"Fox Eye" is a Doujin Soft circle that was established in 2008 and lead by a designer who codenames himself "Fox". Their niche is developing underwater fantasy games with a large emphasis on maintaining an Oxygen Meter in order to get through their games without letting their (usually female) protagonists drown. Thus, the main focus and challenge of the games is to learn the required timing for when and how to travel underwater, and the need to resurface for air, though the utilization of this mechanic varies by game.
The underwater/drowning theme of this circle owes itself to its main designer's huge fascination for it, as Fox seeks to portray the beauty of girls in all sorts of safe and dangerous underwater scenarios, while also building a gathering of fans that share his same thoughts. As such, despite the relatively-clean, all-ages material that can be seen in their previews and their developer's website, most of Fox Eye's games can be seen as Not Safe for Work due to the large drowning focus of the developer giving off fetish vibes, among other NSFW Fanservice tropes in certain games such as Stripperiffic and Clothing Damage. It is not uncommon for some fans to even mistakenly view some of these games as H-Games due to these factors.
Owing to its niche, this circle is quite small, as nearly all of the work that is put into Fox Eye's games, such as programming, debugging, character design, stage design, script writing, and sound effects, are all done by Fox himself. He tends to hire and collaborate with musicians, voice actors and (sometimes) English translators to cover the rest of the game's development.
Find Fox Eye's website here (Japanese).
In 2016, Fox opened up a sister site called "Fox Eye Abyss", that exclusively covers the developer's R-15/18+ games, starting with BLUE GUARDIAN: Margaret. Find the Fox Eye Abyss website and the link to their games under that label here (Japanese).
Fox previously had a Twitter account that you could talk to him in and read up on the development of upcoming titles, but after a few years of service, this account was suddenly suspended from some potential concerns and riots on Twitter over the more risqué material of the circle (most likely the aforementioned drowning material the circle is known for emphasizing). So updates from the circle will now continue on Pawoo, here.
Doujin games developed by Fox Eye:
- Dancing Marina (A game developed before the Fox Eye circle was established) (2007) — Vertical Scrolling Shooter
- Sensui no Kakera / Diving Fragments (The second pre-Fox Eye-developed game) (2007) — Adventure Game
- Blue Port: The Summer Memories (2008) — Adventure Game
- Blue Port J: Summer Sky Prelude (2011-2012) — Adventure Game
- Aqua Cube (2008) — Puzzle Platformer
- Holdover (2009) — Retraux Metroidvania
- Water Leaves: Big Tree of Mizugami (2010) — Action-Adventure
- Polon Memories: Underwater Reverie (2011) — Kinetic Novel
- Tsuki to Ningyo to Minasoko no Bōken / Underwater Adventure with a Mermaid of the Moon (2012) — Top-Down Adventure Game
- Barely Breakout! Underwater ReMix (2012) — Puzzle Game
- Sacrifice Girl: The Curse of Demon Snake (2013) — Survival Horror Metroidvania
- Sufferer (2013) — Action RPG
- Infinity UW Dungeon: Hades Vanquish (2014-2015) — Roguelike Platform Game
- BLUE GUARDIAN: Margaret (Fox Eye's first "Abyss" title) (2016) — Action-Adventure Metroidvania
- Whisper of the Sea (Christmas Eve 2016 Event) — Maze Game
- Karin's Skin Diving Diary! (Fox Eye's second "Abyss" title, the first to have both a PC release and an upcoming smartphone release) (2017) — Point-and-Click Adventure Game
- Karin's Skin Diving Diary! plus (2018) —- An Updated Re-release with new postcard artwork in conjunction with its English release.
- Natika and Sandy's Sinking and Rescuing Operations (Christmas Eve 2017 Event) — Tower Defense-esque Drowning Pit Game.
