There's pretty much an endless parade of Mario clones out there in the world, which makes it hard to separate the good from the bad. Recently, however, we stumbled across Kitsune Zero, a charming take on the popular formula that we feel is worth giving some attention to.
The game was released earlier this week on itch.io and Steam (as DLC for Super Bernie World), and follows a fox girl named Yumi as she travels through 8 worlds, each of which contains three distinct stages.
In Kitsune Zero, the goal will be obvious to anyone who has touched a 2D platformer: you'll need to run through the stage and reach the flagpole at the end. To do this, you'll have to avoid several precipitous drops, as well as various enemies based on figures from Japanese culture. This includes Daruma-Esque Kashira, which act as stand-ins for the Goombas; Koopa-like Kappa's; and long-necked Rokurokubi who hide away in pipes like Mario's Piranha plants.
The description of the story on itch.io states:
"Defeat a sinister samurai gang to stop the clan’s war of conquest. Hear the cries of the local onmyouji, a wizardly bureaucrat assigned to keep the peace, and end the magical pact the samurai have with vengeful spirits. Only Yumi can break the alliance and restore peace… and maybe get to go on a date for her trouble. Gather the necessary ingredients to stop the dark pact’s magic and the leader of the samurai clan once and for all. But beware, you may need to save a damsel, err, a dashing gentleman in distress!"
Something we enjoyed from our short time with the game so far has been the cute little touches you'll find. For instance, in an early stage, set during the day, you'll see the clouds smiling overhead, but when you enter a stage that takes place at night these same clouds are now falling asleep and drooling from the sides of their mouth. There's also an adorable ending animation too, for each individual level, where a group of Tanuki will run up and collect the character in a carriage.
Despite being quite a substantial game in its own right, it is apparently a prequel to another game, called Kitsune Tails, which is releasing for Nintendo Switch and Steam in 2023. We'll keep you updated on that game when we have more information.
Have you checked out Kitsune Zero yet? What did you think? Let us know below!