Trifox (PC) Review

Try This Fox

By Philip Orona

Once upon a time, in a land far far away called the 90’s, there was a conflict called the Platform wars. It was composed of then entertainment tech giants such as Nintendo, Sony, Sega, and even NEC.  Each of these industry players represented themselves with some sort of platforming mascot. Nintendo had Mario, Sega had Sonic, NEC had Bonk, and Sony, well, a lot of candidates come to mind but they didn’t really have an official mascot. The front runners seemed to be stars like Ratchet and Clank, Crash Bandicoot, or even Sly Cooper. What most of these had in common (other than Mario and Bonk) is that they were an anthropomorphic animal.  Even Banjo-Kazooie (from Rare, who made many Donkey Kong games) fit the bill and could have replaced Mario for a time on the N64, although they would later make the jump to Xbox 360. These mascots would define the 2.5D and 3D platformer genre which few still follow to this day. 

 Yes, platforming animals were all the rage way back when. The good people at Glowfish Interactive remember it just as well as Pepperidge Farm did, and they are bringing the masses a new fuzzy mascot in Trifox. Trifox sets you in the shoes of the eponymous vulpes on a quest to get back his looted possessions. To that end, the Trifox can assume 3 different forms, each with their own abilities. You can choose from the Engineer, the Warrior, and the Mage.  As you can imagine, each class offers its own set of skills and attacks. The Engineer uses gadgets for a combination of ranged and melee combat. Warrior is predominantly melee and the Mage uses ranged attacks.

As you play through the 2.5D adventure, enemies drop coins that can be used to purchase abilities from each skill tree. For each skill within a class tree, you can assign a button to that skill. You can mix and match abilities from each class for a skill loadout that can be changed anytime at the stage hub. By unlocking abilities as you progress, you can use these abilities to tailor your menacing mascot machine for mowing down masses of monsters. Speaking of masses, the enemies in the first set of stages include little crabs, ninja looking dudes, boxing androids, pirate goons, and poison spewing  swamp monster things. The initial area looks and feels like something out of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. There is a library of boobie traps and pitfalls that will plague you though sections of the stage when enemies aren’t trying to send you to Kali Ma.  Is the water level rising here? *splash*! After completing areas 1 through 3 for each stage you can hit the boss area. Bosses are your usual fanfare of oversized knuckleheads with repeating patterns of attacks that are themed to the character while also facing an onslaught of minions. 

The stages themselves are enclosed maps that will, at times, make you backtrack as you encounter closed gates that require switches or mini-puzzles that need completing to open. You will also be required to platform jump from pedestal to pedestal while traversing the landscape, which can be tricky in a 2.5D space even with a little cursor marker under your character. If you happen to fall off the stage or into deep water, you will respawn with a penalty to your HP. If you die, you respawn at your last checkpoint. To stave off death, you can break barrels to find health vials but that’s it. Can I get some sort of temporary invincibility or  damage boost? Each stage keeps a death counter for each run so you can complete a stage and see your stats for your best run for the competitive completionist inside you. 

Graphically and aurally Trifox is on par with your typical Playstation 2 platformer with vivid colors and smooth yet slightly angular character design. The music doesn’t really stand out but it fits in with the overall theme of kooky and whimsy and becomes a part of the background. Trifox really does evoke the nostalgic feel of Crash Bandicoot and Banjo Kazooie. If you have played any of those games back in the day, Trifox will feel all too familiar. Difficulty level ramps up as the stages progress and it becomes way too easy to become engulfed in the minion mobs. I found it easier in some places to simply jump over and avoid them completely as you are not always required to destroy them all to move to the next section of the area. The level design can be confusing at times, especially since they are not straightforward due to some of the puzzelistic nature of the game. This can lead to needless repetition of mobs and platforming making the game a chore, especially since the physics feel a bit numb.

Trifox is certainly entertaining for quick bursts of gaming. I found myself enjoying the game more when I played for no more than a half hour at a time. There is nothing that grabs you and keeps you for long. Playing around with the various skills and testing load outs in the practice area is cool as it helps you tweak your control scheme for your abilities and then using that load out to put down some hurt on the waves of enemies is fun. However, it does get repetitive fairly quickly, which is something the mascot mill of games were also guilty of. Perhaps this genre fell to the wayside for this very reason. It’s not that they don’t make platforming mascots like they used to, they were all made like this.

Things I like:

Nostalgia factor

Easy to pick up and put down

Works great on the Steamdeck!

Things I would improve:

Adding some additional elements like 2 player

Improve physics feelGive us on the fly power ups


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