“There is nothing new under the sun, but there are new suns.” – Octavia E. Butler
Fixfox is a wholesome space adventure game that combines casual exploration, machine repairs and an overarching sci-fi narrative. Players take on the role of Vix, a human-fox Hybrid who crashlands on a strange planet with a trusty toolbox named Tin. The game was made by Jaroslav Meloun (aka Rendlike) a solo developer based in Prague.
Released: 31st March 2022
Available on: Steam
This game is being reviewed as part of the Indie Game Collective (IGC) showcase.
At one time, humans spliced their genes with those of animals for fashion, but soon, in order to fight the cold weather caused by global warming, the whole human race became hybrids before going off-world. The game centres around Vix, a fox/human who crashlands on planet Karamel and must repair a beacon in order to stop a static storm and escape the strange world. However, in the process, they uncover a cosmic mystery that must be unravelled.
In Fixfox, the narrative is mainly delivered via dialogue with different machines. It is well written with a comedic touch and the characterisation for the main NPCs is distinct, making for interesting and varied conversation. Sometimes the dialogue is much more casual, such as chats with Tin while eating meals, each bite will prompt a new line of speech resulting in a pleasantly immersive and laid back interlude.
The game’s introduction serves as a comprehensive tutorial though mechanics and controls are quite intuitive. Vix must travel around Karamel with the scooter, completing jobs and exploring. There are plenty of things that require fixing but this requires tools and materials which can be gathered in a few different ways: jobs, stashes and traders. Items are not conventional and players will find themselves conducting repairs with an assortment of quirky objects such as a spatula for a screwdriver and a plaster for electrical tape. Upon finding a new item it must be taken to an oracle for identification before it can be used.
Tier one items include things like plasters and coins and can be obtained from traders and stashes. Stashes are objects hidden by pirates in rocks around the planet. However, if players loot too many stashes pirates will turn up and loot your inventory. Additionally, the planet’s inhabitants believe in a divine maker and therefore that repairs are blasphemous, as such fixing too many things will result in the arrival of The Order, who will also ransack Vix’s possessions. Tier two items such as brushes can only be obtained from jobs obtained at a job board, after which players can choose a reward.
Though the main quest in Fixfox is fairly linear, there are plenty of opportunities to explore and a nice sizable map to traverse and find different locations within the various inhabited parts of Karamel. There are various characters to talk to, jobs to pick up, stashes to loot and machines to repair. The game also features environmental puzzles such as having to rearrange cargo holds in order to create a path for a large loading machine. This helps keep the gameplay fresh and varied.
The music in-game is quite relaxing for the most part with a moderate and calm pace, gentle acoustic guitar and an upbeat feel. However, it can get more moody or atmospheric if the scene requires and this plus some 80’s-style sci-fi synth tracks help prevent the audio from becoming too repetitive. There are so many different sound effects, all well implemented and work to bring the scenes to life, especially the mechanical noises which are almost intrusive with their entirely appropriate loudness!
Fixfox has a detailed pixel art style, using slightly muted colour palettes with hints of vibrancy for a colourful and charming overall effect. The lighting is very atmospheric, ranging from moody to homely, this is especially evident when camping out overnight with a fire and a bedroll. The animations are seamless and fun, from the zooming of the scooter to moving mechanic parts and ship’s take off, all adding to the immersive nature of the visuals. The vast variety of visual elements from a solo developer is just one of the reasons they are so impressive.
Overall, Fixfox is a breath of fresh air as a non-violent adventure game with delightful and engaging gameplay. It is a very chilled out experience with a cute aesthetic, sense of humour and a variety of charming NPCs, not to mention delightful additions such as camping out overnight and chatting while eating to make the experience feel homely and sweet. This game successfully mixes elements from multiple genres and will have a wide appeal, it will entertain for hours and is very easy to recommend.
Other relaxing adventure games recommended by Indie Hive are:
Submerged: Hidden Depths – A Colourful New Exploration Game – Letters: A Written Adventure – A New Word Puzzle about Friendship! – Shindig: A Wholesome New Point-and-Click Adventure