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Trifox

8 November, 2022 - 10:29 pm by
About 11 mins to read
Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch

Trifox, developed by Glowfish Interactive, is a 3D action-adventure platformer centred around the games protagonist Trifox and his quest to retrieve his TV remote that has been stolen away from him by an evil General. Throughout your adventure you are able to fully customise your character’s moveset and best decide which choices will help you best defeat each level, until you finally defeat the General and get back that remote of yours.

At A Glance

Scores 
Visuals3 /10
Sound3 /10
Gameplay2 /10
Overall3 /10
  
Positives  + Variety of enemies 
+ Minecart level
+ Quick respawn and frequent respawn points
Negatives  – Graphics are really blocky and garish
– Gameplay is laggy and slow
– Unskippable cutscenes that repeat when you die
  
Price (When Reviewed)£17.99
Our Playtime5 hours 28 mins
Available OnPS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC

So, where to begin with this one? I think it’s fair to start by saying that upon looking into Glowfish Interactive, they aren’t the biggest of developers and only have a few games to their name. Looking deeper, I can see that some of the character models were designed by an intern working for them a few years ago, as an example of the size of their staff. So bearing that in mind, I always like to commend any developer for putting their efforts into developing a game for us to play with what is obviously limited funding and a small team. However… I am sorry to say that this was not an enjoyable playing experience.

You are able to customise your character with several different weapon loadouts from three main character types. The warrior, the mage and the engineer. Although it appears that you can customise your loadouts specifically to help you with each level, I found myself using the same setup for practically the entire game. I felt no desire (or need) to change weapons and the game didn’t do anything to force you to change weaponry at any level of frequency. It would have worked better if there were levels that required you to have the different loadouts to reach specific areas, or complete the level in different ways. So even though on the surface it looks like you have all these different options to tackle the challenges, in fact it’s mostly just a redundant option, which, considering the game is named Trifox, is a bit of an odd design choice.

The most apparent and immediate issue is the graphics. Trifox is clearly inspired by Crash Bandicoot, looks to be the game that inspired Crash Bandicoot. And by that I mean they’ve got an orange fuzzy mascot who finds itself in a bit of a kooky and crazy story. There’s collectables to find, you’ve got weird and wacky enemies to fight and a somewhat on rails level design, whose graphics are straight out of the 1996 ‘Let’s Make All Platformers 3D’ department. Whilst retro-inspired, the visuals do not come across as a game made in 2022; there’s clipping, oversaturation and a hard-to-look-at, garish and blocky style to all of the character models and backgrounds. Everything is distinctly fuzzy and makes me feel like I’ve forgotten to put my glasses on; I found myself constantly squinting to try to make out exactly what was what on the screen. (This could be an issue on the Nintendo Switch version as the graphics I saw in the trailer video were crisper than that of the gameplay I experienced). The guys at Naughty Dog must’ve seen this game back in ‘94 and thought hey let’s do that but make it so the player can actually see what’s happening.

The reason I seem to be going in quite hard on the graphics, despite it being an aesthetic that was purposefully aimed for, is that the visuals made the game really hard to play. It was hard to see where your character’s position was exactly (even with the option to add a jump/landing indicator), leading to many-a-time where I found myself missing a jump or being too close to an enemy’s attack box.  

Speaking of missing a jump, the in-game physics were incredibly frustrating. Every time I landed after a platform jump it was as if my character was wearing roller skates or was landing on ice. It just had too much momentum and not enough ‘stick’ to the landing. I found myself having to constantly make corrective moves after landing which would inevitably lead to me falling off an edge and into the abyss below. (And yes for those of you saying “git gud”, I understand, but there are so many games like this one which don’t have this problem and it’s hard to break your brain after all that pre-learned gamer brain mechanics.)

Several other frustrations were in the seemingly very laggy combat inputs. I would be smashing away with the warrior’s hammer option before switching to my stun attack, but it would take several seconds for ol’ foxy to stop swinging the hammer and stun the enemies around him, at which point I’d have taken an extra few bullets to the head or a laser beam to the chest. If there were quite a few enemies on screen with a myriad of projectiles, the game would also experience some minor slow down issues making it difficult to control your movements in an already tricky physics situation.

Slow down was a bit of a theme with Trifox. I think if we were all to talk with our gaming buddies and ask them what’s one of the things that makes a game a chore to play, the answer would be unskippable cutscenes – especially if you have to repeat them after dying. This would be okay if the cutscenes contained anything worth watching, but this really isn’t the case; the most exasperating of which were the News Report sections. You have to sit and watch two characters (who aren’t speaking a real language) do a report on the ongoings of an enemy boss you know next to nothing about, without any on-screen subtitles to speak of. It was really painful, and all I found myself wanting to do was skip the scene and move on to the next part of the game, as they didn’t add anything to the understanding of what was happening in the game. (Not to mention the old style TV static lines added for effect, which made it even harder to watch than the already difficult-to-watch gameplay.)

There were a few levels that mixed up the gameplay style a little by changing the way you moved around; one of these was the minecart level, which was genuinely the best part of the game. It removed the dull sections where you just had to mindlessly wait on a platform or kill about 50 enemies to open a door – instead you were treated to a fast past level where you get to fire at various enemies or at levers to switch your rail path and put you on the right course. It was a shame though that this section was so short, and while there are attempts to replicate this altered movement later in the game by placing you in an unkillable hamster ball for an entire level, it is so unchallenging that it just becomes another stepping stone to hop over on the way to the games completion.

An issue I found was that there were too many times where I broke the in-game mechanics. Clipping through a platform was a frequent issue leading to unfair deaths, and I also found that there were several bosses where I could clip them into a wall and wail on them until their health was depleted, stopping any of their attack action sequences. The bosses that did work and attack properly were mostly a good level of challenge, and probably the most consistently good parts of the game. (The end boss in particular is a good fight if you manage to keep the projectile numbers low to avoid slowdown/lag.) There is one boss however who adds to the feeling I had of endlessly dragging myself through treacle to complete this game, and the wizard really made me want to put the game down due to disappearing/reappearing platforms and the endless respawns required. 

Whilst writing this review I know that several paragraphs have been… less than accommodating about the game. I am not sure if that is a reflection on my writing ability or on the fact I just neeeeeeded to let you, dear reader, feel the way I did playing this game. 

Overall Trifox is a game that on the surface looks like an enjoyable experience and one that would be right up the street of any nostalgia seeking 3D-platform player. It is such a shame that it fails to deliver anything truly enjoyable or challenging and is mostly just a bit of a slog. I take my hat off to the ideas and efforts of Glowfish Interactive but the execution is where this game falls down. To sum up my time with Trifox in one word, it would be ‘frustrating’.

In the interest of full disclosure, VGamingNews was provided with a copy of the game in order to conduct this review.

Our Rating
3