Walking through the crowded halls of the Pax East 2018 show floor, many throwback retro platformers briefly caught my eye, but a big stand out for me personally was developer Bonus Level Entertainment’s Fox n Forests.
The way Fox n Forests stands out at first glance is that it was clear to me upon first sight that this team was aiming for a specific feeling, and calling back to games like Enix’s Actraiser series and some Capcom’s platforming titles from the Super Nintendo like Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts and Aladdin. It’s not just a throwback, but a throwback to something direct. From this preview build I played, I can say that Bonus Level has done a good job of paying homage to those games. The sprite work is detailed and colored in that style, backgrounds are layered and dynamic, and the soundtrack hits those nostalgic notes while still maintaining its own identity.
Like the games it’s inspired by, Fox n Forests is a 2D platformer with some lite role-playing game elements, but it has its own twists.
Playing as an agile fox, you will be challenged with quick and involved platforming thanks to what the game does with a seasonal weather system that gives you the ability to change the seasons at will.
See a fast moving watermill you would like to jump on to get across? Change the season to Winter to freeze the water to keep it still, and you are on your way. This will not only change the the current environment, but it will also reveal and add on new items, platforms, and obstacles that give the game an energetic momentum and eclectic design.
Combat is also strong in Fox n Forests, with you interchanging on the fly between a sword attack and a crossbow that has a variety of arrow types. The lite RPG elements come into play with the equipment and items you arm yourself with that will give a stat buff to your fox. Unfortunately I cannot speak too much on this aspect of the game as I wasn’t able to spend much time experimenting with this facet of it in my demo.
I played the Nintendo Switch version of Fox n Forests which felt right at home on the platform. I did notice that there was a split second delay from when I hit the command to change seasons and it actually changing seasons. Hopefully this is resolved in the final build. Fox n Forests is scheduled to release simultaneously on Nintendo Switch, Xbox, PlayStation 4, and PC this May.