Game Review #338: Fox n Forests (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Chad M.
Developer: Bonus Level Entertainment, Independent Arts Software
Publisher: EuroVideo Medien
Category: Platformer, Action, Arcade
Release Date: 5.15.2018
Price (at time of review): $19.99
Buy Fox n Forests from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
Let’s Do The Foxtrot For A Bit
Retro-style games are all over the eShop, drawing everyone in with pure nostalgia from every little pixel. Some are great and stand the test of time, like the games from which they pull their likeness, and some fall by the wayside to be forgotten and never played again. The game that works hard to pull at our nostalgic heart strings this time is Fox n Forests, which is developed by German studio, Bonus Level Entertainment, and published by EuroVideo Medien.
Bonus Level went to crowdfunding to get their project brought to life. They used Kickstarter in 2016, where Bonus Level raised €107,875 ($122,152.80 USD) from 1,459 backers to fund the development of Fox n Forests. The game has now been brought over to my favorite system, the Switch. The Switch version of Fox n Forests sold more copies than other systems: three times more than PC and four times more than PlayStation 4. I’m late to the party, but better late than never—so let’s check it out!
Four Seasons to Control Us All
Rick, a mischievous fox, plays a trick on a bird. Consequently, the bird escorts Rick to the old Season Tree. There, the tree tasks Rick with the mission of recovering stolen bark to restore balance to the forest. While on this mission you’ll encounter friends and foes—more foes than friends—all while wielding a magical crossbow that not only allows you Daryl Dixon the hell out of evil creatures all over the forest, but also change the seasons. Will Rick be able to restore the balance to the forest while fattening his pockets along the way??? You’ll have to find out for yourself.
Outfox Creatures to Get All The Riches
Fox N Forests is an action platformer game with puzzle elements sprinkled throughout. This is one that you pick up quickly, but it will take a minute to really get your head around the gameplay. The controls are fairly simple: you move with the left stick, jump and double jump to reach high areas. You have the magical crossbow which allows you to shoot creatures from a distance, but you can also slash them in the air or while crouched down.
The magical bow also allows you to call upon its magical abilities to change the seasons in order to help you progress through the levels; for example, you could be in a forest in the middle of summer, jumping from tree to tree, fighting enemies and collecting coins, but then you come to a huge waterfall that you could never jump across, so, by raising the bow and calling upon its magic, you can change the season to winter, icing the water over and allowing you to simply run across it; or maybe you’re in an area that is in the springtime, but you find yourself in a cavern with no way to escape, so you can call upon the season of fall, and now, with huge leaves falling, you can platform up them to safety and continue your journey. Using this ability will consume your magic, and it will only last for a limited amount of time, so don’t be in a bad spot when it expires.
There’s also an RPG element to the game as yourself and a lot of your items can be upgraded through the shop, purchasing the upgrades with the coins you’ve collected. You can upgrade to a double-jump spin attack, a triple-shot, a downward thrust, and so on.
Here also lies my problem: the majority of the game is spent struggling with some awkward controls that I wish could’ve been polished up a bit, as Rick feels a bit limited in his attacks. There was an issue with shooting and then needing to quickly melee attack, and it didn’t respond, which happened enough for me to remember it. I think it stems from the melee and shoot button being together rather than separate, and it took me a minute to get used to it.
Now, back to things I like about the game as well as the gameplay. The stages here are not small, they’re actually pretty lengthy, which is most likely why there are only 6 stages, as they’re epic—as they should be! I was a little annoyed by the retro badger that I had to pay with my coins for a check point. I began not wanting to pay him, as I was being greedy and wanted to keep that coin I worked so hard to get; but dying and having to start all the way over was not a good feeling, so pay the jerk and move on with a little insurance.
This is a game designed to make you play through the same level multiple times, returning each time you get a new weapon in order to reveal new areas and collect the five magical seeds hidden in each stage—which are needed to unlock the next area, so always be on the lookout.
Audio & Visuals
The soundtrack is a catchy chiptune soundtrack with tons of humorous retro charm. You, of course, have all the sound effects, which are done very well. I’d say the audio is very strong throughout the game.
Fox n Forests has a 2-D 16-Bit style inspired by all-time classics like Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts, Wonder Boy in Monster World, and ActRaiser 2. It does well to look the part, and the switching of seasons is a nice visual touch. The characters are very well-designed, from Rick to all the enemies he’ll be facing, especially the very impressive-looking bosses. The levels are my personal favorite, as they’re designed very well, and they did well to make the levels all stand out from one another and not feel the same.
It’s A Wrap!!!
Fox n Forests is filled to the brim with retro gold, but there are some things I feel are lacking in the controls. If you can look past that—which I implore you to do—you will have a fun puzzle-platformer experience with a lot of good action. This is a solid game and was even brought to physical form by Strictly Limited Games (GOT MINE!) in a standard form and collector’s edition. If you missed that, then I’d recommend grabbing it in digital form.
As stated above, there was a limited edition physical release published by Strictly Limited Games. Although long since sold out, below is what was included in the set.
Buy Fox n Forests from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
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*Review Code Provided by Bonus Level