by Andrew Skelton (Outfoxed)
The FoxTail FAQ is rhyming on Steam
They seem like an interesting team
But limericks are best
So let’s put this to test
The owls are not what they seem …
I grew up with the classic point-and-click adventure titles. I remember sitting in Computer class playing text based adventures first, which paved the way to picking up titles such as King’s Quest and The Black Cauldron. Some consider the genre a product of a bygone era, but personally, I believe there’s still a place for them even in today’s market. So when we were granted a copy of FoxTail, by Gingertips Game Studio, I couldn’t wait to give it a go. Oh, and if it wasn’t obvious, I happen to love foxes too, so this was a combination that made me very happy to see. The current release of the game is but one of eight planned, but with that much content lined up, is the game worth checking out if you’re a fan of what’s often a challenging genre to get correct?
Some travels are really unfun
Pixel perfect clicking a ton
But here you have ways
To customize plays
So your sanity isn’t undone …
It’s not hard to notice the colorful graphics of FoxTail. Despite the pixels, the vibrant use of bold colors really makes each screen stand out. You play the role of Leah, a fox visiting her grandmother, and learn there’s much more going on than anticipated. You’re then sent on a whimsical adventure, far exceeding what Leah expected out of a simple vacation. One of the things I absolutely appreciate about FoxTail in this case is its options; you can adjust difficulty levels manually, or use some of the preset options. You can change the behavior of your cursor, how it responds when you’ve an object in hand, and even the ability to toggle being able to see interactable objects on each screen. Allowing a player to customize their experience in a point-and-click adventure game is genius, to me. It really allows a person to tailor their gameplay to how they prefer.
The Pursuit of Objects
Things you need, you’ll certainly find
Though some things aren’t needed in kind
Just remember the trick
Grab each item and click
On everything if you’re in a bind …
Unlike some early King’s Quest games, FoxTail makes sense. Sure, there are some moments and puzzles that made me scratch my head, but at least the majority aren’t terribly hard to figure out. Be prepared to do a lot of walking back and forth, however, as that’s one aspect of adventure games that has not changed in FoxTail. Sure, you can access shortcuts later on (well, one, that I know of), but a lot of the game is spent going through the same screens repeatedly, which may turn some away from the game. At least there’s some interactivity on a lot of them — you can click on the frogs on one screen to hear them let out a croak, for instance — and as I’ve stated prior, the pixel work is top notch and gorgeous.
There are also plenty of items to collect throughout the game, and, shockingly, some of them in this initial chapter are simply macguffins. We don’t know whether they’ll play a role in future parts of the game, but I actually liked having a bunch of items I had no clue what purpose they held. Some can even just be used by Leah outright (mostly food items) to give a little more panic to the gamer that thinks, “Oh no, I needed that for something later!” Fret not, anything that’s “consumable” seems to be able to be acquired again.
Spinning A Yarn
The scope of the story seems local
There’s very few characters vocal
But the ones you do meet
You’re in for a treat
For these character really are focal …
While only the first part of the story, I can already seem some great narrative forming. Leah receives her grandfather’s journal early in the game, and it tells a story of how adventurous the man truly was. However, there are several missing pages from this journal, which allude to greater mystery as to why Leah’s grandparents ended up in such a small hamlet. Though the episode ends with a ‘To Be Continued’, it’s already left an impression. There’s also plenty of lore surrounding the world tucked away in a couple of other books you’ll read along Leah’s adventure — which, of course, are also used later in a tricky puzzle! The attention to seemingly small details like this definitely have me wanting to experience more of FoxTail’s future episodes.
FoxTail is a very charming game, though it’s also quite short currently. In fact, I’d experienced the first part in under two hours total. The art style is solid, colorful, and beautiful, the animations well done. Seeing Leah let out a sigh when she realizes she has more work to do, for example, is played out well. While I certainly enjoyed the time I spent, people looking for more gameplay may want to wait until further in the development cycle to pick the game up. I’m looking forward to seeing where Leah’s adventures take her next.
So now this preview’s concluded
More FoxTail is certain alluded
What travels we’ll see
Will just have to be
On hold ‘til next part is distributed …
Note: A game key was provided for preview purposes. Learn more about FoxTail here!
FoxTail Early Access Screenshots