App Spotlight

Published on February 20th, 2017 | by Callib Carver

The Little Fox — App Spotlight

This week I take a look at The Little Fox, a spin on the continuous runner game, like Temple Run, that uses an adorable fox with big ears to traverse multi-stage levels on hexagon tiles that add a new challenge to the runner game.

I would like to say that this spotlight, and all future spotlight articles, will be a bit different. While we still are reviewing the apps, we will be changing our evaluation criteria to Functionality; how functional is the app, does it freeze, crash, or is it stable and reliable? User Interface; This will include graphics, looks, and how the app is setup. Finally, we will look at Virality; Is the app popular among its current user base, based off of downloads, reviews, app ratings, etc. Does it feel like it could maintain a user base, or in essence stay alive?

The Little Fox is another continuous runner style game, where you take the role of… Well, the Little Fox and are running across multiple stages on different planets. Now I’m not sure why ZPLAY, the company behind the game, chose planets as their level medium as there is no clear reason behind them other than to break up the level styles.

Each planet, or level, has multiple stages that you have to navigate across on hexagon tiles, with two direction controls. You tap the right or left of your screen and move accordingly, that’s it. Fairly simple. However the tiles can disappear, or the environment can change and cause you to have to make a sudden course change, or run right off the map and start all over again, and unless you’ve found a checkpoint you’ll be back at the beginning of the stage. As you progress there are jumping tiles, that launch you in the direction your heading unless you change that direction as you hit the tile. There are also tunnels that when you enter them they shoot you to another section of the map and in certain cases, you have a second to correct your course and choose the only safe way out.

While the ultimate goal is to complete all the stages and in turn all the planets of which there are currently twelve. You’ll also have two additional challenges per planet; collect all of the water or tear drops and complete it in a set time. I’ll be honest I’ve yet to complete on the planet with either of these two challenges.

It is overall a fun game, and I can’t deny that the little fox is cute. Anytime I’m playing it and he makes any of his noises I hear my girlfriend comment about how cute he is. She actually watches me play it just so she can watch him “scamper” across the map.

It does have one feature that bugs me a bit though and that is the use of a timer based life system. You’re only given so many lives, and once they are gone you have to wait until you can continue to play, typically it’s around 30 seconds per life. While this is no major issue it can be a turn off for me and could be for other players. We are playing a game and don’t want to wait for our lives to regenerate, even if it is 30 seconds. I’m guilty of not wanting to wait and I’ve turned the game off. You are given three paid options, though.

You are given three paid options, though. You can watch a video ad, which will give you ten lives. You can pay $.99 and get 100 lives, or for $1.99 you be given unlimited lives, which all things considered is a dirt cheap deal compared to the cost of in-app purchases on other apps.

I’ve yet to have any freezing or crashing issues, and the app responds well to your commands, and will actually respond to multiple inputs or chain of inputs. So If I tap left, left, right in mid-jump, the fox will attempt to complete those commands when he lands. Though I typically run him into a rock or something and have to start over.

Graphically it’s a beautiful game. I love that it’s a bit cartoonish, with a geometric design to it that gives everything the same feel and actually does tie in the hexagon tiles. It flows well and untimely the look of the app’s in-game design is what drew me to it. I’m a sucker for a good design.

Currently, on Google Play The Little Fox has a 4.5-star rating from 7,427 reviews and has been downloaded some half a million times. I looked over the reviews for the game and for the most part they are positive. Some users said they felt the controls were too stiff, or that they didn’t like how the fox moved across the hexagonal tiles. There were, of course, a few bad reviews. Some stated that the ads got in the way, one, in particular, claimed the game kept freezing and wouldn’t allow them to finish the level. Then there was a host of reviews that said they loved the background music, and that the fox was cute.

Overall though the reviews were positive, and on almost every review I saw the developers replied to the users. Some of the developer replies looked like a copied and pasted prompt, while others were actual responses acknowledging players feedback, which I feel is a plus from a game developer. At the least we know they are watching their reviews. This being said I feel the app is strong enough to continue to grow its user base through the addition of new players, however, once you complete the twelve levels, and hopefully, complete them with the additional tear drop and time challenges what more is there, other than to play the game over again. Perhaps we will see the addition of more levels in the future.

I’m giving The Little Fox, by ZPLAY, four and a half stars for it’s beautifully designed the world, great functionality, and it’s ability to capture its players with a now standard style game, that they took a chance on with a new kind of hexagonal based movement system. My only worry is that once players complete the game what will keep them playing or keep them from uninstalling the app? I know I personally hope for more levels, and I think that is the only way to keep players playing, perhaps a story would help as well.

You can download The Little Fox on Google Play and through the App Store.

Have you played The Little Fox? What did you think? Leave a comment below.

The Little Fox — App Spotlight Callib Carver
Functionality
User Interface
Virality

Summary: The Little Fox is a new spin on the continuous runner game, that incorporates hexagonal tiles to add another challenge its multi-level & multi-stage gameplay.

4.5

Well Designed


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About the Author

Callib Carver is the founder & editor of o7 Magazine. Having spent three years as a student journalist, focusing in photography & video, and working with several small publications, he now writes for his own publication, blog, and is an active freelancer in Washington state.


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