STAFF REVIEW of Trifox (Xbox One)

Wednesday, November 2, 2022.
by Peggy Doyle

Trifox Box art I will forever have a fondness for an Indie platformer with a cute protagonist, and Belgian Developer Glowfish Interactive (along with publisher, Big Sugar) have given me just that with their newest game, Trifox. The premise is simple, the titular fox has had his TV remote stolen by the villain and his minions (who are all pirate foxes). No one messes with a person’s TV remote. This is clearly a super villain, and they have many minions protecting them from the fox trying to retrieve the remote.

After a quick prologue giving you the basics of controls, you set up in a high-tech base where you will eventually be able to upgrade and equip perks and abilities. You also have a teleport system that moves you between levels. Trifox is an isometric platformer, twinstick shooter (something I am not normally fond of) with brawler elements. Featuring an adorable anthropomorphic Fox, it plays homage to a lot of early 2000 platformers, and when you play you can see the inspiration of Ratchet & Clank, Super Lucky and Crash Bandicoot for example.

I’m an Engineer, I’m a Mage, I’m a Warrior... I am EVERYTHING! You get to mix and match abilities and perks from all three classes in Trifox, creating an almost endless number of ways you can choose to attack the multiple levels. I’m guessing the three classes are where the 'Tri' in Trifox comes from, but can’t be sure. You can swap these any time at your base, and even have multiple layouts saved. There are specific abilities that will make certain levels easier, but I didn’t really have too much trouble making my way through regardless of what I chose to equip. You just may have to find a different way of doing it. I really enjoyed the vast array of mix and match designs. While you see inspiration from other 3D platformers (it is clear that Glowfish loved the genre) everything is just different enough that it kept it fresh.

The three classes are our usual fare that you’ll find in most games. Warrior is your tank – hard hitting but slow. The Engineer is your ranged attacker – using turrets, guns, and missiles. And your Mage is also a ranged class but focuses on defense abilities and dark magic. Trifox’s main strength some from this ability/skill tree. I’ve not really experienced a lot of Indie games that had such a diverse mix and match approach. Each class has a base ‘dash’ movement specific to its style, and nine other skills/abilities. You unlock each item with coins earned in the levels (killing, looting etc). There really is no restriction as to what you choose to unlock first, even though the higher levels require more coins. After items are unlocked you can mix and match to your heart's content. Using one, two or even all three classes to create your Fox the way you want.

You can map abilities to any layout you choose too. No skill or ability is locked into a particular button or location. Most people I know have a certain class they tend to gravitate to, but Trifox really encourages a versatile playstyle. I ran a character that had a combo of all classes as no single class had everything I wanted. I wish more games were like this. Engineering skills were fantastic. Why fight when you can hide behind walls, turrets and flames? One thing I would have liked to see was to have a reason to switch your class around. I found a pretty great loadout early in the game and never really felt compelled to switch it. I would have like the levels to have something to take you by surprise and force you to change your approach. On the other hand, I’m glad it didn’t force me to switch at times because there is no place to hop back to the hub mid-level to swap things without restarting. It would be a bit frustrating to lose 20 minuntes or so because you had the wrong gear.

There is no dialogue spoken, expressive gibberish along with humourous animations acted out within and between stages carries along the storyline for you. Each of the levels has four separate stages, including a ‘boss battle’ in each. Three biomes with multiple minions and mini bosses progressively got more detailed as you moved through the story. The puzzles became slightly more complex and required more steps to complete and I enjoyed the lighthearted nature of the interactions. There is also no blood and gore here, more like taunting and nonlethal fighting. Characters can die, but there is just a fall down and restart to it. There are also four difficulty settings of Easy, Normal, Hard and Crazy. In the Crazy mode all damage is fatal, and you get a warning of that before you start the game. For all these reasons, I think Trifox is a great game to introduce younger gamers to what can be known as a more challenging genre of games.

Glowfish clearly has an immense love for the genre. It’s evident in the graphics, combat, and level design of Trifox. The level design builds slowly, and in the fourth chapter it all comes together in some of the most brilliant gameplay I’ve had in the platforming genre. There are some fantastic nods to pop culture scattered throughout as well, including some Indiana Jones-esque temple runs and even a cute Easter Egg nod to Cast Away. I won’t spoil it.

An important part of any 3D platformer will be the camera. Trifox uses a top-down view primarily. This helps you to look around and see everything, follow the action and look for hidden chests and coins. The aesthetic fit well with the game, as bright and colourful animations brought the game to life. I didn’t encounter any real graphic issues or bugs and all worlds felt distinct and full. Whether you were in a jungle, ice world, surrounded by water or fighting though catacombs, they all felt unique.

Sound design isn’t something I always pay attention to in cute platforms, but Trifox was incredibly well designed on the audio side. While the soundtrack didn’t stand out to me, the audio from small things like the clinking of clay pots when breaking, or even the footsteps when moving on wooden platforms were all crisp and clean.

A few notes to what I wasn’t as enthusiastic about. The movement in the game felt a bit sluggish at times. You had no dedicated sprint, other than what you choose as a dash for your class. You simply speed up as you move in one direction. When you jump you lose this momentum and start at base level again. This was slow in my opinion. Also, the jumping consistantly felt ‘off’ to me, even with having a ‘landing zone’ circle. I found myself missing a lot of jumps that just didn’t seem to want to line up where they should have. Minor frustrations that didn’t take me away from the game, even if they caused me to die a few times. At least there were frequent checkpoints.

There isn’t a lot of replayability either. Other than going back should you have missed one of the gems, there aren’t anything akin to relics that you’d see in Super Lucky’s Tale. There is something to reward you for beating a certain time limit and to keep you coming back to try to beat it. You will see your fastest time on the screen for any particular level, and there is an achievement tied to completing everything under 3 hours, so you could hunt that. Not having the ability to change your skills on the fly was also a problem for me. If you found you’d prefer a different blend of skills you have to go back to your hub and start the current level over again.

Coming in at approximately 5 hours for a basic run, and around 8 hours for a complete 1000 achievement points, Trifox was lighthearted and had a good mix of exploration, puzzles and combat. It was more than I expected, and I really hope we’ll see a Trifox 2 someday. If you’re a fan of 3D or isometric platformers (old or new) you’ll likely enjoy a run with Trifox.

**Trifox was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**

Overall: 8.3 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.5 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10


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