Trifox review

2022-12-07 by Mike Alexander

  • Reviewed on
    Xbox Series X

  • Platforms

    Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PC (Microsoft Windows), Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X|S

  • Developer
    Glowfish Interactive

  • Publisher
    Big Sugar

From Humble Origins

There is something to be said about gaming in the early 2000s. Between 2000 and 2003, we had games like Jak & Daxter, Ratchet & Clank, Sly Cooper, Ty the Tasmanian Tiger, and even the lesser-known (but still near and dear to my heart) Vexx. These games largely played very differently and had their own charms, but they are grouped together in hindsight as a single genre in my mind. They all had a delightful cast of characters, featured imaginative mechanics and gameplay, and valued fun and humor over grittiness and violence. In recent years, these values have been sorely missed in the vast majority of games, even ones made by the very same people who brought us most of those classic games. This includes the makers of both Jak & Daxter and The Last of Us, Naughty Dog, as well as Sly Cooper and Ghost of Tsushima, Sucker Punch. I really miss those days and the games associated with them, and I'm sure I'm not alone. That's why when I booted up Trifox and I was cackling with glee and engrossed in its mechanics within the first 10 minutes, I was suddenly eight years old again, enjoying something that wouldn't have felt out of place on a PlayStation 2. It's certainly not perfect, but for anyone who has fond memories of that time in gaming history, Trifox is very special.

Trifox is a twin-stick action platforming game that is also the debut project of Glowfish Studios, a Belgian indie game development house. Part of their mission statement is, "to push the quality boundaries for what can be expected from a small development team", and I would say they accomplished that. Trifox isn't a massive game, but it is impressive and feels like it was made by a much larger team than the two people who make up Glowfish Interactive. Big Sugar Games published the title, and you might recognize them from games like Valfaris and Unto The End. They don't have many games under their belt, but they do seem to have an eye for talented indie developers. Trifox is in good company with the rest of its roster.

He Just Wants to Relax!

The intro to Trifox perfectly sets up its tone and what you can expect from the rest of the game. The opening cutscene begins with a pan over some family pictures of a fox family, a home, and some gear. We are then introduced to Trifox who is sitting in his living room, enjoying some TV on a cartoonishly large screen. His relaxation is interrupted when he is attacked, his TV is destroyed, and he is knocked unconscious by a mysterious villain as gremlin-like creatures destroy equipment connected to his house. When he regains consciousness, he rushes inside to be confronted with a truly terrifying discovery: the remote control for his TV has been stolen. Trifox throws his head back in a blood-curdling scream that can be heard in outer space, and the title card drops. Amazing. The fox's reaction to his missing TV remote tickled me in a way no game has in recent times. It's a pure, wholesome, Looney Tunes-esque set up and it's perfect for what Trifox is: a wholesome game inspired by some of the best titles from the PS2 and, by extension, many people's childhood.

Something that is immediately apparent even in the game's intro is the very specific art style Trifox has. The world is made up of a slightly rough, angular, polygonal look that I can only describe as "mid-poly", rather than high or low poly. It reminds me quite a lot of Grow Home and its sequel, both of which are games I enjoyed. But there's something… not quite right with this art style's implementation in this game. Or, perhaps more accurately, with the designs of the characters themselves. Trifox is anthropomorphized, but his eyes look a little too human, and his proportions are downright unsettling. Why are his arms so long while his torso and legs are so short? The game's isometric perspective makes this kind of moot, and once you start getting equipment you won't notice his eyes or his arms, but those opening minutes definitely struck some kind of uncanny valley trigger in me. The other anthropomorphized animal characters in the game don't suffer from the same level of uncanniness, but they all have similar eyes.

A Triple Threat

After the intro, you are dropped into a pretty accessible and easy-to-understand twin-stick action game. Movement feels just a touch mushy when you gain control, but I got used to it pretty quickly and was able to compensate for it before too long. There's no sprint button, and Trifox will automatically run if you keep moving in the same direction for a second or so, which seems like a strange choice. Whatever issues I had with movement or movement speed were basically forgiven when Trifox reveals its hand and primary feature: the ability to mix and match abilities from Warrior, Mage, and Engineer paths to create the titular Trifox. The first ability players can choose shows just how different these paths can be. In the tutorial section, you can select one movement ability from the Warrior's Dash, the Mage's Teleport, and the Engineer's Helicopter. Each one accomplishes the same general goal but in completely different ways. This diverse variation carries over into the attacks and special abilities on each path, and the best part is that players are free to change up their "loadout" at the home base area that you return to in between missions (which also contains a very Crash Bandicoot-like circular world selection area). There are 30 different abilities that you can unlock with the coins you earn in missions, though you can only equip 5 at a time.

This system allows for a metric ton of player freedom, and I had so much fun with my turret and hammer-wielding fox who could also rapid fire magic projectiles and teleport out of harm's way. Unlocks obviously get more expensive the farther up the path you get, but I was always excited to return and see what I could purchase and equip after a mission. It's a very rewarding system that makes playing Trifox a delight. The triple path system makes your overall combat experience very customizable, and you'll probably need to make great use of this to fend off the sameness of many of the combat encounters. Trifox's primary method of challenge appears to be to just throw large numbers of enemies at you, which is fun when you want to test out your new skills but became monotonous by the end of the game. As a concept, Trifox is incredibly impressive. The game's ability mixing and matching system are so solid that it could carry the entire game, but thankfully the endearingness of the characters and world definitely carries their own weight. Even with the uncanniness of the main character's design.


As an actual game, Trifox is a great first try by a new two-man studio. There are some issues with movement, difficulty balancing, and a lack of variety in combat, but these are things that could be fixed in a sequel. I'd really love to see another iteration of Trifox, and if you love those early PS2 games, odds are you'll enjoy it that much as well.