If you have an affiliation with foxes, feeling a sense of sorrow for the destruction of their woodland homes in particular, Endling – Extinction is Forever is destined to tug at your heartstrings.
You play as a female fox ready to give birth. The last of her kind, she’s forced to flee her forest home during a raging fire. After setting up a makeshift den under a radio tower and giving birth to cubs, she soon feels man’s wrath once more after a cub is coaxed outside and snatched. What then ensues is a trek across mankind’s desolate world to find the cub’s whereabouts.
It plays like a combination of a 2.5D platformer and a survival game, with the game world spread across different paths – at marked points, it’s possible to ‘switch’ tracks. There’s a hunger gauge to keep an eye on too, making it vital to hunt for small creatures and forage for berries. Scents can be picked up, each colour coded, which helps with scavenging and navigation.
As nearby food sources start to dwindle, it becomes vital to go further afield – with the caveat that our wily lead must return home by nightfall. This is where life as a fox becomes even more dangerous, with more predators on the prowl. Adding to this, there are inhumane animal traps to watch out for – if the fox becomes injured, she can’t fight back. Stealth comes into play periodically, with enemy locations marked on-screen with icons, and the ability to hide in bushes.
A flat-shaded visual style is used, with slightly more detail on show when the camera is zoomed in closer when back at the den. Often the camera pans out to show mankind’s devastation in full, including the sight of large trucks dumping waste in the nearby lake. It’s safe to say it’ll go going far beyond delivering the message of its subtitle, so expect an emotional ride.
Developed by Herobeat Studios and published by THQ Nordic’s partner HandyGames, Endling: Extinction is Forever is due both at retail and on the download services next month. A demo version is available now on Xbox and Steam.