- (A currently untitled Ninja girl game) — Action-Adventure
Tropes associated with Fox Eye:
- Action Girl: Yuna of Sufferer, Mana of Hades Vanquish, and the titular BLUE GUARDIAN: Margaret stand out among the rest of Fox Eye's protagonists for this trope. Yuna must fight off hostile monsters and pirates, Mana must literally invoke the trope Escaped from Hell, and Margaret must fend off demons that have invaded the tower of a god of water. Due to Fox Eye's artstyle, they all also double for the trope Badass Adorable. Nene is planning to be Fox Eye's fourth example of this trope in her as-of-yet-to-be-released game, as well as their strongest example of such due to her being a full-blown Ninja.
- Art Evolution: Shows throughout every character from the circle's earlier years that still gets more artwork from Fox following his use of this trope later on, typically by making his earlier girls slightly taller, curvier, and overall more attractive, and giving them more well-toned bodies to better match their frequent swimming activities and the figures of Fox Eye's later characters. Compare this 2008 art◊ of Rico from Blue Port to this 2018 portrait◊ of her from Fox Eye's website. Or compare this 2011 art◊ of Chie from Blue Port J with her own 2018 portrait◊ also from Fox Eye's website.
- Author Appeal: Fox really enjoys portraying girls in underwater fantasies and all of the activities they can be put through in them, such as swimming, deep-sea diving, breathholding, and drowning. This is applied to each and every game in the circle through settings that would allow these different situations to occur, such as featuring beaches, deep lakes, underwater caves, flooded ruins, submerged pits, and/or other such Under the Sea locales. Outside of Fox's games, this is also shown in the standalone artwork, mini-comics, and animations he's made. See Oxygen Meter and Signature Style below for more details.
- To a much lesser extent, Fox seems to favor blonde-haired girls, as there is a larger amount of Fox Eye characters with this hair color than any other color. Three of them (Blue Port's Rico, Holdover's Marie, and the titular Natika of the Underwater Pinch animation and the first half of Natika and Sandy's Sinking and Rescuing Operations) also have blue eyes and wear their blonde hair in ponytails, making them appear to be expies of each other. This gets lampshaded and discussed by Fox in some crossover artwork◊ that points out the more intricate differences these three girls still have with each other. Ironically, he prefers black-haired girls in Real Life.
- Author Avatar: Fox draws himself as a cute Super-Deformed fox that converses with his fans, as well as some of his own characters, on the development of his games. Here’s an example.◊
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: Fox Eye truly goes to great lengths to cover their protagonists' naughty bits when they suffer too much clothing damage with either Hand-or-Object Underwear or a Scenery Censor whenever possible, but if no such methods are present, such as during gameplay, their nips are never drawn on their sprites, anyway. However, the more adult-oriented "Fox Eye Abyss" titles, BLUE GUARDIAN: Margaret, and Karin's Skin Diving Diary!, avert this trope with a passion.
- Clothing Damage: Many of their 2D games, such as Mermaid, Holdover, Sufferer, Barely Breakout!, and BLUE GUARDIAN: Margaret can have this happen to all of their protagonists as a secondary Fanservice feature, though similar to the Senran Kagura series, as they become more and more naked, they'll take more damage-per-hit and overall become much easier to kill. In the case of Barely Breakout!, this is actually invoked to beat most of the rounds and induce a completely different kind of "death" to the game's heroines.
- Darker and Edgier: Most of Fox Eye's catalog focuses on ideal underwater fantasies of adventure and discovery, covering both realistic and surreal environments. However, two of their games, Holdover and Sacrifice Girl, are among Fox Eye's darkest-themed games, as they're so far the only two to feature violent and bloody deaths, such as getting impaled by spikes or shot by lasers for the former, and attacked by sea monsters or eaten by giant demon snakes for the latter (the blood can be toggled off in both games, however). Their storylines and settings are also among the bleakest seen from Fox Eye as they both give their heroines a sense of helplessness and isolation in the face of dangers they have little to no way of fighting against. Other games have this trope to a lesser extent, such as Hades Vanquish and BLUE GUARDIAN: Margaret, but it's downplayed due to those games' heroines being Action Girls capable of defending themselves from the start despite the latter having a bevy of disturbing deaths to dodge and the former starting her adventure as a dead soul escaping from Hell.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Nearly all of Fox Eye's games star a cute female protagonist. The only exception is one of their 2008 games, Aqua Cube. The game initially stars the young male Yuu who rescues his older sister, Aya, but they switch roles later on in the game and Aya becomes the playable lead, instead. Due to the game's mechanics, it was also the only Fox Eye game where you have to manage two Oxygen Meters at the same time until Natika and Sandy's Sinking and Rescuing Operations brought it back almost 10 years later.
