Kitsune Tails Is A Sapphic Take On Super Mario Coming This Fall

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Kitsune Tails Is A Sapphic Take On Super Mario Coming This Fall

Indie platformer Kitsune Tails was announced back in 2021, and after three years of waiting it’s finally releasing soon. During the June 8 Wholesome Direct, developer Kitsune Games announced Kitsune Tails will be launching on August 1, with a demo currently available on Steam. After spending time with a press demo (which included one more world than the public demo) I am optimistic about the game’s melding of retro-platforming and a heart-warming sapphic love story, even if it still has some kinks to work out.

In Kitsune Tails, you control the fox girl Yuzu as she goes on an adventure through platforming levels inspired by traditional Japanese mythology, though Kitsune Tails’ main inspiration is Super Mario Bros. 3. If you’ve played SMB3, you’ll feel pretty at home here. That’s because movement feels so incredibly similar to SMB3, from the sprinting mechanic where you build up speed the longer you are moving in the same direction, to the jump height and distance feeling the same as the 1988 Mario game. Even certain power-ups like SMB3’s Kuribo’s Shoe have one-to-one replications in Kitsune Tails.

Image: Kitsune Games

But similarly to what I discovered with the new SSX Tricky-inspired indie game Tricky Madness, Kitsune Tails’ weaknesses also lie in how close it tries to stick to its inspiration. Movement feels a bit floatier than it should, and my first gameplay moments were full of missing jumps because Yuzu wouldn’t land where I expected her to. I also found that I couldn’t get as close to some enemies as I expected due to the hit box sizes.

And the aforementioned invincibility power-up, clearly a nod to SMB3, is a bit difficult to use at the moment. The power-up turns Yuzu into a smaller rainbow-glowing fox form, but the e issue is that this form currently doesn’t have a timer, so you have no way of knowing when the power-up will end. During my gameplay, it would run out without me realizing, and I’d run into enemies or walk on spikes and die.

When I did finally got a handle on the game, I enjoyed its quick platforming and the power-ups it offered. The visuals of Kitsune Tails also help its cause, as it boasts gorgeous pixel art with a pastel palette focusing on pops of pink and purple. The game changes seasons as you progress through levels, too, a feature that helps show off its wide range of beautiful art (I found the cherry blossom season especially beautiful). However, the demo levels still feel a bit simple. Kitsune Games promises that the final release will include Kaizo-level challenges, one of which it showed off in a recent trailer, so I think that I’ve barely scratched the surface of this game’s difficulty even if the platforming is a glorified clone of SMB3.

A human girl talking to a fox girl and saying "Hey Yuzu! It's been a while..."

Image: Kitsune Games

Where Kitsune Tails seeks to move past its inspirations is the narrative, which shouldn’t be hard considering the early Mario games don’t really have much of one. And Kitsune Tails’ story might be its biggest draw. Yuzu is trying to help keep the peace between the Kitsune and the humans, and along the way, she finds herself in the middle of a sapphic love triangle. Yuzu is crushing on a human healer while Yuzu’s kitsune friend is still crushing on her.

This very gay drama is the emotional and narrative core of Kitsune Tails. It’s a cute story to watch unfold and the promise of seeing a new cutscene gave me motivation to beat every level I could. As a player who isn’t an expert at platforming games, an investment in the narrative is likely to be the thing that hooks me about Kitsune Tails.

Kitsune Tails is set to launch on August 1 for PC via Steam and itch.io.

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Article source https://kotaku.com/kitsune-tails-retro-platformer-sapphic-super-mario-1851526665

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