shortly after arriving in GreyFox i realised that i was not in the heartwarming sleepy retreat town that Stardew valley had. beneath its innocent and serene display lay some really shady dealings. You play a young woman who’s name is never disclosed. leaving her life in the busy city to start a new, more peaceful life in the sleepy town of GreyFox. shortly after arriving in town though this heartfelt dream is quickly dashed as you encounter the ‘mysterious woman’ who rapidly turns your innocent soul into either the town angel or its mysterious serial killer.
the player is sent on a mysterious journey through the lives of four of the towns important inhabitants which are the Nameless Nurse, Old man Mr Brown, Katherine the crazy cat lady, and Mable the housewife. learning about them, what makes them unique and ultimately about the crucial decisions that each faces as they approach the end of their lives. the game has a heavy focus on two primary themes that become more and more apparent during the game which are ageing and Death. the games focus it seems is to look semi deeply at what it means to grow old and Dying … to an extent. the player examines a few good encounters and powerful decisions that the average person would likely face approaching the end of their life but these encounters are hampered by just how brief they are. the games overall length of around two hours means that instead of a lengthy build up and a clear look at why each of the townsfolk is facing a certain decision it instead gives maybe 15-20 minutes at maximum of rushed dialogue, especially in the case of old man Mr Brown who has a singular conversation that is meaningful to his story and that can only result in a single outcome. the characters purpose is to explore the relationship between hate and old age. both the hatred you feel for being old and hatred people have for you when you are old but it ends so briefly which for me as an interesting character i feel he could have had more going for himself. one of the redeeming points for these themes is as the nurse during her sequence in the hospital the player gets a little bit of a trippy experience with patients and doctors talking about ‘end of life medication’ and about various aspects of what i assumed to be being close to to death.
as mentioned the player will visit and live through four of the townsfolk each with a different story and varying levels of game play involved. for the bulk of the game the player will be confined to the town which is fairly small but contains enough space and explorable buildings to keep the setting enjoyable. the games styling is simplistic and reminds me of games like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 3 and the before mentioned Stardew Valley which for an RPG Maker game is par for the course in most part i guess. the environment contains a few little optional things for the player to do such as collecting dog poop and knocking down coconuts but for the most part is pretty empty. sprites for the locations plants and characters all appear very well done and the interior for most buildings feel lived in and not just cutouts. the towns scale despite being small could have had more in it. as certain characters you can’t enter a few buildings and in every instance you have to talk to almost every single NPC in the map. for instance you have to speak to all the people in the hospital including the roaming chicken to have the janitor let you leave. this is alright the first time you play as you want to do it and the dialogue is interesting enough with most NPC’s but on the second and third run it becomes a little bit tedious and i felt myself just mashing through it. the game aims to have replay value with the inclusion of multiple endings but this doesn’t really hold out well when you realise that each play through is almost entirely the same, the only changes you will make will be in the final choices of each character. the choices are simple enough, after reviewing the character and the life they’ve led from the very brief time as them (with exception to Mabel who seems to have a clearer picture of who she is and why you’re making the choice) you are given the choice to either let the townsfolk live or to have them take their life in some manner. naturally being the outsider and not knowing these people i chose to gank all of them (in my defence… some of them deserved it..). this is where the games multiple endings come into play and they are a trio, the good ending for sparing everyone, the neutral ending for only killing some and the bad ending for becoming a savage serial killer. the endings for neutral and bad are ok with bad having the most understandable ending. the good ending i didn’t really get and it let me down a little that it just sort of left it there.
the games main pull is its dialogue which, despite it being short in a lot of cases is rather enjoyable. outside of the main characters the player can interact with various different people such as a gypsy selling healing stones, a chirpy barmaid, dissatisfied retail workers and even an angry pub going lady who believes that periods are a punishment from god for being a woman (i wish i was joking) conversations are quick and fairly enjoyable and informative, constantly accompanied by the game’s soundtrack which much like its dialogue is short but fits to the game. i feel it could have been a little better and less repetitive in some areas but it’s not the biggest of flaws. in terms of flaws the game has a few bugs that were never really ironed out, the ones i noticed were:
- if you attempt to drive back to the start of the game during the car sequence then the game will fail to load an audio file and crash to desktop.
- when playing as Mr Brown if you examine the card game in one of the rooms the cards sprite will flash and change briefly to a cooked meal.
- when playing as Katherine if you stand below the man blocking the entrance to another area then he will glitch into your position and you become stuck.
- a few grammatical errors in dialogue but i had to look for the most part to find those. one of the endings misspells trauma as ‘trama’.
overall GreyFox is a good little game that feels like it could have been much more. the dialogue setting and themes are all rather interesting and I felt a little moved by some of the stories of the townsfolk but in the end the rushed nature of each story and the short length of the overall game left me feeling a little disappointed but for 79p i suppose it was never meant to be hours of triple AAA game. for me it was a great little afternoon time killer even with its flaws and for the price you can’t really fight it. with some work this could have been a really great and deep title but I’d still recommend it even now if you like a little dialogue driven RPG.