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FOX n FORESTS review
by GameItAll

Among indie developers, Retro inspired games can be treated in two different ways, either a cheap cash grab that is set to pray on suckers looking for a nostalgic trip to the past, or as a love note to the things that made the by-gone of gaming so great.

Luckily, Fox’n’Forests from Bonus Level Entertainment and Publisher EuroVideo falls into the later of that as a classic 2D platformer which shares a lot of similarities to classics such as Super Ghost’n’Ghouls, Castlevania and Actraiser, while doing more than enough to make it stand out for a modern audience.

Fox’n’Forests focuses on a Fox named Rick who enters a mysterious Forest after chasing his prey. After failing to catch his food, he meets a Partridge name Patty who guides him to the great old Season Tree who tasks him with finding the bark that was stolen from him and has thrown the seasons of the forests out of whack.

Rick is then given the power to control the seasons, as well as a bad ass crossbow/bayonet weapon, and he sets off through the forest to find the missing bark. While like most 16-bit games, the plot itself isn’t anything amazing, it does enough to get you out the door and on to a season changing adventure.

Like most 16-bit era games, the real joy of Fox’n’Forests comes from its gameplay. Rick has all the basics – Double Jumps, bayonet attacks, cross-bow bolts and various other moves you’d expect from a 2D platformer, however one annoyance is that Rick can only shoot while standing still. That being said, it is something that you can get over as the game give some tight controls and the ability to upgrade Rick to have new moves and upgrades that make it a minor inconvenience.

The level design to Fox’n’Forests is easily one of the bests done for a retro inspired title as each level has multiple branching paths in a similar fashion to classic Sonic the Hedgehog. Each path gives a different experience to a level, offering hidden rewards that can be used to help Rick by trading with Patty. There is one drawback to this however we’ll touch on this in a bit.

Rick’s powers to change the seasons is one of the more interesting mechanics in this game. While the season change is set per level, it offers new ways to solve puzzles and deal with threats, for example, the first level allows you to change the season to Winter to turn the water to ice, allowing you to stand on it and make new paths to your objectives.

The end of level bosses are also a real treat, however a bit easy. Each of the bosses use a season change gimmick to help defeat them, like the first world features a giant frog who fires blobs into the sky, changing the season to Winter freezes the blobs and hitting them with your bayonet launches it back at him. They’re fun little challenges that gives a payoff to most of the trouble you go through in the game.

While most of the game is linear, Fox’n’Forests does have a problem with padding thanks to force back-tracking which makes that great level design I mentioned a bit of a chore. Players need a specific amount of saplings before moving on to each area in the game, most of the time, these can only be acquired after upgrades have been purchased or new powers were found.

Fox’n’Forests is very impressive for a 16-bit indie title, as its artwork is so well done that I could have mistaken it for a classic that I sworn I played on my Super Nintendo re-released for PC and modern consoles. Throughout the game I got the nostalgic feeling of enjoying “The Magical Quest – Staring Micky Mouse” thanks to the game’s backgrounds, animations and music.

While there is little replay-value, Fox’n’Forests is a fun 16-bit adventure game that is worth a playthrough.
«Blew my mind»
«Can’t stop playing»

Other reviews2

Translated by
Microsoft from Deutsch
In short: A really great retro platformer with unique Mechanics, which is great reminiscent of the 16-Bit era of the Consoles, but unfortunately also revives many Problems of that time. If you're unsure, wait for a few Patches (if any come that address this). This is not a fast-blown review of a spontaneous Purchase; I'm a Kickstarter backer. So far I have spent only just over an Hour in the Game – played the first World including Boss 2x – and will wait first, because at the moment there are many small Fruit moments. On a Positive note, there is the Graphics, the Music and also the Sound Effects, all of which sound and appear quite "authentic." Negative to mention the Graphics, which once again appear in coarse Pixelectic, but then move the Pixels freely as if they were not Pixels at all. I don't like anything like that at all, even if it naturally avoids ugly "jumps" in slow-moving Backgrounds, for example. But my Main Criticism is the Control: Almost everything happens with a short Delay, but you can look past it or what you can learn. What is much worse is that almost all Actions – whether Attack or Change of Seasons – briefly freeze while Opponents move on. The Melee Attack quickly becomes an Absurdity without an Upgrade, as you are actually always hit. Attacks in the Jump quickly activate too late or not at all. Something like that doesn't work at all in a Platformer, but it's also a Thing that got a lot of Games wrong at the time. The hit boxes are still mentioned, i.e. when you can meet or hit Enemies. Something is completely crooked or just misdesigned. I was hit more than once, for example, by projectiles shot out of Tree Stumps, which were actually far too far away. At the same time, it is sometimes impossible to meet Enemies on a Hill or on a Sloping. That should not be the case. Another annoying But less problematic thing is "Blind Jumps." Who this Thing is not a Term, it's Basically Leaps into The Unknown because you can't see what to expect. The Game seems to make an unceasing blind leap. Of course, this automatically rewards the fact that you remember the structure of the Levels, etc., but there is a Lot of Frustration quickly, for example, if you have grazed a bonus path (actually almost always a Detour) and then fall into the Hole (or Water) and everything was in vain. Where we are at Holes: The Fox can't swim, presumably he's a Belmont. Of Course, you can send the Landscape into Winter, but that can only be done if you stand on solid Ground. This is effectively a Design Decision and I don't want to see it as a Mistake or a Problem, it just immensely disrupts the Flow of The game. And finally a Word about the Flow of The game: Already Half of the Opponents in the first Level have to be so robust that you have 12 (!) Hit with the Crossbow needed (whereby you can only fire 3 Arrows at a time)? This only slows down unnecessarily, because it is not exactly a Challenge to stop a bit in front of the Opponent (because he turns around in fixed Position) and then spam the Attack button for 5-6 Seconds. Overall, I have to say that I actually like the Game, but the Controls somehow ruin the Experience. Minor Carvers and temporarily suspended Music I find less bad. If you are looking for a Kind of animal Castlevania, you will definitely have fun here somehow, but if you are heading Towards the casual level, you should perhaps wait for a few Patches. Oh and finally one thing like this: Why can't you finish the Game via the Main Menu? Am I just too stupid and don't find the Option for it? Or do you absolutely have to use Alt+F4, because there is no "Quitting" on Consoles?
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