14/09/2021

⚽️ Tux and Fanny | Nintendo Switch | Review | 9.5/10 | "A rich world of wonder, packed with magic" ⚽️ @simplysylvio #GameDev #IndieGames

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I had never heard of Tux and Fanny before happening across a conversation on Twitter a few days ago in which the developer stated that he was incredibly proud of the game and that it featured over 25 mini-games.

As a sucker for mini-games, I went into my usual trance and my hands worked of their own volition, guiding me inevitably towards the Tux and Fanny trailer on YouTube. I watched the trailer with my eyes and was absolutely sold on the Microsoft Paint-like chunky pixelated visuals and simple characters.

As I’ve mentioned recently in other child-friendly games I’ve covered, I’m compiling a list of games to play with my son when he is old enough and this is firmly, firmly on that list, it’s Pikuniku levels of brilliant.

Choosing between either Tux or Fanny at the start of the game, the goal is ostensibly to re-inflate your burst football. Whilst the purposefully basic visuals may be off-putting for some, they completely drew me into what unfolds, which is a world of wide-eyed wonder, a real emotional core and liberal sprinklings of surrealism. It’s a heady mix of ingredients that - through design alchemy creates solid, shining gold.


The characters talk in a cute gibberish, and at most points of the game, you can flick between the four playable folks that make up the story; Tux, Fanny, a cat and a flea. The way their stories interlace is glorious and I certainly won’t be spoiling it here.


Players of old Sierra games will get a spring in their step when they see the points total in the top left of the screen. Tying in nicely with the mellow vibe, you can potter around, getting points for myriad things and this dedication to content is almost the heart of the game, for me.

As I was having a goosey around, enjoying the bubbly music and following my main quest path – pushing the right thumbstick gives a clue as to your next focus – things began to unlock and the true depth of the game was revealed to me. The developer wasn’t lying about the number of mini-games, by the way – you’ll be catching fireflies in a jar, guiding a worm through the digestive tract of various animals, collecting bugs, spotting birds, finding star constellations, completing horror games, collecting vinyl records (good!), picking up computer discs, drawing animals to sell on the internet, collecting stickers, helping ants back to their anthill, making puppet-show home videos, crafting items….it’s absolutely, completely and utterly wonderful.


All of this is tied up in a happily woozy narrative that will one minute have you scouring candle-wax drip patterns for digits to a safe code or finding magic markers in a box underground and the next minute exploring your own dreamscapes for clues. Good.

I played this game by myself and had a wonderful, memorable time. If I was playing this with my son or nephew etc., I can imagine that it would elevate it to an almost mythic level. The amount of joy that constantly pours through each screen and the amount of conversation that would be generated by the insects, wildlife, events and simple inventory-based puzzles that you come across as not just fun but also extremely educational.


The forays into the surreal (my third prog-rock album) never degenerate into crassness or lowest-common-denominator humour but just feel like oddities that the charm of the game has you embracing as you move through the story.

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