Microsoft have created a new category within the Xbox store, the Creators Collection. Here, developers can release a game that doesn’t fully integrate with Xbox Live services, in particular achievements, goes through a quicker review process, and supports the Universal Windows Platform. It’s a great way for developers to digitally ship their game across Windows, Windows phone and Xbox One without the struggles of certification.
One such game in this limited library is FoxyLand, a devious puzzle platformer from BUG Studio that harks back to the 8 and 16 bit era of games. And while the challenge of conquering these levels won’t unlock achievements to boast about, the journey is certainly worth it. FoxyLand is a splendidly designed title that certainly deserves a look.
You play as a fox on a quest to save their beloved, which can only be done by collecting gems and cherries. Depending on how many gems you collect in a level determines your star rating out of three, the challenge is to achieve three stars on each of them. The cherries are used as currency to buy cosmetic items to adorn your fox or to even skip levels you’re finding them too difficult. It’s a neat option, especially in the later stages where death is a frequent bedfellow.
After some relatively simple levels to start you off, you’re thrust into some wildly difficult ones. Traps block your path and challenge you to pixel perfect jumping and timing to defeat them. And while the levels may be short, with no checkpoints comes plenty of restarts and frustration. However, there’s some excellent design going on here, with branching paths and risk/reward moments for the gems and cherries really tapping in to the completionist pull. There are some issues where waiting too long appears to disrupt the timing of moving traps a little but it’s otherwise a masterfully designed set of platforming levels.
Furthermore, the charming 16 bit aesthetic, complete with chip tune music, is wonderfully nostalgic, with some attractive pixel art helping to bring each level to life. Although, there is a lack of level variety, which is a shame. However, despite the odd nit-pick, FoxyLand still manages to impress. The fiendish level design is challenging enough to keep you on edge and compelling enough to keep you trying, and that’s a formula not every developer is able to synthesise.