Arctic and Myst-like – Foxhunt Review

8.3

The premise of this game is indeed in the title. Made in Unity by Henning Koczy, the player begins in an arctic looking wasteland where they must solve puzzles to find a fox that scurries off. Left alone, the player finds a card left on the ground that reveals a clue to the next puzzle.


First Impression

Each puzzle solved grants the player a new card with another clue and comment about the world. The cards are well-written as the player learns the mechanics of the game and more about this mysterious fox. The font on the cards is also cute and readable, giving character development to the fox.

A greeting card from the mysterious fox, inviting the player to perform a task to find it.
The first card the player picks up.

The sound design more than makes up for the lack of voice acting as the music is relaxing and curious. Thanks to Max Berghaus, the variation in tracks as players explore add depth to an otherwise desolate world. The sound effects are excellent and give hints to the player akin to a game like Myst. It is worth the player’s time to take a moment and enjoy the music rather than rush from card to card.

An in-game color console where multiple puzzles occur.
A color console where multiple puzzles occur.

The Puzzles

As the player progresses in the game, the number of cards received upon completion of a task begins to diminish. There is even a reference to this intentionally on one of the cards later. It means that the game play should start to become intuitive which it did. Once the color mechanic is learned, the rest follows reasonably quickly.

With this, the difficulty in the puzzles slowly increased. It may take some time to figure out the last couple puzzles as there was little information to go off of, especially compared to the beginning where the cards specifically tell the player what to do. Increasing puzzle difficulty without the loss of immersion or game play is quite the balancing act that Foxhunt does well.

Design Notes

There are only a few pieces of design where the game feels clunky. For example, the main menu screen is designed well in how it ties to the cards, but it would be nice if there were an option to use the arrow keys to make a selection rather than having to move the mouse. Using the mouse is somewhat disorienting, and when trying to tab out of the game, it proves to be minorly annoying, both in the game and menus.

The main menu screen of Foxhunt.

Another area of design that seemed lacking was a tutorial. When picking up the second card, the player is asked to move a pillar, but there is no instruction given on how to move it. One must pause the game and mouse to the Instructions page which removes the player from any immersion they had. There is, however, one place in the game that provides a tutorial, but it is half-way through the game and focuses only on one specific action.

Lastly, hitting the tab key brings up the collected cards, but the player must move the mouse left or right to scroll through them. Perhaps using the scroll wheel or allowing the use of arrow keys to make a card selection would have been more intuitive.

Conclusion

Foxhunt is free and takes roughly an hour to play. The puzzle design and difficulty are executed well in that short time. I was genuinely stuck near the end of the game, trying to keep the ‘aspe’ open. The music and sound effects tell the player what they are doing right, much like older point-and-click games, which I loved to play as a child. More focus on user interface could help players coming into this genre. Otherwise, I hope we see more of Henning Koczy and Max Berghaus’s work either in the continuation of this game or other projects.

 

Who should play?
People who enjoyed the Myst series and similar titles, or those looking for a short, relaxing game.
Design8.8
Narrative8
Graphics7.5
Music9
Reader Rating0 Votes0
Pros
Good puzzle design
Great soundtrack
Cons
Utilize arrow keys in user interface
Should include a tutorial
8.3

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