‘Fox Tales: The Skeleton King’, when Diablo meets cuteness overload
Released in 1996, ‘Diablo’ is one of the first true popular action role-playing video games. It was a hit when he was released and caused distress among my college friends (and me) as we were playing instead of learning. ‘Diablo’ was set in a fictional kingdom of Khanduras and you controlled the hero that wanted to get rid of ‘Diablo’ the Lord of Terror. Ultimately, at the end of all levels, you had to enter Hell itself to face the dreadful lord. Extraordinary experience, as I still remember its gameplay and some of the evils I fought.
One enemy in the original ‘Diablo’ (that also reappears in the latest installment of the series, Diablo 3) was the Skeleton King. It was the reincarnation of King Leoric (fictional character, of course) and had special powers that allowed him to draw life out of you. Fast-forward to the mobile revolution and I meet again the Skeleton King, this time in a beautiful game for Android called ‘Fox tales: The Skeleton King’.
Developed by Won-O-Soft, this game is a sequel of ‘Fox Tales’, the first installment of the series that took place on the Island of Dr. Goober. The hero is the same cute fox called Kizu, who hears a lady’s scream for help one night and without hesitation decides to go into the woods to save her. Unfortunately for him, he enters a world full of zombies, werewolves, ghosts and lots of traps that he has to sneakily avoid to survive. His ‘princess’ is held in the dungeon of the Skeleton King, the villain that he’ll have to defeat in order to save her. The game has beautiful cartoon-like graphics and accompanies you with a matching soundtrack, as you can experience in its trailer below:
The gameplay is simple and you control Kizu the fox with the two available buttons on the left and right corners of your screen. On the left is the direction movement control, on the right the hit button that you tap when you want to attack an enemy. The goal is to collect as many gems as possible and advance to the next level. Those gems can help you upgrade your character, thus improve your health and stamina. Your health/lives and stamina level are shown in the top left corner of the screen and you have to carefully manage it to survive. Everytime you move around or hit enemies your stamina is consumed, when the meter reaches zero Kizu will stop moving at all and the enemies will get you. Among the items you find and collect in the game, stamina refills are the most important ones, but look out for bonus items such as the temporary invincibility one (which will let you walk ‘through’ your enemies and destroy them). The video below shows in detail the gameplay (this is level 14 in the game):
‘Fox Tales: The Skeleton King’ has three different worlds with the first of them being available for free. In total there are 30 levels so enough to keep you playing for a while, especially if you want to get the best possible score (i.e. collect all gems, destroy all enemies). In some of the easiest levels, Kizu can dodge enemies by running away from them, but that’s not a strategy on the long run as you’ll have to hit enemies and kill them too. Here’s a list of features you get when installing ‘Fox Tales: The Skeleton King’:
- Excellent graphics. There really is a story behind this game and the cartoon-like graphics tell it better. The character design is excellent, the environments are detailed and combined they create the atmosphere of a great game. As you play it you’ll get attached to Kizu and even if enemies can kill you they’re not so ferocious looking. You get the feeling of playing in a cartoon with funny looking zombies and werewolves. You’ll also see traps, basically large blocks with spikes on each side that move in a specific direction and you have to avoid to remain alive. The game view is from above but at an angle, so that you get the 3D feeling.
- Catchy soundtrack. The soundtrack is a great accompaniment too, as you’ll listen to a lot of catchy tunes when playing the game. So when you play the game, don’t disable the music from options as you won’t get the same experience without the tunes.
- Character upgrades. Kizu can be improved if you collect enough gems. You’ll be able to upgrade it and buy different items that will make Kizu stronger (better stamina, life).
- Easy controls. As mentioned above you control the character with your large thumbs, on the left side there will be the movement control, on the right side the action one (i.e. kick, power-up). Since we’re talking about power-ups, it’s great when you collect one as for a little while you’ll be invincible and all you have to do is walk towards enemies to destroy them.
- Stamina system. The intelligent stamina system makes the game a bit more difficult, as if you don’t manage the energy wisely your character will simply stop and you’ll be killed by the enemies. The stamina level runs out with any move and you’ll see it represented in the top-left corner around the ‘heart of life’. Luckily you’ll get stamina refills throughout the game so that it won’t end prematurely.
- Multi-levels. The game has three different environments (worlds) each with 10 levels. In the free version you get access only to the first world, but you can upgrade and buy an unlock code for the other two when you get captivated by the game.
- Online leaderboards. ‘Fox Tales’ integrates Google Play Game Service thus you can benefit from social interaction as well. Sign in with your Google+ identity and you’ll get access to online leaderboards to compete against your friends and get access to achievements.
- Free. You can tell when you play the game that its author put a lot of time and effort in its development. Thus is a bit surprising that the game is free, even partially, as similar games are paid by default. My suggestion is to go ahead and install it while it’s still free.
‘Fox Tales: The Skeleton King’ as its predecessor were released initially only for iOS and only recently the latter was ported to Android. Thus there are still some features in the work, for instance one that catched my attention is the possibility to record videos and replay them or upload when the level is finished.
The game is beautifully designed and the soundtrack makes it even better, a good choice if you’re looking for an adventure game to play on your Android device. Help Kizu get his paws on the princess by completing all the levels and ultimately defeating the Skeleton King … the one that brings so many good memories from a time when I was younger and still had time to play.