I’m a sucker for retro games. My first console was the NES, followed by the SNES and so on and so forth. When I first started playing FOX n FORESTS, a 16-bit platformer in the vein of Castlevania that was funded on Kickstarter back in 2016, it took me back to those glory days. The story is minimal but the gameplay is interesting. There’s an interesting weather changing mechanic. Upgrading Rick the Fox became addictive. I was having a blast. The downside to all this? It was over before I knew it.
You take on the role of Rick, a wisecracking Fox that agrees to save the seasons for an old tree that has lost his precious bark, as long as Rick gets to eat his companion Patty the Partridge that will accompany him on his quest (don’t worry he doesn’t eat Patty). The story really isn’t important, it’s the gameplay that will hook you.
Rick comes equipped with a magic crossbow that can be used for ranged and close up combat. It can be upgraded along with Rick, who can have increased health, mana and access to a double jump as long as you have the coin to spare. The crossbow also has the ability to switch between two seasons per level. For instance, you could be in a summer level and switch the weather to winter so you can cross a patch of water that’s now frozen, or put some bees to sleep so they’re hibernating and you can sneak by. You have a limited amount of time before your mana runs out and you have to switch back to the original season you started in, but you can use this ability pretty frequently. This weather changing dynamic makes the levels more varied, allowing you to access certain areas in levels that you couldn’t before if you’re looking to go for 100% completion. There are some shooter type levels peppered throughout where you fly on Patty’s back and have to switch between the seasons on the fly to avoid giant firewalls or other hazards you come across.
The graphics look great for a 16-bit game, with interesting areas to explore, enemies to battle and boss monsters (that are a bit too easy once you figure out their patterns) to conquer. The music is light-hearted and fits the retro aesthetic the developers were going for perfectly. FOX n FORESTS feels like it could have come from the SNES or Sega Genesis library. Props to developer Bonus Level Entertainment for pulling this off.
It’s a shame it’s so short (my first playthrough was around 4 hours) because FOX n FORESTS has some great weather changing gameplay but it’s hindered by its limited replay value. It’s enjoyable while it lasts, I just wish there was more of it. – NVJ
FOX n FORESTS is now available on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC & MAC
Nintendo Switch review code provided by Stride PR