FixFox – Review
Follow Genre: Adventure, Puzzle
Developer: Rendlike
Publisher: Joystick Ventures
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

FixFox – Review

Site Score
6.0
Good: Cutesy, charming
Bad: Bland, underutilized mechanics
User Score
7.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Fetch quests are one of the most decried gimmicks in all of gaming due to the unengaging nature of handling menial tasks. FixFox is a recently released game which centers on these types of quests, sending players on a back-and-forth between locations throughout the whole game. Does it manage to subvert expectations and make it work?  

Story

FixFox story takes place in a futuristic world where humanity has conquered space by becoming capable of hibernating as a byproduct of splicing with animal genes. Following these events, a line of work fixing the advanced machinery required for space travel was born, dubbing those partaking in it as SPACRS. Vix is one of such mechanics, tasked with fixing the old communication beacons on a faraway planet due to her affinity for ancient gadgets, but also due to her less than stellar job record.

However, during the trip to said planet, a plasma storm crash-lands Vix’ ship, leaving her stranded in a foreign land. To make things worse, Vix’s overprotective AI-powered backpack ejected all of its tools during the landing to reduce their weight, effectively making her unable to do their job. Luckily, Vix soon meets some of the friendly robotic inhabitants of the planet, willing to aid her in her search for the beacons, their keeper, and a way to leave the planet.

The game’s story is one of its main focuses, making gameplay secondary to pushing along the plot. As the story progresses, the players will be introduced to new characters with whom Vix will get involved. However, these characters are often not properly developed, relying on exposition dumps that fail to make the player engage with them. The only two outliers whose story is better paced are Vix herself and Astor, a human character who’s introduced early into the story. Astor mainly serves as a sort of deuteragonist. Even then, the story often gets sidetracked by the constant interruptions in Vix’s journey, making it messier than need be.

Graphics

FixFox’s graphics lean on a retrofuturistic aesthetic made up of solid pixel art combined with 3D models for certain environmental features. While the quality of said pixel art is rather good, the game’s top-down perspective does it a disservice when it comes to the character models, which are only ever seen from above, making most NPCs indistinguishable. On top of this, while the different areas of the game are unique in their own right, the space within them is rather bland and repetitive due to them being randomly generated.

Sound

The game’s sound is rather decent, featuring a good soundtrack. Sadly the quality of the sound effects is bogged down due to them being repeated to exhaustion. Despite the overall quality, the different areas seem to only have limited music loops which endlessly cycle without change. This also applies to the handful of sound effects featured in the game, which aren’t particularly plentiful and overstay their welcome after a handful of hours.

Gameplay

FixFox is an adventure game featuring light puzzles sprinkled throughout the experience. Players will be mostly tasked with exploring the handful of unique locations on planet Karamel, going from site to site fixing machinery, and obtaining whichever McGuffin is required to progress the plot. These machinery repairs are done through simple inventory puzzles where different parts will require items with different properties, such as flat items to open screws or round ones to act as gears.

In order to obtain these different items, players will need to loot pirate stashes spread throughout the world, each containing a random assortment of trinkets. Alongside this, doing random repair jobs throughout the world will also reward players with some more items, often of higher tiers than those found in stashes. While these tiers are generally irrelevant for fixes, they do limit which items can be traded for others, as you’re only able to do so with those of the same tier.

Upon obtaining new items, players will also need to go to the Oracles in order to learn their properties. This is an added step of busywork that is only required for an item’s first appearance, never coming up again. Cases of underutilized crammed mechanics are rather common in FixFox, with things such as zip-lines being some of the best examples.

Said zip-lines are a method of fast travel unlocked late into the second area of the game, allowing players to use zip-line stations to quickly traverse to other linked stations. However, some of these stations need to first be activated, limiting their initial use. Although this would be an alright idea in order to force players to explore, it is rendered moot by Drone Taxi, another fast travel method, being unlocked right before zip-lines. Unlike zip-lines, Drone Taxi allows players to teleport to previously visited locations. Although it is initially locked in new areas, it soon unlocks once the player finds three points of interest within it. This limitation is much lighter than the one for zip-lines, allowing for unlimited fast travel at any time.

Another good example of pointless mechanics comes with the possibility to alert the Order or the Pirates by fixing too many machines or looting too many stashes in a row. Should this happen, whichever faction has been triggered will appear at Vix’s location, stealing some of her carried items. However, this is easily preventable by interacting with the radios scattered throughout the world, capable of resetting the fix or stash counters. Additionally, these counters are also reset whenever important story events occur, rendering them nearly harmless.

Due to how easily this mechanic can be avoided, another “issue” arises subtracting from the game’s overall difficulty. Players who spend a few minutes gathering items will almost never be missing items needed for repairs. While said repairs are one of the game’s main mechanics, they are also largely repetitive, often requiring the same solutions and items. By allowing the player to stock up on almost any item without consequence, any challenge is removed.

Conclusion

FixFox is a cutesy adventure game with little in the gameplay department, relying on an overabundance of underdeveloped mechanics utilized over and over throughout its 10+ hour duration. Players looking for any sort of puzzle challenge will not find it here, although those interested in a calm and simple experience will have something to look forward to. Sold for $14.99/£11.39/€12,49, it is recommended to wait for a sale, or perhaps watch some gameplay before purchasing.

Personal Opinion

“While I don’t hate FixFox I certainly found it tremendously bland. There is barely anything to engage with, puzzles are too easy and the story has little to offer. Even the touted reparations, which should be the game’s main mechanic, are incredibly simple and repetitive after a little bit. It felt like taking the time to loot stashes and do random repairs was punished by making any and all story repairs negligible. What got especially repetitive after a short time were the constant fetch quests split into four parts. Assembling giant robots, which could only perform a handful of scripted interactions, by finding four pieces in four clearly marked locations got old really fast. The same goes for finding four places to install AIs, place range extenders, or whatever the game could come up with. While the game can be charming at times with its gimmicks, it is sad to see how underutilized things like eating were, reduced to just something to do upon arriving in a new area in order to progress the story.”

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Rating: 7.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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FixFox - Review, 7.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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