You of course play as Fitz the Fox in this simple yet fun 2D side-scrolling platformer with a simple Game Boy art style. Fitz is in beta, but it feels more like an alpha, a good prototype to sell a future game. It does a good job over 12 or so levels demonstrating design, programming and overall fun. Where most 2D platformers are so hard you can make a statue out of them, Fitz takes a more enjoyable approach that is fun for children and adults. The game is still challenging, but its challenging in a way that stays fun and will still get you through the brief game.
The Game Boy style is what makes the game stand out from everything else, only four colors are used in this monochromatic spinach palette. The music is beautiful, tranquil and fitting for the game, but it just doesn’t have the same sound as the Game Boy. The game has four themed areas, with the outdoors, a cave, a castle and nighttime. Each of these themes has three levels with two extra levels at the end of the game; one bonus level to collect acorns and the final is against a boss.
In each level your only goal is to reach your fox hole at the end via one path that you’re forced to take. These paths can sometimes wind up, down, but they’re mostly to the right along the ground. On your way, you’ll jump over spikes, bop on enemies, hop on dissolving bricks and leap on birds for an extra jump.
As a game, it plays better than 95% of all Game Boy games. There is keyboard and 360 controller support, but these controls are so simple that they could have been done with an Atari 2600 controller. You have left and right to walk with a single button to jump. Some may feel the jump is floaty, but I think its just fine for a plaformer of this nature. At least there is jump control, short jumps and long jumps. Using a 360 controller with vibrations turned on it feels like every time you hit the ground from a jump is a light vibration.
You can hop on most enemies to defeat them, even the walking cactus men. Other enemies are dropping spikes and unbeatable bouncing razor balls. Your fox is one tile high, but you won’t be able to jump over a razor ball that is in a hallway two tiles tall. You’ll have to wait for them to vacate narrow passages before you dare enter.
Enemies spring high in the air when they jump and this can make for some unexpected deaths, but you adapt and compensate to it. These jumps are so high that you’ll be safe standing on the block they’re jumping over. There is a point in the game where a jumping cactus can turn in mid air which just looks strange.
If any enemy jumps into the ceiling they’re defeated. I’d like to see some overturned enemies, such as spiked enemies that lose their sell stuck in the ceiling then become vulnerable when they fall out. Lucky for Fitz, bumping in the ceiling doesn’t kill him.
What does kill him is everything else. There are one hit deaths in Fitz the Fox. The game is easy enough to make it far in your first life and I think that’s what is needed to really get invested in a game. Each death restarts the level. You do have limited lives and once you’re out, its back to the title screen with no game over. There are no continues, but with a game so short you don’t need them.
Fitz has a pretty unique life system. For every acorn you collect or enemy you defeat, you’ll get points, but you can only have a maximum of three lives. If you die and have more than 1,000 points, that thousand is automatically deducted for an extra life. Its simple, its easy and it will give score-mongers a chance to get higher points if they don’t die. These collectable acorns are everywhere in a level and you don’t have to go out of your way to find them, but there are some guarded areas that the risk might be worth the reward.
In case you need a plot to play your video games, the premise is simple, you’re out to save your foxy fox love and you see it in a thought bubble at the start of the game. This almost destroys the illusion of the Game Boy, because your fine fox is pink. Some purists may have an issue with it, but it makes her special and more pronounced.
The boss fight at the end is unique and pretty fitting to the fox theme. As I was playing the game, I thought this game could really use a hunter chasing the fox. Sure enough at the end, I found my hunter. Although you’re actually the fox cashing the hunter, which makes me think Fitz is a rabid beast and not a poor hunted animal. Its all to save his love though.
With everything said, I think the game can get enhanced with bonus stages, vertical stages and even levels where you get to out clever bosses. You are a fox after all. There are secrets to avoiding difficult hazards, but that doesn’t make up for the lack of exploration. Right now the game is strictly to get to the exit.
Fitz has graphical charm, great art and easy playability, but. I’d just like to see more frills from it. I hope the final product will be deeper while still maintaining everything it has going for it. $3 is on the mark here for the enjoyment. I’d also like to thank Evan for giving me a copy of the game.