- Fanservice: Even without counting the developer's trademark drowning fetish material, the fact that all of their games share a general theme of underwater exploration makes it a good opportunity for most of the their heroines to wear revealing or skin-tight swimwear. Several games also have Clothing Damage in the vein of the Senran Kagura series that eventually leaves the protagonist completely naked after taking enough damage. Some of the games' unlockable images for beating them with or without 100% Completion have a little fanservice in them, as well.
- Good Bad Translation: Several games are translated into English by Fox, himself, but his English tends to falter at times, leading to a lot of broken Engrish in these attempts. This is usually averted when he hires someone to translate the games into Surprisingly Good English for him, such as DeafDefiler for Holdover, as well as Aster for Blue Port J, which has one of the largest scripts of any Fox Eye title. Also mostly averted in Abyss games BLUE GUARDIAN: Margaret and Karin's Skin Diving Diary! plus, thanks to a team called the Topless Girls Club.
- Hotter and Sexier: Fox Eye is already known for its light Ecchi content and fetish material, but games labeled under "Fox Eye Abyss" are meant to directly highlight that the game will contain R-18+ material. The first "Abyss" title, BLUE GUARDIAN: Margaret, is so far this compared to every Fox Eye game that was released before it, as it now wields heavier Ecchi elements and even some softcore Hentai imagery. It's the first Fox Eye title to avert Barbie Doll Anatomy for its titular heroine's bared breasts, and some the game's enemies can actually grope and molest her to death, as well as the game having a special meter that changes her performance based on how turned-on she is. That said, while that game is the most risque Fox Eye game released so far, it's still far more tame than a typical H-Game (i.e. no full sex scenes). Karin's Skin Diving Diary! is the second "Abyss" game that likewise features its own R-18+ material that would be unheard of in most other Fox Eye games.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: There are a lot more characters that Fox has designed besides the ones in the games listed above. These characters can be seen in Fox's mini-comics, animations, and artwork, most of which can be viewed on his Pixiv page. These characters tend to eventually star in their own future games.
- Mascot: The titular Polon of Polon Memories is one for Fox Eye, as she is featured in the header of Fox's FC2 blog page, and was also his Twitter profile picture for several years before switching to Chie from Blue Port J. However, once Fox Eye's Twitter account was suspended and they migrated to Pawoo, Polon has returned as the circle's avatar for their new social network residence, and their first image post there is new art of Polon, as well. Following the July 18, 2018 update to Fox Eye's main website, Polon would then get two art pieces of herself to be displayed on the site's front page in a timely matter, compared to the single art for the other Fox Eye girls featured there. Indeed, Polon has the most official artwork of herself, and among the strongest affinity for underwater life compared to all of Fox Eye's other protagonists, which goes well with the developer's overall theme.
- Non-Indicative Name: Downplayed. Despite being named Fox Eye, this developer's games have nothing to do with foxes nor their eyes beyond different variations of the developer's logo, such as the one from Sacrifice Girl that provides the page image. It's only referencing the lead designer nicknaming himself after, and drawing himself as, a fox, and the vision he has of the games he makes.
- The One Guy: As mentioned above in Early Installment Weirdness, Aqua Cube has Fox Eye's only male protagonist in Yuu. Every other game only has a female protagonist, or up to 3 of them in the case of both Blue Port games, while any other males in these same games are either nameless NPCs, general support, Mission Control, or even enemies up to the Big Bad. Sacrifice Girl was going to introduce another male protagonist to travel alongside its female lead, but this idea got scrapped. The closest Fox Eye has reached to this character type since this is Kai of Karin's Skin Diving Diary!
