I went for Kitsune Zero based on the description alone, which sounded promising – a prequel to “the platformer styled after beloved classics and steeped in Japanese mythology while featuring diverse relationships.” Considering that Kitsune Tails looked bright and fun from its steam page, this seemed like a good bet as a lover of platformers.
Unfortunately, Kitsune Zero is pretty much a Super Mario facelift. The blocks, the levels, and the enemies all feel just like the classic platformer, just with an occasional graphical update (sometimes not even that). You’ll platform your way across the level, hit the flag for your end of stage points, and eventually make your way through a castle where you can defeat the boss by hitting a lever behind him – sound familiar?
However, while Kitsune Zero looks a lot like your classic mario game, it doesn’t really play like one – the controls are very awkward and uncomfortable, and your character moves very slowly if you’re not pressing the run button. On controller, run was right next to jump, but letting go of the run button immediately stopped your speed. The result was an incredibly awkward failed attempt at run jumping, which makes some stages much more difficult than they need to be.
The original detail of Kitsune Zero is the mini-story it includes, which is incredibly short, likely as it’s meant to just be a miniature prologue for the full upcoming game of Kitsune Tails.
To be fair, Kitsune Tails actually looks much more original, and I can understand wanting to do a fun prologue in the style of a popular title from the genre. Sadly, it just didn’t feel like it worked for me. I’ll be giving Kitsune Tails a look when it comes out in hopes that the controls are more comfortable, but I would have a hard time recommending Kitsune Zero with so many other wonderfully-crafted platformers out there to try.
I didn’t receive an exact link for Kitsune Zero’s release, but from what I can tell it will be a DLC add-on to the free satirical game Super Bernie World. Kitsune Zero itself will be available this week, with Kitsune Tails slated for 2023.