Review: Strike Force Foxx (Nintendo 3DS)

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Strike Force Foxx
Publisher: Big John Games
Developer: Big John Games
Genre: Action
Release Date: 07/17/2014

Strike Force Foxx is not ashamed of it’s old school mentality. It’s more than happy to fill that niche of nostalgia and mindless action. It’s been described as Top Gun meets Choplifter, and that’s pretty much accurate. It feeds off of silly eighties cliches like you wouldn’t believe.

You play as Captain Foxx, the arrogant womanizing jackass that was the star in so many an action flick back in the day. At your side is the typical crew. You have the well mannered sidekick, the hot blonde love interest, the overbearing commander, and the evil mastermind. The characters are pretty much just hollow shells that move the story forward, but there are some funny moments. I particularly liked how the bad guy insisted people call him “Overlord”. The story quickly takes a more serious note, however, and ends up becoming just another action flick.

strikeforcefoxx1The setup for the game is that an evil organization has taken over a massive island city. Apparently the idea of renewable electric energy is blasphemy to them or something. It really isn’t brought up again. Captain Foxx and crew are part of a helicopter division that focuses on rescue missions. There are lots of civilians waiting to be picked up, and more than enough bad guys to take out along the way. It helps that the rescue chopper is equipped with quite a bit of firepower. From this setup, you just complete each of the thirty-five missions until you reach the end. Along the way will be frequent breaks for story sequences as well as chances to upgrade your ride.

Visually, the game is far from impressive. Buildings are blocky, characters are a mess of pixels, and there are about as few animations as possible. The 3D effect is utilized, and does actually make the game look better. The environments pop out quite nicely. The character portraits used during story sequences are OK for a generic cartoon, but again have no animation or personality to them. They just stand still while text runs beneath them. The overall level of detail just isn’t there, and it feels like you could do this game on a GBA if not for the 3D.

I may not be a huge fan of the visuals, but they were fine for what they were really. However, the same can not be said of the voices. When you come across survivors that need to be rescued, they shout “down here” or “over here” until you grab them. Never mind that you might be in the middle of dodging a barrage of missiles. When you drop them off at HQ, they say “thanks for the ride” like you dropped them off at work or something. And each of them in turn thank you, which gets annoying quickly. The effects are tinny as you’d expect. Muffled explosions, popcorn bullets, and the dull throb of the engine is most of what you’ll hear. I do kind of dig the music though. It’s generic rock music, but it really fits with the theme.

strikeforcefoxx2When it comes to playing the game, you’ll have pretty much just a couple of different missions types. Each missions gives you one or two objectives to complete. You almost always need to rescue a certain number of survivors. You might also need to kill enemies, destroy specific buildings, or pick up supplies. The mission ends once all parameters are met. This means if you drop off enough survivors to finish the mission, you’ll finish it even if there are others still out left to grab.

Levels are flat and straight. You start off at a home base that is usually at one end of the map. You then simply fly around to complete your objectives. Steering is done in a unique manner. You use the shoulder buttons to point the helicopter left, right, and also to swing it in the background to fire on the ground directly below. The circle pad moves the chopper, and there are some interesting mechanics at work here. When you push forward, the nose of the chopper pushed down, which will put your shots at a downward angle instead of simply straight ahead. The reverse is true if you’re heading backwards. This means expert piloting will be needed to put your shots exactly where you want to go. You can use the tilt sensor to level the nose, but this will cause problems if you have 3D turned on.

strikeforcefoxx3In order to grab survivors, you’ll need to land your helicopter nearby. Usually, you’ll want to clear out enemies first, as you’ll be a sitting duck while you’re waiting for them to climb aboard. This is where things start to get tricky. The enemies are often nearby the survivors, and a missed shot can have you kill a survivor instead of your intended target. You can generally only afford to lose one or two survivors, so precise aiming is key. Also, you can kill survivors by landing on them in you’re not careful. Thankfully, if you slowly descend towards them, they will move out of the way. Later on, you can buy an upgrade that allows you to lower a ladder instead of having to land. This comes in handy if you struggle with this mechanic, and there’s even one survivor who can only be rescued this way. The only problem I have with this is that the game is far too nice about where you can land. You can actually land your chopper with half of the aircraft hanging off a platform. As long as one of your struts is touching ground, you’ll be fine. It’s horribly unrealistic, but it does save you from having to rely on the rope ladder.

Before each mission, you can upgrade your craft, as well as buy consumables. Upgrades include the typical damage, armor, and speed upgrades you’d expect. You can also grab upgrades that allow you to use bombs and missiles. These items are consumables, and must be re-purchased after you use them. You can safely play the game without them if you want, but they make taking out SAM turrets a hell of a lot easier.

Enemies in this game are generally stupid. You’ll fight foot soldiers, tanks, subs, enemy choppers, and more throughout. The land vehicles are really pathetic. They have to do a complete about face in order to fire on you, which means you can easily go back and forth in order to lock them down. The only thing that will put up a fight are the enemies that fire off rockets. All of the rockets home onto you, and will take a huge chunk out of your health. It can feel terribly cheap at times, but those consumables sure help.

strikeforcefoxx4The game has thirty-five levels for you to complete, and it will take you about three hours to do so. You can replay missions to increase your rank as well as grind for cash to get those last few upgrades. The missions do get a bit repetitive as you go on, however. The game is best enjoyed in short sessions as opposed to a marathon run. The game can be fairly addictive. If you fail, you’ll know that you can beat the level if you just get past that one tricky part. That makes it easy to retry a level several times in a row if you need to.

It’s a fairly enjoyable game. The controls are responsive once you get used to them, and it becomes pretty hectic when you’re dodging bullets and missiles. Some of the elements are a bit underdeveloped though. The mercenaries you hire are useless because you have to stay still to let them go. This means whatever they might end up fighting is likely to shoot you in the face while you’re dropping them off. Some enemies are so poorly programmed that they’ll just run into a wall and sit there because they’re trying to chase you. There’s certainly a lot of room for improvement. Still, it can be fun.

Short Attention Span Summary

diehardjack1-150x150Strike Force Foxx isn’t going to wow anyone. The lackluster presentation, boring story, and monotonous action just isn’t a recipe for success. However, solid gameplay and a decent level of challenge will keep players coming back just enough to make the purchase worthwhile. If you’re looking for a straight-up shooter, this is one that you might end up liking.

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