we were all playing SNES or MegaDrive. Fox n Forests, from Bonus Level Entertainment, takes that view and offers an almost authentic 16-bit 2D platforming experience, invoking memories in the older gamers while introducing the younger generation to what was the golden age of platformers.

fnf1 (Copy)

Every platformer starts with a story, and Fox n Forests is no different. Here, you have Rick the wily Fox who is enlisted into saving the forest by a Partridge named Patty. There is a problem with the Season Tree that has thrown the forest into disarray, and it will be down to a healthy bit of platforming action to get things back to how they should be. As is often the case, the story doesn’t make a lot of sense, but then it doesn’t need to as it is only the vehicle for having the player take control of Rick the Fox and start jumping, slashing and shooting their way through the impressively large themed levels.

Platforming fans will be pleased to hear that Fox n Forests has the basics right. The controls are pretty much how you would expect, with a variety of different actions that are easy to remember and execute. The movement is fluid and the jumping, while being a little on the heavy side, is comfortable and forgiving.

However, Fox n Forests is more than just jumping from platform to platform, as there is also a more action element involved. Y’see, Rick is quite a handy Fox and is more than capable of taking care of himself with his crossbow. This weapon gives the Fox not only a ranged attack, useful for taking out critters from a distance, but also a more powerful melee attack. Both of these work perfectly well, although using a ranged attack does require Rick standing still, which is a bit odd. Both attacks are mapped to the same button, with the distance from the enemy deciding whether it be a ranged or melee attack.

fnf2 (Copy)

Further variety comes in the form of some new moves that players can buy for Rick, including a ground pound style move, and special attack potions that further mix up the combat and make dealing with the end of level bosses that bit easier. A special word has to go out to the bosses, each of which are grotesque and suitably foreboding. As is customary, there is a different way to defeat each of the bosses that ties in with the other special ability that Rick has.

Rick can change seasons. There we go, the cat is out of the bag now. While not being as all encompassing as the season changing abilities in certain other games, here in Fox n Forests, changing the season is still important. Each level has two possible seasons and the player can switch between them at will. As you can imagine, this can change the layout of the level completely, such as melting away ice or crowing new platforms to reach new levels. In a couple of levels, Rick will find himself flying with Patty and may even have to use the season switching to put out potentially harmful fires.

Fox n Forests has impressively large levels, with lots of fiendishly hidden collectibles. This is great for those who enjoy exploring, but for those who just want to progress, a certain amount of backtracking will be required simply to collect enough of the magic seeds to unlock the later levels. Add to that the chance of new abilities opening up whole new areas of a level, and players will quite possibly find themselves replaying areas more than once. How frustrating this might be would depend on the player.

When it comes to the presentation, Bonus Level Entertainment have nailed the retro vibe. The pixel art style is stunning, with some really beautiful backgrounds and nicely detailed sprites. The chiptune soundtrack would have fit perfectly back in the 16-bit era and is catchy enough to not feel out of place today.

fnf3 (Copy)

Fox n Forests manages to recreate that 16-bit action platformer vibe quite well. Rick is quite a capable Fox and has a nice selection of different moves when he needs them. There are plenty of collectibles and the regular gameplay is quite rewarding. To get the most out of the game will require extensive backtracking, which will frustrate some players. Without the backtracking and collectible finding, the game is quite short. Despite this, Fox n Forests feels like it has just been discovered in some lost warehouse where it has remained, gathering dust, since the 16-bit era. For a fairly authentic retro platformer, check out Fox n Forests.




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