FOX n FORESTS is a game that took me by surprise and in a really good way, because I had no idea what I was getting into when I started playing. I knew that it was a pixel-art action-platformer about a fox with a crossbow and that is about it, I knew nothing more than that. FnF starts off pretty slow, which almost totally turned me off to the game, but after the first boss, it opens up a lot.
The attack options you have to start with are so limited that it’s borderline annoying, but that changes after not too long. You have to buy your double jump attack which seems a little asinine, like something that you just should have had anyway. Only being able to shoot while standing on the ground also seemed weird at first and I had to get used to it. What keeps this from getting grating and annoying is the fact that the level design is built around it. The levels aren’t built the same way that something like, say, Mega Man is built because it’s not trying to be that, it does its own thing and I applaud that. You can also change seasons in the level at any given time (for short bursts) to find platforms or remove obstacles. It’s a pretty neat mechanic that’s reminiscent of light world/dark world stuff you’d see in A Link To The Past. This game takes a lot of small things from other games and puts its own twist on it, and it really is just charming and warms the heart.
The story for the game is fairly simple, you’re tasked with finding out the mystery of the fifth season. It’s a good excuse for the season changing mechanic, at its core, and leads to some fairly clever and witty writing between characters. This whole game in general is just heart-warming and fun, even when it’s fairly difficult.
Force of nature is bad, you are good but sly, cue clever quips and mild character conflict, you get the picture.
The graphics, despite being pixel are, which is something that I love, leave something to be desired when it comes to enemy models and some NPC models. They just don’t feel very inspired and some of them seem straight-up lazy, but the environments and boss sprites are GORGEOUS. I love all of the boss fights in this game, and the music that accompanies them is also fantastic, the kind of stuff I would actually listen to in my spare time. It’s another game that’s in the same vein as Shovel Knight in that it clearly shows its roots, but doesn’t let them define it, and gives you something unique and refreshing to play in 2018. Constantly unlocking new arrows for your crossbow and passive upgrades to assist you in levels feels great. I’m always so excited when I can afford a new skill that sounds awesome and I finally get to put it to use in a new level. That, and going back to old levels with new skills in order to find more hidden collectibles is just fun, I love hunting for secrets and 100% completion bonuses.
FnF was a delightful trip down memory lane and I highly recommend that everyone give it a try. It’s accessible to everyone, though there are a couple of jokes in text that might go over some younger kids’ heads, it’s perfect for all ages.
I mean come on, I was playing Duke Nukem: Time To Kill when I was 6, your kid can play this. And they can be glad that they’re not playing the games I had to slog through as a little boy.
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