A super nostalgic retro style game that throws you straight back to your childhood.

Fox N Forests, the uniquely designed 16-Bit platformer from Bonus Level Entertainment, really hits the mark as far as far as retro-inspired games go. The epitome of retro gaming, with a refreshingly original theme. Following ‘Rick’ the fox through the game, playing in a series of authentic old-school levels with the interesting twist that Rick can change the seasons, giving you fresh surroundings which help you to move forward and reach hidden treasures whilst defeating enemies along the way.

If you are a fan of a 16-Bit action platformer, with the simplistic controls and basic storyline that comes with the authentic games of your childhood; this is absolutely a game for you. It doesn’t necessarily have much depth as games go, but it is an inspired twist on the classics. There is very little bad about this game, it offers a good range of challenges with regular combat and stimulating boss fights, which require a high level of skill to complete. The biggest downfall is that it gets a little tedious once you’ve run out of magical season changes and have to wait for more. Especially if you’ve landed yourself at the bottom of a chasm and need a magical beanstalk to escape. It would have been nice to see multiple seasons per level as well, as the main feature of the game and the stand out point which separates it from the ever-growing crowd of 2D platformers. This distinctive feature simply doesn’t get utilized effectively. Not to mention the rapid loss of mana when in a different season leaves your character stranded on occasion, waiting for the bar to reload.

As you can see there are a few ways in which the game disappoints, but for the most part, it is innovative and individual as a modern retro game goes. The characters are humorously named and there are always extra bits and pieces to return to the level to do once you have developed your skills and moved forward within the game. There are also excellent bonus levels which can be accessed once you have collected the required loot, which is hidden in all sorts of places. There is also a range of purchasable items in the lobby area of the game, things such as potions, weapons, armour and skills which will improve the playability of the game.

Classically designed, Fox n Forests has all the characteristics familiar to the avid retro gamer, but with the added benefits we have become accustomed to when using a modern console. I’m sure everyone remembers the days before auto-save when games such as The Lion King would reduce even the best of us to tears of frustration. Fox n Forests allows not only for auto-saves but also manual purchased saves, bought from ‘Retro’ the badger using coins collected when killing enemies. You are then able to respawn only a few moments before the death. Even though each level is comparatively short, this is immensely helpful.

One big trial in the game, that adds to the frustration you’re bound to experience, is that it requires re-visiting levels repeatedly to complete the game. I am not always a completionist and in this case, I grew bored of the repetition. There are secret areas, special skills and bonus levels that all need to be completed, and this isn’t possible without collecting all of the correct loot. It is most definitely a challenging feature of the game, but for many players will be the crowning glory that keeps them involved.

Every level has its own challenges and although the game is fairly repetitive, as is the nature of these types of game, there is still a decent range of enemies and landscapes which all have their own requirements. The enemies are always changing, as are the seasons, and sometimes the only way to complete the level involves a creative mind, looking at problem-solving with the powers provided, climbing beanstalks covered in berries, hopping from falling leaf to falling leaf and even freezing bees hives and waterfalls. There is plenty to do to keep your interest, and with each level having a different pattern, aim and season, it isn’t a game you easily tire of. Another notable feature of the Fox N Forests is the artwork, which completely embodies the style that inspired the game.

Overall I would completely recommend Fox N Forests to anyone who enjoys a classic platformer, however, whilst it is thoroughly enjoyable, the game is somewhat repetitive and did not go far to differentiate itself from other games of its kind. It is made difficult by the endless list of collectables required to actually complete the game, but as long as you aren’t looking for a quick and easy completion, it is definitely satisfying.