Continuing the grand old tradition of anthropomorphic foxes being portrayed as lovable rogues, Billy Goat Entertainment’s second iOS effort Outfoxed™ (out now, $1.99) casts players in the role of a suave and dashing gentlemanfox thief who’s set his sights on the local chicken farm. Cue a madcap battle of wits between our wily anti-hero and the farm’s residents who will try to protect their poultry by any means necessary!
It’s all but impossible not to be charmed by Outfoxed™ — initially, at least. The game has a whole lot going for it, from a delightfully offbeat and imaginative premise to exquisite 3D graphics, but unfortunately it lacks the vital ingredient of lastingly engaging and compelling gameplay. That said, if you don’t demand a great deal of depth from your mobile games, there’s still some breezy fun and giggles aplenty to be had here.
Gameplay revolves around a rather straightforward challenge: help hungry Foxy nab as many chickens as possible and deposit them in his dinner pot. Of course, a fox can’t just waltz onto a farm and do as he pleases without ruffling a few feathers (and I’m not just talking about those of the chickens), so it’s not long before an angry farmer armed with a shotgun and his knife-weilding wife arrive on the scene. As this murderous duo patrol the environment, the idea is to skulk around and avoid being spotted for as long as you can. Sadly, other than being able to use the various outhouses and vehicles dotted around the map as cover, you don’t have any stealthy abilities or trickery at your disposal, so there’s no real skill involved and you won’t get far without being rumbled.
Once you’ve been detected and your enemies start to give chase, Outfoxed™ rapidly shifts gears and adopts the zany, slapstick energy of a vintage Warner Bros.’ cartoon. Leading your pursuers a merry dance through fields and over stone walls and fences all whilst Foxy incessantly trots out witty one-liners in a Northern Irish lilt is pretty bonkers and lots of light-hearted fun; as is being able to use the chicken you’re carrying as a makeshift pump-action weapon to bombard your attackers with eggs, but as I played I couldn’t shake the feeling there should really be more stealth and cunning involved in a game called Outfoxed™. Its linearity and the ‘rinse and repeat’ nature of the game doesn’t lend itself particularly well to replayability either, as you’ll have seen everything Outfoxed™ has to offer after a couple of play-throughs.
So, while it looks absolutely great and is fun to play in short spurts, overall, Outfoxed™ left me more than a little underwhelmed. For me, the simplistic game of cat-and-mouse on offer didn’t have much lasting power. There are three game modes to try, but they’re simply minor variations on the same theme and are all played out on an identical map. Billy Goat Entertainment do have a very promising sounding update in the works which will add a lot of additional content to the game (such as new levels and a multiplayer mode), so canny customers are still advised to keep an eye on this one as it’s likely to improve in time.
iFanzine Verdict: An intriguing concept and lofty production values aresadly squandered on lackluster gameplay. Outfoxed™ is amusing in small doses, but its charm is very short-lived.