First released in 2017 for the PC by BUG- Studio, Foxyland is a retro-styled platform game, originally developed using the Construct game engine. Conversions followed for a range of consoles in 2019, courtesy of publisher Ratalaika, adapted using their in-house porting tools. As with most of their games at that time, their conversion was released for the Nintendo Switch along with the PS Vita, PS4 and Xbox One. But was this entry in the extensive Ratalaika catalogue worth getting?
Foxyland In A Nutshell
If you hadn’t already guessed from the title, Foxyland is a side-scrolling platform game featuring a fox as the central protagonist. Foxy Fox to be precise. He’s on a mission to rescue the love of his life, Jennie from a giant bird that’s kidnapped her. So it’s left to you to help Foxy through 36 increasingly difficult levels to reach his better half.
Each level is packed with perilous platforms to bound, horrifc hazards to avoid, enemies lying in wait to attack, cherries to collect and a set number of crystals that you need to collect on each stage that will unlock the exit to allow you to move onto the next level. Generally, everything you’d expect from a typical platformer.
Fruit Is Good For You…
The cherries that you collect serve two purposes in the game. First, as with many indie platformers (and especially those that seem to be created with development packages from what I have found), you are awarded a rating at the end of each level. The rating you get is dependent on how many lives you have left and how many cherries you’ve collected. This is a nice touch and gives each level a degree of replayability once you’ve completed all 36 stages.
Secondly, you can use all of the cherries that you’ve collected in a store that you can access between levels. Here you can buy new costumes for Foxy to wear. While these don’t give him any new abilities and they’re merely cosmetic, it’s at least nice to have some form of incentive to collect the fruit as you play.
Foxyland starts off easily enough, but one thing that I found frustrating was that the difficulty jumps very quickly. After only a few levels, the difficulty curve spikes and throws in far more hazards for the player, dissolving platforms, precision jumps and more. With only 36 (rather short) levels it’s understandable that they needed to increase in difficulty to offer a challenge to players, but perhaps more levels and a slower build-up would have been better?
Seen It All Before?
Like so many games before it, Foxyland betrays its Construct origins. Underneath the cute exterior lies a very generic platform game. This is sadly the case with everything created with the package so it’s really down to the visuals and level design to make something fun and engaging. Once again, as with the majority of releases from Ratalaika, Foxyland features retro-inspired visuals and sounds and while it looks cute and appealing, you get the impression that the retro look is more because of the game engine rather than a stylistic choice.
When I see games like this listed as soon as I see that it’s a title by Ratalaika I know before buying it pretty much what to expect. And unfortunately that’s what really lets this game down. It might well be a fun platformer and offer a few hours of entertainment, but it offers nothing that makes it stand out from the crowd.
Foxyland was never going to set the gaming world on fire, but – for the console ports at least – it was pitched at a low enough price point to make it worth considering. It is a fun and entertaining game, but the lack of originality is really its biggest drawback. It’s worth getting as a fun platform game, although I have to be honest and say that it’s better suited for gaming on the go rather than for home console play.
With that in mind, it’s one for those of you who use your Switch in handheld mode more than docked, or who have a Switch Lite. Regardless of how you choose to play, you’ll still get your money’s worth, but just don’t expect anything offering a new take on the genre. And with so many smaller indie games just like this being released for the Switch it’s one that simply isn’t strong enough to stand out from the crowd.