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Fox Fyre


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Rating: 3.9/5 (87 votes)
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FoxFyre

JoshWhen two skilled game developers get together and collaborate, something good is bound to come out of it. The first of those two is John Cooney (a.k.a. jmtb02), Head of Game Development for Armor Games. He's the man behind classics like Achievement Unlocked, the Dark Cut series, TBA and so many more. In one of his recent projects, he's teamed up with talented programmer Joey Betz to create Fox Fyre, a stylish bunker warfare game with an old-school vibe, heralding back to classics like Scorched Earth and Death Tank. If you're not familiar with those titles, think of the Worms series, which marked a sort of evolution of the genre. Fans of jmtb02 will probably remember his self-professed love for all things retro, and Betz is no stranger to the action and strategy genres (Crush the Castle, Monkey Metric), making this a great team-up. If there is one thing that Fox Fyre offers above all else, it's some good old retro-bunker-smashing action (with a few new and unique weapons to obliterate the terrain in the process).

FoxFyreA quick primer to bunker warfare: You control a tank, bunker or soldier/worm/pirate, depending on the game. In Fox Fyre, it's a bunker. The enemy controls one opposing bunker (or more), and you both take turns lobbing shells at each other until one of you is nothing more than a smoking crater in the ground. Sound simple? Hardly! First of all, most bunker warfare games (including Fox Fyre) feature destructible terrain. This complicates the mix to no end, since the enemy can burrow in to avoid shots from certain angles, or rise up on a hill to get a better vantage point to fire from. The good news is that you can do the same, creating a dynamic environment around you that will either help or hurt you. In most bunker warfare games, turns are taken one after another. But in Fox Fyre the action is in real-time, with a unique "cooldown" system akin to what you might see in an action-RPG. All of your abilities work on timers; once you fire, you have to wait until the weapon's cooldown is up, which is like waiting for it to recharge. Different weapons have different cooldowns, so you'll need to juggle your shots and plan ahead.

The game begins with one or more enemy bunkers positioned along the terrain. You're given the chance to choose where to set yours, which gives you a huge advantage if you're strategic about it. Just click the mouse to set your turret, and the battle begins. You'll immediately be able to start firing at your enemy, and vice-versa. Destroying enemy bunkers (and doing it as quickly as possible) will earn you cash, which you can spend on a cornucopia of upgrades. There are a dozen different weapons to buy, plus eight "defensive" weapons; all of which can be upgraded a number of times. Your bunker has five weapon slots (including your free starter weapon), so you can use to swap out offensive and defensive weapons between each level. But it doesn't end there; you can buy two more bunkers as the game progresses, giving you the option of using almost all the weapons and defenses in a single battle, if that's your strategy.

FoxFyreAnd if you like strategy, or just arcade-style shooters and bunker warfare in general, you'll have a field day with all the weapons in Fox Fyre. Aside from your obligatory machine-guns, mortar shells, cluster bombs and thermonuclear air strikes, there are plenty of wacky environment-warping weapons like diggers and fillers. There are even air-warping mechanics, something I've never seen in a bunker warfare game. You can switch between weapons by clicking the icons at the bottom of the screen, or just hit the hotkeys [1] to [5] assigned to each one. Same deal switching between bunkers, or use [Q], [W] and [E].

Analysis: Sure, we've seen bunker warfare in Flash before. But the collaboration between Betz and Cooney wasn't lost in Fox Fyre, and it's obvious from the first shot you fire. The graphics and UI have a stylized polish that mixes old with new, retro with contemporary. Lots of little details—like the reverberating terrain as bullets strike it, or the paradoxically soothing color gradients and ambient soundtrack—are what give this game its personality. And the gameplay is solid.

Bunker Warfare vets might dominate this game a little too easily, which will annoy some, and elate others. Beyond that, its flaws are limited. The graphics and physics rendering may prove taxing on older machines, but the coding seems to be pretty well optimized for most setups. On the other hand, if you've got a screamer (that's what we used to call "l33t" PC's back in the day, kids) you might want to indulge yourself and enable the game's "fullscreen" option. But for the life of me, I couldn't enable this feature myself, no matter how many times I clicked the button at the bottom. It seems that Armor Games' launcher/pre-loader just won't give you access to that feature. That might have to be chalked up as another flaw, but you'll be hard-pressed to find many more, making this one of the more impressive bunker-warfare Flash games to be released in some time.

Play Fox Fyre

28 Comments

Well, only because I wondered if there was anyone else having similar problems with the game i.e. if anyone else can get past the quick tutorial screen, I certainly can't.

Looks pretty though.

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Wisedude Author Profile Page May 25, 2009 7:28 PM

Wow, head of Game Development at Armor Games?

Must be a chushy gig for the guy. I remember when the only sites to host his games were the third party slums.