- Oxygen Meter: The cornerstone of the Signature Style for single every game made by this doujin developer, represented by either a shrinking air bubble or a decreasing bar. Each game has it behave differently, such as having it completely separate from a Life Meter Note , to draining health after the Oxygen Meter runs out Note , to basing the Oxygen Meter's Cap on how much health is left Note , to making it into the game's Timed Mission Note , to having the Oxygen Meter also represent the character's Life Meter, which means, depending on the game, drowning may be the only way they can die at all Note . To play up the Author Appeal regarding this mechanic further, most of Fox Eye's games also give their characters verbal and/or vocal cues when they're running out of air. Some of these same games also have ways to improve how long their protagonists can hold their breath, such as a one-use oxygen recovery item or a permanent oxygen powerup. This mechanic is used somewhat more realistically in these games than in others, as while a character is submerged, their oxygen will drop faster the more they move around, and slower if they stay still.
- Retraux: Counting all of Fox Eye's games in the list above, Fox has started developing games since The Seventh Generation of Console Video Games up to the eighth. However, several of them were intentionally developed as if they were made during either the fourth or fifth generation. For some examples:
- Holdover looks like a game that one could find on the MS-DOS, MSX, or PC-98 while also resembling a classic Metroid game, being a Metroidvania and all.
- The first Sufferer game's scale of exploration and 16-bit graphics (Yuna's sprites, in particular) appear to have been inspired by those of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Final Fantasy's Super Nintendo games (IV, V, and VI).
- Water Leaves' low-poly graphics are intended to invoke the nostalgic look of Japanese-developed Nintendo 64 games.
- Signature Style: As mentioned above, every Fox Eye game has one or more of the designer's many girls (and in one case, a boy) explore underwater areas at the high risk of drowning, with an Oxygen Meter to gauge how much time they have left before they drown, and the strain and distress they show when their oxygen is almost used up. This is mainly out of both Author Appeal and for inviting in players that have a fetish for this material, as well. Due to these factors and the Ecchi content some of the games have in general, this has the side-effect of making all of Fox Eye's games get labeled H-Games and are commonly grouped in playlists alongside much more explicit H-Games (in reality, only BLUE GUARDIAN: Margaret has gotten close).
- Temporary Online Content: Besides the mainline games listed above, Fox also releases event games to download from his FC2 blog every Christmas Eve but only for that day, such as the above-listed Whisper of the Sea, and Natika and Sandy's Sinking and Rescuing Operations. Anyone who misses these events miss out on downloading and playing these games, and may not even know that they existed due to their very limited availability making them quite obscure compared to Fox Eye's larger games. However, there is a consideration to reprint these games for easier access if there's enough fan interest.
- Under the Sea: The primary objective of this Doujin Soft developer is to invoke this trope on all of their games in some way or form to appeal to the creator's desires of underwater fantasies.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Considering that every single game from this developer makes it a trademark to put all of its (generally cute and attractive) characters in multiple dangers of drowning... Even then, drowning is hardly ever the only thing that can kill them in their games, and some cases, such as what's listed in Darker and Edgier above, can be considered more brutal and graphic ways of dying compared to drowning.
- Video Game Perversity Potential: Can apply to every Fox Eye game that lets a heroine suffer from Clothing Damage. You can beat some of them while completely naked, and even get some unique artwork that reflects the girl's complete lack of clothing, though doing so is no easy feat.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: For Fox Eye's Doujin Soft protagonists and allies, Ai from Blue Port, Cassis from Water Leaves, Miyo from Sacrifice Girl, and the titular Mermaid Medina all have different shades of blue hair. There are other unusual hair colors from this developer, such as pink Note and green Note . However, this also gets averted as there's still a very healthy showing of natural colors such as brown Note , dark brunette to black Note , reddish-brown Note , and especially blonde Note .