Trifox is another one of those 3D action games that tries to reignite the fire that burned brightest in the early noughties and once again it begs the question: who are these games really for? From the splurge of nostalgic platformers that we’ve seen in recent years, you would think there’s an unsatiable appetite for games like Trifox. I always feel duped into playing them because I give them a shot and always walk away with unkind words. Trifox is no exception, and unfortunately joins the pile of disappointing homage titles.
I love the title and the titular character. As the name suggests, you’re encouraged to try 3 different playstyles. I also love the core concept: it’s a twin-stick hack-and-slash with an emphasis on collecting coins to spend on weapons – and there are loads of weapons! In fact, I got the most satisfaction when I was in the war room, strategically working my way through my chosen class of weapons to reach the strongest tier.
The problem, however, is everything else.
First of all, Trifox feels heavy and lethargic to control. He will automatically sprint if you run in the same direction for 3 seconds but you’re unlikely to do so as you will constantly stop to either smash up some crates for gold or face an onslaught of enemies. The result of this is that your momentum is continuously lost, so you constantly feel like you’re trudging through treacle. An easy fix would be to add a sprint button or to speed up Trifox’s pace altogether.
In direct contrast to that is how floaty you feel when you jump. Being a 3D platformer, it’s not too much to ask for a character that feels accurate and weighty but Trifox moves through the air like a hot knife through butter, and he feels slippery when he eventually lands. It’s an odd sensation to have such a heavy-feeling character feel light and skiddy after a jump. In its defence though, there’s no harsh penalty for slipping off platforms and ridges (you lose a bit of health), and the spawn points in certain areas will actually push you past the bit you’re struggling with (if it’s a timed event).
The allure of creating your own build (Heavy, Defence or Magical) is disingenuous too. It’s impossible to finish certain areas without investing in weapons across all 3 classes. It also feels at times that certain areas can only be beaten by having a specific build. This felt particularly true when facing a wave of strong, fast and ranged baddies that all require juggling between weapons. This isn’t necessarily a problem when you can equip up to 4 weapons but it’s a far-cry from the concept of focusing on one of the 3 classes.
The story is also ridiculous. I know it’s supposed to be simple and comedic because platformers in the early noughties set the bar pretty low but I’m not even sure if that’s excusable. In a nutshell, Trifox gets knocked out and has his TV remote stolen and so he goes on a mission to retrieve it. Each boss inherits the TV remote after the one before them is defeated. Once you beat all 3 bosses you get the TV remote back. That’s it. The story doesn’t have to be deep but I still don’t understand the bosses’ motivations. The TV remote is just a McGuffin and isn’t worth fighting for – especially when Trifox’s TV is smashed up in the opening cinematic!
Like I said in the opening paragraph, I don’t know who this game is for. It’s not for people who like to focus on a particular playstyle because it doesn’t let you do that. It’s not for people who like to strategise because it often feels like you’re being bottlenecked into a particular loadout. It’s not for people who enjoy 3D platformers because it doesn’t feel slick or polished to play. It’s most likely for people pining for Crash Bandicoot. My advice? Just play Crash Bandicoot.