Oh, and the game is incredible. But considering the word jmtb02 is in the review, that might be redundant.

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Not bad--the real-time rather than turn-based combat is an interesting difference. I do disagree with the reviewer on one point, though--Air-warping devices (or at least field effects) exist in the game 'Gunbound'.

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@Chris I too disagree with the reviewer, although on a different note. I was taught "l33t" was spelled as 1337. ON TOPIC:Wonderful game.

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Is it just me, or does this game have an insane learning curve?
I absolutely breezed through the first 8 levels and now I can't even destroy a single one of the enemy's turrets.
Also, is there any way to quit and restart? I'm completely paralyzed because I bought a new turret and didn't have enough cash to equip it with any weapons. Flaw? Or my own damnable stupidity?

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Jay, just a little heads up.... One of the ads included in this particular game by armorgames is rather disturbing and cannot be blocked (I've had to resort to blocking all armorgame swf files and using another flash gaming site). Note: you may have to hit refresh a few times to get the ad, but there are only a few in the rotation, so you should see it pretty quick.

[Edit: I am unable to see anything disturbing after refreshing the page about 20 times. I will pass along your comment to the Armor Games people, but I urge you to do the same. It's not something we have any control over here at JIG. -Jay]

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Wisedude Author Profile Page May 26, 2009 12:56 AM

What ad are you talking about? I've hit F5 quite a few times and I only see three. An ad for Grid16, an ad for Ocean Explorer, and an ad for Dark Cut 2. The Dark Cut 2 one doesn't seem very disturbing, as it's really only flashes of light and a small trickle of blood. And furthermore, once you start playing the game, there are no more ads.

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Vebyast Author Profile Page May 26, 2009 1:30 AM

@Taylor: You're not the only one having that sort of problem. I had a similar problem on level 9-ish. I only managed to get further by continually forfeiting until the enemy turrets were entirely grouped together, then point-blanking them before they realized what was going on.

Has anybody else found any way to practice, or to get enough money to experiment freely?

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Wyndclaw Author Profile Page May 26, 2009 2:31 AM

This game is VERY frustrating when at some point you become blocked from advancing any further because (1) you are outnumbered (2) you are outgunned and (3) you are outmatched.By the time I had a homing rocket, a machinegun, and an extra bunker, my opponents had 3 bunkers, homing rockets, shields, nukes and machineguns. Nevertheless, I LOVE this game!SO....ADDICTING!

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the heat May 26, 2009 3:09 AM

@Wisedude: I think you're a little too cavalier about how distressing the Dark Cut ad is. Did you not notice the lack of subject-verb agreement in "The tools you have... is all that can save her"?

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The only thing you need to do:

Fully upgrade your pellet gun. Buy a homing missile for those pests in hard to aim areas. Buy two EMTs and fully upgrade them. Finally, buy a time delay.

Buy extra bunkers only if you have extra EMT or if you place your EMT bunker near your others and are good at switching and activating the EMT.

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Wyndclaw Author Profile Page May 26, 2009 5:46 AM

@fish: later on that does NOT work. as things become harder, faster and more frantic you will find that your titchy little pellet gun does not enough damage to destroy all the bunkers. This is a fair while on in the game, maybe you havent got that far, or maybe you have, and Im wrong

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That equipment works if you're patient enough and have at least 3 (maybe? 2 might be fine) fully upgraded time delays so you never run out of time. The 2 fully upgraded EMTs per bunker provides well enough defense for anything the enemy launches at you, provided you switch and activate it in time. Once you have the defense you can add better attacks like Air Support (I didn't find Mr. Nuke useful because of the long reload time and for some reason the non-instant kill).

I'm fooling around end game and am currently at level 45. Air support works really well when you can spam it (3 or more).

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Oh never mind. I started again with a new strategy and it was piss easy. Nice game. Very addictive if you can find your groove.

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Good Eye Sniper Author Profile Page May 26, 2009 7:33 AM

My Ultimate Armaments:

Bunker 1: 2xHoming Missiles, 2xEMT, 1xTime Delay
Bunkers 2&3: 4xHoming Missiles, 1xEMT

Then, group them close together (within one space), hold down the mouse directly above the middle one, then simply wait for your furst wave of weapons to load then perodically scroll through your bunkers tapping 2, 3, 4, and 5 on your keyboard.

With this strategy, you can unleash 10 homing missiles in 10 seconds, an EMT every 4 seconds, and a time delay whenever needed, as long as you hold down the mouse. With this, I beat levels 17, 18, 19, and 20; all with the Invincible achievement.

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Full screen mode:

I'm not sure armorgames like deep linking so you might want to remove this Jay/Josh but the following gives you full screen.

