When I first took a look at Fox n Forests, it took me back to fun platformers in the early 90s such as The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse on the SNES. While it’s not as polished as that classic, it still turned out to be a pretty enjoyable experience and comes recommended for those looking to spend some time with a good platformer title.
Players are placed in the shoes or should I saw paws of a fox named Rick who reluctantly teams up with a partridge named Patty to help the wise season tree after it has pieces of his bark stolen. Why is this so bad you ask? Well thanks to the pieces being gone, the forest and some of the animals within are now thrown into disarray, and it’s up to you to help Rick return things to normal. The tree grants you a magic crossbow and the ability to switch the seasons to aid you in your quest.
Being a 2D platformer, you’ll need good and simple controls to get through it, and luckily these happen to be good enough to get things done. Here you get the classic jump and double jump, ranged attacks from your crossbow, and some melee attacks. Then there’s the season change ability that’s pretty neat, as it comes in handy when coming across certain obstacles and bosses. A good example is one where you come across a giant lake you can’t pass, but if you change the season to winter, the water is frozen and you can walk over it. There’s also a fun part where there’s a boss you can fight that you’ll have to use the season of fall to make strong winds to blow it away into some spikes on the wall.
While I love the classic platforming, the cool season change power, and the retro visuals and sounds, it’s not without problems. The first thing you’ll notice when you play is that it’s not a run and gun shooter like Mega Man, as Rick’s crossbow doesn’t shoot really fast, nor can you jump and shoot at the same time. Instead when you jump and attack, he does a melee move that will frustrate most who play as it results in a lot of cheap hit moments. Also, the jump movements feel a bit laggy and stiff at the same time, which causes you to miss the mark on crucial jumps at times that can be annoying as well.
Probably the biggest issue that most will have with this game is the progression, or should I say the backtracking that comes with it. There’s four worlds you have to fight through, but you can’t just play through them in any order or way you like. As you unlock new skills, you have to go back to the ones you’ve beaten with your new powers in order to gather enough magical seeds to unlock the next world. It wouldn’t be so bad if all of them required nearly the same amount to unlock, but when one world needs only two seeds and another needs 24, that’s when it becomes a bit problematic. Some won’t mind the backtracking as it is kind of cool using new abilities to unlock new areas to explore, but others may think differently.
All in all, Fox n Forests is still a pretty fun platformer despite the backtracking and other minor issues. If you’re into pixelated classics or grew up with some of them like I did, then any season is the perfect one to see what this sly fox is all about.