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Fox Hime Zero Review

Game artwork cover SakuraGame's Twitter page

This second kinetic visual novel by AsicxArt and SakuraGame features a male research student Yan(小源)who is working for a whole year under the supervision of professor Lee (郦教授). Yan has to stay at an observation post in a remote forest to take various observations of the local flora and fauna in the forest. Yan also makes occasional trips to a nearby town to send his research findings to his supervisor, receive his stipend and obtain supplies. One night after helping a wounded fox which was injured due to a fall down a waterfall, Yan receives a visit by the fox which has turned into a fox spirit Mori(茉莉). Mori is appreciative of Yan's kindness and has no contact with humans before, therefore she is interested in learning more about humans by following and hanging out with Yan. Yan will also discover there is another fox spirit Ruri(琉璃)living in the forest together with Mori.

The plot is written as a romantic comedy with fantasy and has a nice happy ending where it will take less than 10 hours to read through the entire kinetic visual novel. As another remade version of AsicxArt's earlier games ContactS and Fox Hime where the setting is in modern China that is 100 years before the events in ContactS and Fox Hime, there is no school life drama or fan service this time. For those who have played ContactS, there are a few parts in the storyline which may look and sound familiar. Following patch update 1.1, there are now considerably fewer errors in the English version. Please keep up with the improvements in your games, you can do it. :)

The artwork is the main highlight of this visual novel with great artwork in game cover, Steam badges, emoticons, profile backgrounds and achievement icons making it a good choice to showcase on profiles. There are animated sprites for the main characters which include moving fox ears and tails this time where the intensity of the fox ear and tail movements will also reflect and highlight the mood of the main character. The background scenes show variety during the morning, afternoon and night while the town will display red lanterns during the Chinese Mid-Autumn festival. There are also plenty of CGs and a few SD CGs, each with multiple different facial expressions or small movements which help to bring out the humour in this visual novel and make it stand out. The opening theme does well in introducing the cast of characters in this visual novel while the ending theme will show an animated slideshow of different CGs in the game.

The MoriChan DLC has a number of the game's CGs and sprites of the main female character Mori, where some can be used on Android, iPhone and Huawei phones. It also has a collection of emoticons of Mori displaying various different facial expressions that could potentially be useful in blogs, discussion posts and QQ instant messaging platform. The Cosplay Album DLC has an additional 44 photos of female cosplayers in swimwear and miko outfits.

A selection of the emoticons, background wallpapers and mobile phone backgrounds in the MoriChan DLC

The addition of voice acting is a nice feature in this game which generally conveys the mood well with appropriate tones to match the character personalities in the game. The background music (BGM) are great by having a large variety in having 12 BGM from Kevin MacLeod @ Incompetech, 17 from Maoudamashii.jokersounds and most are generally pleasant while reading through the visual novel. An encore of the shortened version of the song where you are is played near the ending of this visual novel while the new song inner that is played at the opening theme (both sung by KEI) are shortened versions this time which may disappoint those who are expecting full versions of both songs that will be played during the visual novel. Thankfully, the full versions of both songs are also free to download at Maoudamashii.jokersounds and the full BGM アフレラ piano version and カレンデュラ piano version which are soothing and appropriate for the romance themes that are played in this visual novel make up for this. All the BGM and full songs featured in this game are also available as an in-game music player with the MoriChan DLC.

Full video gameplay of version 1.1 with author narration and commentary on YouTube by GrayLowe

BGM アフレラ piano version at beginning of video and at 4:37:23

BGM ヒーリング音楽01 at 4:27

BGM カレンデュラ piano version at 1:39:43 and at 4:30:48

OP with shortened theme song inner at 45:22

Shortened theme song where you are at 4:20:57

Overall, this game is highly recommended for fans of AsicxArt and/or SakuraGame who might be interested in collecting their titles as a short kinetic visual novel with great artwork, BGM, voice acting, theme song with vocals and easy achievements. The MoriChan DLC is recommended when at discount only for those who like the featured soundtracks or artwork in this game. To thank fans and players for their overwhelming support of the game, a free version of the game is available for Android users at Google Play. Whether you are looking for a cute and heartwarming visual novel as a romantic comedy with beautiful artwork and soundtracks to spend a few hours on, or to try out a visual novel for free on a mobile device, Fox Hime Zero is AsicxArt's best offering in 2018 and an excellent visual novel for teenage audiences and above.

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