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baalazmon Author Profile Page May 26, 2009 10:42 AM

mah strategeez

just buy as many maxed out super thumpers as you can aim with mouse, and hold click so you stay on target while firing
then go beserko on 12345 to launch salvos of 5, more than enough to kill anything up to at least level 15

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A strategy requiring minimal skill but some luck:

Each bunker should be outfitted the same way: 1x Thumper Gun (fully upgraded)
3x Mr Nuke (upgrade last)
1x Force Shield (upgraded when convenient)

(Fully upgraded Thumper Guns offer the best damage output per unit time, in my opinion; better than Super Thumpers. 5 hits should destroy any bunker.)

Place your bunkers near clusters of enemy bunkers, one on the left, one centre, one on the right.

Fire at the closest bunkers with the thumper guns while waiting for your nukes to charge. If you see a nuke heading your way, defend with the Force Shield.

When your nukes are charged, release them in a fit of maniacal destruction! Use the thumper guns to take out any remaining turrets, which should be much weakened by your nuclear strike.

At higher levels you don't need to worry about time - the enemy bunkers use EMT for you. This strategy decreases in effectiveness as you play, but should have about 1/3 chance of working at level 20, which is good enough to beat the game.

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drakono Author Profile Page May 26, 2009 11:46 AM

The game lets you fire one shot at the beginning without waiting for the weapon to charge, if you're holding down the mouse button by the end of the countdown. So, you should have a Mr. Nuke in the first weapon slot of your first bunker, and let 'er fly at the start!

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Hey Josh, thanks for the review.

Hopefully you can tag Joey Betz (Crush the Castle and Phage Wars) since he did the bulk of the in-game programming, while I did most of the UI and menus (concept building was mutual, it was a fun programmer collaboration).

Cheers!

-John

[Thanks, John! Tag added. -Psychotronic]

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Haven't played it yet but it looks and sounds a lot like that old desktop download "pocket tanks" Anyone that gets a chance should check out that game

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Heh, I found this fun if really hectic (requires some manual dexterity).

My strategy, is working on level 35+:

One tank has two power shields, fully upgraded, a time extender, and anything else - I had a fully upgraded pellet gun.
The other two tanks have 5 nukes each.

The first tank spams power shields (each shield lasts 5 seconds, and takes 10 seconds to recharge, so you are fully invulnerable), pellets, time extends.
The second two tanks hide under the shield of the first tank, and whenever they are ready you fire nukes.

As long as you make sure you switch back to the first tank in time to bring up a new shield just as the old one wears out, you should be safe all the time.

Don't fire the nukes all at once, since an EMP can wipe them all out.

Don't fire the nukes if there is an up or downdraft effect on you.

I try to get them to waste their EMPs by spamming pellets while waiting for the nukes to recharge.

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Yeah haha pocket tanks is actually a lot more in depth and strategic. With this game I felt like i was just pounding away on the mouse pad hoping to beat the timer. Yeah I definitely miss Pocket Tanks. I played it as recent as a year and a half ago and it still had that awesome nostalgia to it because I too discovered it about five or six years ago

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JNinjaz Author Profile Page May 30, 2009 6:55 PM

How you can farm money:

once you are up against a few tanks (3-5) in the game, don't try to win. The trick is to not die. Save up all of your winnings throught the game to buy and fully upgrade an EMT. Then, stragitically place your bunker to where you can get rid of most of the enemies, but are still out of reach of one. Use the pellet gun and take them out, shooting off the EMT as it powers up to get rid of any oncoming fire. Once you kill all but one or two, stop, and focus on two things: keeping yourself alive and firing randomly into a direction that wont kill the last enemy. at the end of the match, you'll draw, get a ton of money from those shots, and then a good sized multiplier for not loosing but not moving on to a stage that is more difficult.

A stragity that i found useful for when you are farther along in the game:

have at least one or all of your bunkers equipted with: pellet gun 5; emt 5; time delay 5; Mr. Nuke 5; and time sheild 5. put yourself in the middle of a ton of enemies, then when Mr. Nuke is ready for action, turn on your time sheild and blast the ground directly underneath you. this will kill any enemies in a good radius without hurting you at all AND give you a ditch to hide in.

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I've found the best weapon combination to be

Three or more EMTs on one turret, fully upgraded. Two other turrets with full upgraded Air Supports.
The air supports wipe out the other team within about three volleys, regardless of number.
The EMTs, assuming fast enough key presses, is effective invincibility.

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kevinb1229 Author Profile Page March 17, 2010 12:24 PM

My ultimate strategy:

Bunkers 1, 2, and 3:
Air Strike Lv.5 X 4, EMP Lv.5 X 1
Just keep rotating weapons and turrets. None of your turrets will fall, and the worst that could happen is that you draw. I've worked my way up to Endless Lv.30 this way!

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kevinb1229 Author Profile Page March 17, 2010 12:26 PM

Sorry for double-posting, but I would like to give credit to 411570N3 who came up with a deviation of this strategy before me. Just gotta give credit where credit is due.

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