Kitsune Tails

Preview: Kitsune Tails Is Familiar Fun

Kitsune Tails, the new retro platformer from developer Kitsune Games, will immediately be familiar to fans of Super Mario and other platformers from that era. From the animations, jumping mechanics, enemy design, and narrative setup, Kitsune Tails feels like something you’ve played before. Yuzu, the main character, runs and jumps like Mario. The enemies range from simple enemies you can jump on, others that ball up and roll into others if hit, to some that have spikes on their backs that need to be avoided first. Yuzu is on a quest to save a girl she likes who was kidnapped by a yellow character who is jealous of their relationship. Anyone who’s played a retro platformer will immediately feel at home with how Kitsune Tails plays, but that’s not bad. It does a lot in its narrative and environmental design to stand out from the rest, and if the full title can repeat the wonderful feeling and design of its opening worlds, there will be a lot to love here.

fr2gAjg

Yuzu’s Mail Delivery Service

One of the significant differences between Kitsune Tails and its contemporaries is its focus on narrative. Yuzu is a kitsune, a fox-like yokai from Japanese folklore, setting out as a messenger travelling the world. She meets a love interest in Akko, and as their relationship deepens, Akko gets kidnapped by her jealous mentor, Kiri. Yuzu sets out to save Kiri by collecting elemental keys worldwide. The narrative setup is familiar and straightforward, but Kitsune has cutscenes to help you get to know her character and the others around her. The deeper investment in inclusivity, relationships, and character building is appreciated, and I’m curious to see how they change and grow over the course of the story. Kitsune Tails promises a bonus ending by exploring these relationships to their full extent. In the demo, the character moments play out as you progress, so I’m interested to see if there are other ways to engage with the cast in the full title.

KI1KHyk

Hop, Jump, And A Tail Whip In Kitsune

The level design and gameplay loop are familiar but well done. Each level Yuzu runs through will host lots of platforming, jumping on enemies, collecting power-ups, and a final run through a gate to complete the level. If Yuzu takes damage, she shrinks to an adorable purple fox until a power-up returns her to size. The only significant power-up in the demo turns you into a spinning top, able to kill enemies and break blocks as you flip upside down and spin on a pointed hat. It’s a fun ability that has you bouncing around like a top, and it makes me curious to see what other power-ups can be found at later levels.

Retro Beauty

Graphically, Kitsune Tails is gorgeous. The pixel art style, with colours that jump off the screen, is used well. The Japanese-inspired levels and enemy design all look fantastic, which gives Kitsune Tails a unique visual identity. The seasons change as you progress as well, shifting the world alongside, going from deep greens in summer to an autumn yellow in fall. It’s striking and looks great.

XRJoWcq

Kitsune Tails is off to a solid start with tight platforming, an engaging visual style, and a fun cast of characters; it feels familiar while creating an identity of its own. If the rest of the game can continue to keep up the quality that the first few worlds offer, fans of retro platformers are in for something unique.

Kitsune Tails is coming to PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series, Xbox One, and itch.io. Wishlist it on Steam.