Snowshoe Forest is a JRPG created for the OHR 2018 One-Room Contest by Foxley (Hollowkeep, Action 37).
This game is about an ermine searching for her missing brother in a snow-covered forest, with the aid of a mercenary raccoon. There are a few cute NPCs to talk to, a shop that sells healing items, some random encounters, and a mini-boss to challenge. Beyond this choke-point is a mostly empty map to explore, and the game trails off without really ending.
This game looks and sounds gorgeous, but (with the exception of walkabout sprites) it’s mostly free assets being used as placeholders until original art is completed, so it is hard to know how to talk about graphics or sound in this review. I don’t know how the footprints were accomplished, but I adore this detail. The color-cycling in the treetops is a super neato effect, but could be a more subtle in this context.
The battle system is mostly unobtrusive - largely a matter of mashing the Enter key, the main challenge being to keep up with the manic pace of the Active Time. Pausing to consider tactics can turn an otherwise easy battle into an upsetting defeat. Luckily the game is very forgiving when it comes to player death; the ermine re-spawns at the save point and keeps her items. Snowshoe Forest is not a particularly hostile environment; it exists to invite you to explore it. The poor Voles don’t even want to fight you, and will give you tips if you spare their lives – another little detail I love.
It’s really hard to assess the game in its current state. Foxley encountered some setbacks during development, and the result has been that – as of this writing – Snowshoe Forest feels like an unfinished level of a larger game, functioning as a tech demo for some graphical effects and custom battle system options. From what I understand Foxley is still working on it though, and I look forward to seeing the finished product - I have a strong pro-stoat bias.
...spake The Lord Thy God.