I’m not the first person to mention this, but we are approaching a big resurgence for 3D platformers. In fact, this is not the first time I’ve mentioned it on SUPERJUMP. It’s partly due to younger devs being influenced by the 3D games of their childhood, and partly due to the advancements of accessible game dev tools. There’s been a steady stream of quality 3D platformers of all sorts from small teams in recent years, and the next on the conveyor belt is Trifox, the debut game from Glowfish Interactive.
Trifox is an interesting mesh of genres and influences. It is a bright colourful platformer, like many of the mascot-starring games of the '90s, but unlike most mascot platformers, its focus is on its combat. And furthermore, that combat takes the form of a twin-stick shooter. It’s an interesting twist that helps set it apart from other retro-tinged 3D platformers, and creates a clear split in the gameplay. This could lead to a jarring experience, but Trifox manages to walk that tightrope to be an engaging platformer/shooter.
So, what’s the set-up for Trifox? Well, the titular fox is ambushed in his home by pirates and they…steal his remote control. So you’ve got to go after it. Better than saving a princess, I guess. So, story is a non-factor here, which is fine. It goes with a kind of low-poly look that chooses to go with sharp lines rather than more blurred textures. This makes the game’s environments pop and it looks good in action, but the characters look a bit odd close up. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen often, so the graphics succeed in giving a Crash Bandicoot feel. Crash’s influence is also felt in the music and how the levels are laid out. You have a main hub, where you can access the three sets of levels, which all contain three levels and then a boss (see a theme?), before you face off against the captor of your precious remote control. You also have access to your skill tree, which contains 30 abilities spread over three classes – warrior, mage, and engineer.
When you start Trifox, you pick a class and then receive their basic weapon and movement ability – hammer and dash for the warrior, homing bolts and teleport for the mage, and a machine gun and hover ability for the engineer. After you reach the hub for the first time, you can freely mix and match abilities provided you have the coin to purchase them. You can equip four abilities, one on each shoulder button, to go with your choice of basic weapon and movement ability. Things start slowly while you are still building up your armoury. The platforming takes a bit more of the focus early on, which is functional but not particularly spectacular, before later levels have more of a combat focus.
You will be spending most of your time in Trifox running and gunning. As I said, things don’t quite start off with a bang due to a lack of interesting abilities available initially. But once you do find some abilities you do like and get some synergies going you are in for an engaging twin stick shooter. Each class has a mix of offensive and defensive abilities, and you get enough coins through regular play to get through to the higher tiers of weaponry. The warrior class focuses on melee attacks, which worked well enough, but I had the most fun with the other two classes. The engineer class is largely based on summoning turrets, bombs and other mechanical doodads. The mage class has a variety of magic bolts and crowd control abilities. The game really clicked for me once I unlocked a couple of great mage abilities – a little temporary companion that fires at enemies and a floor trap that slows enemies. I combined those with my trusty flame-spewing turret from the engineer tree and boom - I had a proper build that was effective and fun to play. I toyed with other top-tier abilities and I still managed to maintain the enjoyable controlled chaos I brought down on my enemies with my original build.
Trifox ends up being far more of a twin stick shooter than a platformer, which is no problem because it becomes quite a good action game. The difficulty curve is just right and I found myself engrossed in the game by the final levels. Among the current crop of indie 3D platformers, Trifox’s combat-heavy design makes it stand out and a worthy choice for those looking to run and gun. And jump. And collect stuff.
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