Classic kids’ adventure series Spy Fox returns on mobile

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By Pete Davison Comment

Spy Fox in Dry Cereal is a new iOS release from Nimbus Games. The title is a port of an adventure game from 1997 originally developed by Humongous Entertainment, and is available now as a Universal download from the App Store. It is the fourth Humongous rerelease from Nimbus Games, following Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo, Freddi Fish and the Stolen Shell and Pajama Sam: Thunder and Lightning.

This entry in the Spy Fox series is a kid-friendly point-and-click adventure in which players take control of the titular hero in an attempt to unravel the mystery behind the world’s lack of dairy produce. By tapping on various items around the screen, Fox will either comment on or interact with them, usually with some sort of humorous quip. Like many of Humongous Entertainment’s other titles, the games are designed for parents and children to play together, and as such include multi-layered humor that will appeal to both young and old alike.

The game is entertaining and fun to play, and a faithful port of the PC original. However, a few issues arise when considering the game’s interface. There is no tutorial or online manual, meaning that players must figure out how to control the game by themselves. It is not immediately obvious how to access Fox’s inventory, for example, since the icon to do so is a tiny pointing finger-shaped icon in the corner of the screen rather than a more logical icon. It’s also not immediately obvious what the various options in the game’s main menu do, either, since there are no tooltips or help text explaining what exactly activating the “Messages” and “Game Center” functions actually do.

Perhaps more seriously, there does not appear to be a means to display subtitles. This is in keeping with the original PC versions of Humongous’ games, which required the game’s external .ini configuration file to be edited in order to display text rather than providing an in-game option. However, this presents a big problem for players who are hard of hearing, not able to play with the sound on or playing in a noisy environment, since the game is fully-voiced, and progress is often dependant on listening to what characters have to say rather than reading text. For example, at the beginning of the game, the player must access Fox’s mobile command center by entering a code number into a phone booth. Examining an object which carries the correct code in the player’s inventory causes Fox to read the number aloud, but it does not appear on screen at any point. Given that mobile devices are not always used in quiet environments, this presents a major usability problem for the game.

Despite this problem, when playing somewhere the sound is audible, the game is an excellent title for young children (and the young at heart) to enjoy. It also provides plenty of replay value, since certain story and puzzle elements are randomised each time the game is started. A number of Game Center achievements also provide specific challenges for players to aim for.

Overall, Spy Fox is a great package for parents and children with iOS devices to enjoy — though the subtitles issue is one which Nimbus Games should look at addressing in order to allow their titles to be enjoyed by the widest possible audience in the broadest range of environments.

As a new release, Spy Fox in Dry Cereal is not currently ranked in the App Store leaderboards. Check back with our tracking service AppData shortly to follow its progress.

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