FoxyLand is a cute yet devilishly tricky 2D platform game from BUG Studio. In it, you take control of Foxy the Fox as he traverses levels, collecting cherries and gems in order to rescue his true love.

The intro sees you and your love having a nice chat when some nasty bird swoops down and steals her away. The idea of the game is to collect all the gems on each level to progress to the next. These gems start off in easy-to-access places, but are very quickly hidden behind secret walls and blocked passageways that you need to find switches to unveil. Cherries are also available for collection and can be used to pay to skip levels (very handy) and do other things such as buy items from the shop or gamble to beat other players in the online mode.

Signposts give you all the instructions you need.

It’s a fun game, quite satisfying to pick up and play for half an hour or so at a time, before putting down the controller and doing something else. And that’s a good thing, because if you sit down with the intention of playing from start to finish you will likely end up smashing your machine into a million pieces in frustration, as FoxyLand features some really tricky game elements whichwill see you die over and over and over again.

Tiny Platforms + Spikes = Frustration

To illustrate my point, I shall direct your attention to the above screenshot. Notice the tiny platforms? And the spikes above them? Well, those platforms disappear almost as soon as you touch them, and the spikes are just low enough that you can jump straight into them. If you time it perfectly, it is possible to get across the chasm, but it took me many tries to do it!

Foxy himself can be hit three times before he dies and you have to restart the level. When hit, you get a couple of seconds of invincibility, which you ideally use to get away from whatever hit you in the first place. The problem is that usually, you’ve fallen into a pit full of spikes by that point, so you’re going to be restarting the level a lot.

When you die you get flung at the screen. You will see this many times.

Partly to blame here are the controls. They’re binary, which means Foxy is either completely stationary or running — and this makes accurate platforming rather difficult, especially when you just want to walk forwards a tiny bit to the edge of a cliff. I have to say, though, that after a while you kind of get used to them and find neat little workarounds — such as walking into a falling block once it’s on the ground to guarantee that you’re as close to its hit zone as possible, but without actually getting hit (and killed).

Fortunately, you can restart the same level as many times as you like with no penalty, or you can pay cherries to skip the level completely and come back to it later. If you collect all of the gems and cherries in a decently short amount of time, you get three stars and unlock the achievement for that level. There are twenty-seven levels in total, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but each one will likely take you a fair amount of time to beat even though they are quite small in size.

Ahh, 3 stars… Feels good.

FoxyLand is quite a good-looking game, bedecked with pixelated, retro-style graphics in bright colours. There are some nice effects, too, like the way Foxy is flung towards the screen when he dies. The audio is fine as well, with some decent sound effects, but there are only two background music tracks that loop over and over, which would get annoying if they weren’t so damned catchy!

As previously mentioned, there is an in-game shop available in which you can fritter away your hard-earned cherries on pointless stuff you can equip to change Foxy’s appearance. An annoyance here is that you have no idea what you are buying before you actually buy it, and no idea what it is or does once you have it! These items seem to be purely cosmetic and don’t appear to make any difference to the gameplay.

I looked at this screen for an hour…

There is also an online mode, in which you can apparently bet an amount of cherries and challenge another player to better their time on a level. I say ‘apparently’ because when I tried this mode, I couldn’t find anyone to actually play against — I left the game on the ‘Connect’ screen for an hour before the looping music got the better of me and I had to quit.

A pit full of spikes. There is only one way this will end.

So to wrap up, FoxyLand is a simple idea that is well executed, but not without its flaws. It is easy to pick up and hard to master, with just enough about it to draw you back into trying to get past that next level, or get three stars on a level you’ve already beaten. The shop is largely pointless, as is the online mode, but neither of these things detract from the core game. When you consider the really low price, it’s hard not to recommend FoxyLand!

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