Games have explored all sorts of worlds, dimensions, and timelines looking for all forms of adventure. From archaic civilizations to futuristic societies, no matter where you find yourself, one thing remains constant: Things break. No matter the circumstances, there will always be structures and machinery that needs maintenance so there will always be people who work hard to keep them in good shape. This is the premise of the upcoming game FixFox by the devs over at Rendlike. While you will have the means to explore the stars, this pretty much serves as a means to an end as your main job is to fix things at various destinations.
Fixing Up A Story
There are plenty of sci-fi epics that revolve around exploring the vastness of space and dealing with the troubles you encounter along the way. In the case of FixFox, you know what and where the trouble is and are willing to set off to find it. The game is set in a future where humanity has willingly spliced their genes with furry animals in order to survive the coldness of space. You play as Vix, a human-fox hybrid who works as a SPACR, or interstellar mechanic. The issue is that Vix is the worst at their job so their AI companion Tin gets them one final chance to prove themselves in a far-off and mysterious world. It's up to you to uncover the secrets, follow the story, or simply run around fixing locals' devices.
A Smart Solution
Even when a mechanic is trained and has quality tools, they also need to be creative in order to solve more complex problems. FixFox definitely gets creative with its gameplay and mechanics. The first is the sense of exploration and curiosity. Although you arrive on the planet with a job to do, there's nothing rushing you and you can spend some time taking in the sights. You're given the means to explore the world moments after you arrive and you'll frequently run into activities, secrets, and new places to visit.
Then there's how the mechanic aspect works. The mechanics of being a mechanic are non-conventional which makes it interesting. You start off with tools but quickly lose them even though everything around you is broken. This leads to the gameplay of trying to find items that can substitute for tools. Each item you find has certain properties that once identified, give a clear idea of what they could be used to do. You'll find yourself gathering lots of one-use items to provide quick but effective fixes to problems at hand.
Then there's the overall nature and atmosphere of the game. It's presented in a top-down fashion that's supported by clean pixel portraits during encounters and dialogue. It does a great job at being light-hearted and quirky while still covering some serious events. There's no pressure or stress to do anything so you can just enjoy the ride.
Sometimes a problem can be so frustrating that a person could be prompted to rush the solution only to have it cause problems later. FixFox has made a few poor choices that hopefully, it can amend before too long. The first is the top-down presentation. Though the pixel art is nice and colorful, the top-down perspective doesn't do it justice. Many of the characters don't stand out from the bird's eye view and areas can blend together which reduces the variety.
In terms of the mechanic gameplay, there's potential to make it even more engaging. Most of the overworld fixing puzzles have a lot of the same problems and same solutions. Considering how many caches of items there are around, your toolbox will frequently be overflowing when everything you need. This can make taking on smaller fixing jobs feel quite trivial especially when the reward is usually more tool items.
Lastly, the game can feel a bit empty and slow. There are huge worlds to explore but there is only so much to see based on where you've landed. Some appear to be very vibrant and lush while others are barren and plain. While this created a solid contrast, it just makes you yearn to blaze through the boring worlds just so you can reach the more interesting ones.
Can You Fix It?
FixFox is a top-down pixel sci-fi adventure about a space-faring human-fox hybrid whose job it is to fix anything they come across. There's a nice emphasis on the idea of fixing related puzzles, freedom of exploration, and a light tone filled with intrigue and humor. There are places to improve while still in development such as having a greater variety of puzzle problems, making items less accessible so that the rewards are more meaningful, and adding some flair to the pixel art to make the top-down angle stand out. Although, all in all, if you need an enjoyable fix of foxy fixing in space, then prepare for this adventure.
TechRaptor previewed FixFox on Steam with a copy provided by the publisher. It will be launching for PC on March 31st.