Genre: Action, Adventure, Platformer
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on Steam (Windows) Xbox and PS4)
Developer|Publisher: Glowfish Interactive | Big Sugar
Age Rating: EU 7+ | US Everyone
Price: US $19.99 | UK £17.99 | EU € 19,99
Release Date: October 13th, 2022
Review code provided with many thanks to Pirate Pr.
The Most Evil of Crimes
Every now and then a game will release out of nowhere with little marketing and hype and just surprise you. Trifox is very much the little gem in the depths of the eShop. Trifox mixes top-down action adventure with platforming thrown in that is suitable for all audiences.
Playing as a plucky fox named Trifox, your evening of relaxation and TV watching is rudely interrupted by a crash outside your house. After investigating you soon discover some nasty little thief has made off with your TV remote which is possibly the most heinous of crimes in gaming to date. In all seriousness Trifox keeps its story straight forward much like a mascot platformer from the 90s, just don’t expect a lot of depth to the characters.
There is no voice acting, characters express their emotions with silly voices which the younglings might get a kick out of. Cutscenes are kept to a minimum usually between levels with short put funny news segments on TV. Considering the main quest is for a TV remote Trifox doesn’t seem to have a shortage of TVs to watch these reports on.
Pick a Class
Once you take control of Trifox you then make your way through an introductory level which gets you accustomed to the controls via handy signposts. You then get to choose one of three classes to play: a Warrior, Mage or Engineer. Each class feels distinctly different with the warrior focusing on melee with a massive hammer for close combat. The Mage uses ranged moves and spell-like abilities favouring a more distant approach to combat. Finally, the engineer has lots of gadgets like a propel jump to glide about, a Gatling gun for ranged attacks and laying traps line mines and turrets. This class was by far my favourite but of course, I didn’t discover this until midway through the game when I tried to slog through with the warrior.
The most appealing part of Trifox is you do not have to just settle for one class and be done with it. Between levels, you can collect cash to unlock new abilities and map them to one of four button inputs to use in-game. You can then mix and match these abilities between all three classes to create your ideal build.
It’s incredibly fun to experiment with the various abilities and the game even offers a training area to test them out before venturing into the levels. You are unfortunately locked into your chosen build when entering a level. You can’t re-tool without totally restarting the level. This is pretty rough considering the levels are nice and long. While I was able to push through with my terrible warrior build it would have eased the stress if I could tinker with my build between checkpoints.
Platforming and Levels
The gameplay feels similar to a twin-stick dungeon crawler. The game even has that top-down viewpoint. You can’t control the camera which does become a bit of an issue, as the environment will occasionally obscure your view making it tricky to see what’s going on, especially in combat.
Three difficulties are on offer from the get-go from easy to hard. Controls are easy to use but things get a bit awkward when it comes to jumping. For some reason, the game opts for a very faint circle to guide you on your landing rather than a dark shadow. Something that’s near impossible to see in handheld mode. It meant I often underestimated jumps, falling to my doom. Fortunately, the cost of this is a small bit of health with an instant respawn nearby. Going with the engineers’ glide ability did calm the frustrations.
Decent Length Levels
Levels are presented in a small hub area with teleporters that might tickle the nostalgia of fans of the old Crash Bandicoot games. Within each level are multiple secrets to find which require some thorough exploration and even a bit of puzzle-solving. This will appeal to completionists.
The level design and pacing are pretty great. Levels are a decent length, and the game frequently introduces new mechanics preventing the formula from becoming stale. One moment you’re escaping a ruin as it slowly floods from below, the next you’re on a minecart shooting at enemies from a turret. Considering the game runs at about a 7-hour length not a moment felt tedious or wasted.
After three levels it’s boss time. These are multi-layer segments with checkpoints that will test your skills with a pretty beefy challenge. Speaking of difficulty, the game has irregular difficulty spikes. Sometimes you’ll hit segments where you’re just overwhelmed with enemies. Enemies Can be relentless even on retreating; they will stalk you through the levels. It’s impressive AI and with the right build you’ll probably be fine but it’s a pain you can’t jiggle about with the ability to see if a different build will work. But the only way to do this is to exit the level entirely which can be heart breaking.
Low Poly Fox
Trifox has a low poly presentation in its graphic style. As far as level design and environments go, I liked it. The mix of enemies geared up in steampunk-like outfits is a good look for the game. Trifox himself looks pretty cool when he is wearing one of the three-class outfits. At the start of the game, however, he does look a bit odd. The low poly comes across as just a bit murky when the characters’ faces are on show.
I got the impression Trifox was a young fox, but the game almost presents him as a worn-out old man. One credit I will give is I did like that his ears move around independently on movement. The overall presentation on the Switch can look a bit blurry at times. However, the game does run very well in TV or handheld modes even when a lot of action is happening on screen at once.
Conclusion – Star Fox
Trifox is a promising first game from a new developer. A fun premise that is suitable for gamers of all ages that will provide a rewarding challenge without being too frustrating. Like its low poly art style, this game does have some flaws, yet it overcomes these with solid-level design and flexible customisation, which may even have you coming back to the game for another play-through. An absolute gem on Switch which will hopefully gain enough popularity to see a sequel as it would be fascinating to see another entry from this cunning fox.
Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot