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Made using UNITY this game, FOX n FORESTS, is just about as retro as it can get. Blocky, pixellated graphics, blocky pixellated text and controlled by just a few keys on the keyboard or by a hand-held controller - no use of the mouse required.

Your character is RICK a naughty Fox who likes to eat the fauna in his forest. Rick approaches PATTY the Partridge with a mind to have partridge for dinner. Patty tells Rick that she will not taste nice as she is old and tough however if he talks to the ancient SEASON TREE he might discover something in his best interests.

The SEASON TREE tells Rick he will be the Forest's HERO if he helps her fight the GREEN-EYED EVIL HORDE that has invaded the forest intent on creating a FIFTH SEASON. The tree says she will give him treasures that will enable him to buy the food he needs to live. RICK never does anything for nothing so the offer of treasure lights up his eyes and he accepts. After accepting, the SEASON TREE also tells him that she requires Rick to collect the four pieces of MAGIC BARK plus all the MAGIC SEEDS he can find. SEASON TREE explains to Rick about the Horde and then gives him a MAGIC MELEE CROSSBOW to help him on his quest.

 

Then using the Arrow keys you move Rick to the left (you cannot go right because the Season Tree is in the way) where you come to what appears to be an animal village. On approaching the first hut, the Armory, and pressing the Up Arrow you can run through a menu of equipment available for you to buy. At this point, near the beginning of the game, you don't have enough money to buy or do anything that costs, but you are given an idea of what you will be able to do later in the game. The next hut and the following hut are the Upgrade Booth and the Magic Shop, then after these three stores you move on to another scene and then another just like in a multitude of other side-scrolling "Sonic" style platform games. Running along and killing creatures and birds that get in the way you collect the money they drop so that you can buy better equipment to get further on along the quest.

 

As I just said there are lots of side-scrolling platform games, some better some not so good, but FOX n FORESTS does have one thing that I have never encountered before, and that is the ability to change the season. This gives you the ability to cross frozen lakes etc, the weather is on your side, but you are still on the quest to prevent the Green-Eyed-Horde from creating the destructive Fifth Season. To stop them RICK can run and spin in mid-air using his crossbow like a blade or stand back and fire bolts at the Horde's minions.

I, personally, am not a great fan of retro graphics. I played them hours on end when they were the only games available (many years ago) but that was when I had a computer running MS-Dos and with 1 MB RAM and a 20MB HDD. Now my PC has 16 GB of RAM and 3TB of memory available and Windows 10, a far cry from my old PC. Although there are a lot of computers available that are way better than my own there is still a lot of power under the hood of this current PC, much more than is needed (or would have been) to run a game from the 90s (or even the late 80s), in fact if you could install an original game from the 90s (the OS would probably prevent this) onto a computer like mine it would run so fast that you couldn't control it. 

Despite my reservations, and in all honesty it isn't a game or game-style I like to play, there is something cute about FOX N FORESTS that may just edge it for players who do enjoy retro-style scrolling action games. I will say that as I played I did discover lots of tiny "smile" moments, nothing that affects the game per se but just little things like the little bird sitting on the Points of Interest or the way the pieces are hidden and found - they, and the season changing, make the difference between FOX n FORESTS and the many other games in this genre.

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015