Just under two years after its successful 2016 Kickstarter, 16-bit 2D platformer Fox n Forests will launch next month on May 17, developer Bonus Level Entertainment announced today. The studio marked the announcement with a trailer showcasing one of the game's many forested levels in action.
You play as Rick the Fox, naturally, and team up with Patty the Partridge on a quest to prevent a mysterious evil from creating a ghastly fifth season. The devs cite old Castlevania and Zelda games as major inspirations, but while Fox n Forests features similar artwork and a classic good-versus-evil story, it's built on some inventive systems that probably weren't technically feasible back in the 16-bit era.
Like its story, Fox n Forests' levels and combat are all about seasons. Rick's "magical melee crossbow" lets him switch between seasons on the fly, with two seasons available in each level. You might switch from fall to spring to make a mushroom grow taller so you can use it to reach a platform, or from summer to winter to put a swarm of bees to sleep so you can walk by their hive. Levels look to be peppered with season-specific secrets too, and the visual contrast is lovely.
There are a few neat ideas on display in the latest trailer, too. Rick's trusty crossbow sports an impressive array of moves, from spread shots to aerial dives to good old-fashioned slashes, and Rick himself benefits from light RPG elements like upgradable health and mana. I also like the look of the optional checkpoints which let you spend gold to save your progress: by giving you the option to skip checkpoints, they encourage risk-taking and reward skilled play, which are part and parcel with retro platformers.
Then there's the cute mini-game where you use your dive attack to launch a bird off a teeter-totter in the most extravagant way possible to earn gold, which is a good excuse to explore levels and seasons in search of the highest diving board, so to speak.