FOX n FORESTS (PC) Review

By Colin Beauchamp 07.07.2018

Review for FOX n FORESTS on PC

Despite the large number of 2D platformers available on the market, there's always a chance for one to offer some kind of interesting central mechanic to set it apart from the rest. Any platformer can be enjoyable even if it isn't necessarily unique, but having a truly interesting core mechanic can take it to the next level. FOX n FORESTS offers the ability to let you change seasons during a level at will, but is this idea (as well as the actual platforming) executed well enough to make the game worth playing?

When starting up FOX n FORESTS, the first thing that becomes immediately clear is just how charming it is. From the gorgeous, detailed pixel art, to the wonderful soundtrack, this absolutely delivers in the presentation department. After a short introductory cut-scene, you will be ready to start playing.

Once started, gamers might find the controls difficult to grasp. The main character, Rick the Fox, uses a magical crossbow as his primary weapon, which has both ranged and melee capabilities. When starting out, though, the move-set is slightly limited, with the ability to shoot arrows being a slow way to take out enemies, not to mention that you can only do it when standing still. As progress is made, however, you will be able to buy and acquire new types of arrows and new melee attacks, leading to a versatile move-set that is entertaining to utilise.

Screenshot for FOX n FORESTS on PC

The biggest draw, though, is the season switching mechanic. Each level takes place during a certain season, and you have the ability to change this season whenever desired, at the cost of losing mana whenever this ability is active. Besides affecting the beautiful aesthetics, changing seasons has gameplay effects, as well. One level takes place during the Spring, and changing to Winter will cause a river to freeze over and make a pathway, as an example. Mechanics introduced due to this ability are almost never repeated between levels, which makes each one feel refreshingly unique.

The gracefulness of season switching leads to platforming that is pleasantly experimental and a joy to play. Despite the overall pace being somewhat slow, everything flows together so well that you hardly notice it. Each level is also filled with collectibles that have different uses, such as collecting ore that goes towards expanding the mana meter, therefore, letting players switch seasons for longer periods of time and use more special attacks.

In fact, there's too much incentive to grab collectibles, and this leads to the biggest problem, which is an overreliance on back-tracking. When completing a world, you can't simply advance to the next one; instead, you will have to collect a certain number of special seeds to progress. At first, the number of seeds required is fair enough, but as you get further and further into the game, it becomes progressively more annoying.

Screenshot for FOX n FORESTS on PC

As it turns out, there is no indicator or anything of the sort to tell where items are in FOX n FORESTS. It would be a bit much to expect a full map of each level, but it would have been highly appreciated if there was at the very least some kind of hint system to point you in the general direction of where items are - because to the game's credit, and simultaneously it's disadvantage, these items are hidden extremely well. As a result, you are likely going to end up bumbling your way through each level, hoping that you will eventually find something instead of going through the same sequence three times to make absolutely sure nothing was missed.

Again, the amount of seeds required to progress becomes obnoxious the later into the game you get, to the point where you have to find 24 out of 30 available seeds to move on. You can't even collect all items in a level on the first run of that world, which makes the back-tracking feel even more shoehorned in, since progression based "upgrades" in this case are merely variations of magic arrows that activate different switches, unlike a proper Metroidvania where you might get some kind of triple jump upgrade to access otherwise inaccessible platforms, for example. It comes off as incohesive, as if it was done solely to add padding.

Screenshot for FOX n FORESTS on PC

This is perhaps understandable on paper, since there are only eight main levels (two of which are side-scrolling shoot 'em ups), which would lead to an even shorter experience without mandatory back-tracking. However, each level is long and fleshed out enough (except perhaps for the shoot 'em up stages, which are understandably shorter, which is perhaps for the better since they are also the weakest levels) that the quality of said levels would make up for the length. There's already an incentive for collecting seeds even without the progress gate, said incentive being unlockable bonus levels that open up after collecting all the seeds in a world. The existence of there already being an optional incentive just makes the forced one that much more unnecessary. Collecting items to get the most out of the level design is enjoyable when doing it for that reason specifically, but collecting items to advance ends up being a chore.

Despite that, though, this is solid otherwise. When you are going through new levels, it's a really nice experience! The level design is so well thought out, and there's the perfect amount of challenge to keep things interesting. You can only switch between two seasons per level, but the game gets so much mileage out of these two seasons each time that it's enough to be fleshed out. It's just a shame that the back-tracking elements break the flow so badly between each world.

Screenshot for FOX n FORESTS on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

FOX n FORESTS has plenty of creative platforming and interesting mechanics. Sadly, a huge portion of the game is spent mindlessly searching for an irritating number of collectibles to be able to progress. If the number of required collectibles was lowered, or there was a more convenient way to locate these collectibles, then the result could have been a truly special 2D platformer. That said, it's still a good time nonetheless, and is something that 2D platforming fans should perhaps check out, if you don't mind some tedium.

Developer

Bonus Level Entertainment

Publisher

EuroVideo Medien

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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