Foxy Land 2
Developed by: BUG-Studio
Published by: Ratalaika Games
Release Date: Jan 24, 2020
Foxy Land 2 is a, say it with me everyone, 2D-pixel-art platformer made by BUG-Studio. Bet you thought you’d never see one of these on the Switch. One day, while out searching for cherries to feed his fox family, Foxy’s home is attacked by a pair of wolf brothers who kidnap his children and shove his wife in a wooden crate. Oh, the humanity, whatever happened to basic animal decency? As Foxy you’ll chase down the wolf brothers and attempt to rescue your pups.
Harkening back to the early days of Super Mario Bros., you have a mere two ways to interact with the world in Foxy Land 2. You can jump on the heads of your enemies, or you can shoot them with
fireballs cherries. Those pits hurt, ya know? You’re not provided with an unlimited supply, the things don’t grow on tr… you know what, forget that thought. The important thing to know about the cherries is that you can carry a maximum of four at a time. That seems like a decent amount until you consider that each enemy takes two cherries to finish off and if you’re impatient like me you’ll end up missing quite often.
The cherries aren’t vital to your progression through the game, but they’re quite helpful to have. Taking out enemies from a distance can be helpful for overcoming the questionable hitboxes that the enemies have. I can’t count the number of times that I thought I landed squarely on an enemy’s head, only to instead be instantly killed. And that’s with the enemies that are clearly enemies and don’t have special gimmicks like cacti on their heads. Jumping in general just felt bad to me throughout the course of the game.
Mostly, the platforming doesn’t require much precision or speed, but that makes the moments when those moments do come up feel frustrating when you don’t complete them easily. Sometimes, levels will have checkpoints, which can make some of those more unpleasant sections slightly more bearable. But it’s also paired with a nearly pointless lives system that simply kicks you out to the world map if you run out of lives. You can go right back into the level with a stack of five lives again right off the bat. You lose any checkpoint you have, but it just feels free of consequence, which had me questioning why it was included at all in the first place.
In a slight attempt to gate your progress, there are three large coins scattered about each of the levels. You’ll need to unlock a certain amount of coins to progress past certain roadblocks, but if you consistently collect the coins you notice along the way it shouldn’t be much of an issue. The game does rely heavily on hidden caves, that have a distinct tell if you pay attention to the walls and ground, but it gets a little tiring because 90% of the coins have little to no challenge associated with getting them. I rarely, if ever felt accomplished by collecting these coins.
Quickly before we move on, I need to mention that I found the boss fights to be rather frustrating. Not because they were difficult, though they did require some trial and error to beat. Despite being in small rooms, the camera was not in a fixed location, so if I moved too far to one side of the boss arena, I wouldn’t be able to see the opposite side. It bothered me quite a bit. It wasn’t a problem from a difficulty to perspective, but I thought the presentation was lackluster because of this.
Speaking of lackluster, the soundtrack is entirely forgettable. It’s standard chiptune fare, produced by HateBit. I wouldn’t consider myself a fan of the genre, so those more interested in the genre might find more to enjoy. However, I found it repetitive, and not especially engaging.
The art is cute enough. The design language is clear, even if the hitboxes don’t always align how you assume they should. There’s a lack of real diversity in the level and enemy design though. There are only 3 level pallets, and many of the enemies are recycled between the two. The enemies that aren’t are a little frustrating because they’re designed to blend into the environment, and I would say that only one has a significant enough tell to alert you to its nefarious intentions. The others appear docile until its too late to react to them shooting you right in the face.
Foxy Land 2 is the sort of standard pixel art indie that is starting to define the Switch, for better or worse. It’s super cheap, easy to play in short bursts and even allows a second person to get in on the action with a single joycon. It just so happens that it’s not especially fun to play, either. There are certainly worse games out there, but also much better games that you could be spending your time with. By the time this review goes live, I’ll have already forgotten about it.
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Review code for this game was provided by the publisher.