FOX n FORESTS – Review
Follow Genre: Action Adventure Platformer
Developer: Bonus Level Entertainment,
Independent Arts Software
Publisher: EuroVideo Medien
Platform: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4
Tested on: PC

FOX n FORESTS – Review

Site Score
6.7
Good: Really spot on 16-bit graphics. They are a treat.
Bad: A game forcing you to repeat the game before you can continue is always a bad thing.
User Score
6.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Isn’t it great that so many marveled kids decided to become game developers? Just people with 16 and 8-bit games as their first loves. It’s like stretching the years that a lot of gamers see as ”the good old times” all the way out to 2018, surprising you with nostalgia when you least expect it. It’s like seeing an old friend you haven’t seen in a long while or tasting that one dish your grandmother used to make again. Take one look at FOX n FORESTS, and you know it’s one of those treats.

Story

In FOX n FORESTS, an unexpecting fox called Rick tries to sneak up on a fat bird called Patty the Patridge. Yet the juicy piece of chick spots him very quickly since Rick is as bad at hiding as he would be in the Dora cartoons. Patty starts scolding Rick, making clear she does not appreciate being eaten, but then quickly turns around to invite Rick on a quest that involves riches and food beyond imagination. It seems like there is trouble in bird-eating paradise because the magic almighty Seasons Tree is in desperate need of help. An unknown evil force has taken over his forests, trying to create a fifth season. To save everybody, the Seasons Tree grants Rick a magic melee crossbow with the power to change the seasons at his command. A useful trick in his coming quest to retrieve 4 pieces of magic bark that were stolen from the tree, a useful trick indeed.

Graphics

Oh. My. God. The graphics couldn’t have come much closer to all the 16-bit SEGA games from back then. Even the explosion when you destroy an enemy is so much like pretty much every beautiful game back then. If you play this on a dusty old buzzing square TV, you might not even see the difference from an original SEGA game. It’s all so colorful with pixelicious animations. The only point of critique is that the levels are quite long and there is barely any difference in objects being used which makes the platforms look repetitive, especially when replaying the level. The fact that each level is its own unique little world doesn’t make much difference in this.

Sound

When listening to the sounds, the effects are rather on point. Classic jump, slash, kill and ”you died” sounds will be available throughout the game. The music, sadly, is less nice. It’s still retro, but the amount of short looping music is too damned high. No 20-second song has ever been good enough to not be boring after hearing it a couple of times in a row. This is a common theme throughout the game, and maybe very influential in making the game feel repetitive

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Gameplay

FOX n FORESTS is a retro-looking 2D platformer with action and adventure elements. On a quest for magic bark through 3 levels per ”season area”, you will shoot and slash enemies with your magic crossbow and melee weapon. Of those 3 levels, two are rather long themed levels such as a ”Fall Level” with a Halloween-like feeling or a tower filled with contraptions where you have to go up all the time. The third level of each area is a boss fight.

Throughout the entire game, you have the ability to change the seasons. Basically, this means the entire level- and enemy-layout changes as soon as you use your magic bow to change to something different. As an example, in the ”Fall Level” you will change things to summer and vice versa. Making dangerous birds just little idle baby birds and hiding the platforms on trees behind a thick bush of leaves. If you use this, your mana will change while being in the alternate season, meaning some platform routes and stuff you can do are limited by a meter running back. The meter can be filled by simply waiting without spending any mana, or by picking up mana crystals scattered across the level. Staying in the season that’s there when you enter the level does not drain any mana.

The levels are quite long, the boss fights rather short. Not everything feels as well placed as other classic games which might kill you at times or make you do a sequence over till you get it right. Most of the areas you are in feel rather spacious and there are some secret routes and spaces to be found. The most annoying thing about this and the game, in general, is that at the end of each boss you will get a special arrow type such as fire arrows. At this point, the game forces you to go back to the levels you’ve just beaten to find enough ”magic seeds” that allow you to unlock the next level. You see, some secret routes and magic seeds can only be reached with certain colors of special arrows, making the game feel cheap in (re)play value. You can’t force players to do something like that, forcing is bad. Especially when it adds nothing new to the levels but treasure hunting. To double up on this feature, only when you find all the magic seeds in all the levels, you can complete an entire fifth season, which is essentially what the game is about. It’s a design flaw that creates less work for the development team, but boring gameplay for the players.

As a last addition, you can find limited mana crystals and grindstones (about 2 per level) that allow you to make upgrades for a stronger melee attack and more mana. Coins you find from enemies and treasures are used in these things as well, but can also be used for health upgrades and special moves (special moves can only be unlocked after each melee damage increase and vice versa). The damage helps a bit towards tougher enemies as your progress, the abilities feel a bit like DLC you could use at all times. Not the greatest upgrades in gaming history.

Conclusion

FOX n FORESTS looks and plays like a classic retro game a lot. Yet the design that forces players to go back into their previously finished levels makes it feel cheap, and the level design isn’t great either. Its highest value lies in new nostalgia, which it has a lot of. The game itself, however, is not as fun as it could have been due to the decisions that have been made throughout the design progress. Enjoyable, but not too great.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
FOX n FORESTS - Review, 6.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Pim Hoogeveen
Pim Hoogeveen


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