It has been more than a decade since a Star Fox title was released on a Nintendo home console – the last entry being Star Fox: Assault, which released in 2005. Though fans have been able to get their space battle fix via handheld entries – be it Star Fox: Command or Star Fox 64 3D, the Nintendo faithful have longed desired a true sequel to Star Fox 64. That wish may soon come true as Star Fox Zero will release on Friday, April 22 exclusively for Nintendo Wii U. Forget almost everything you have heard about the game, because we have five reasons why Star Fox Zero isn’t what you expect the game to be, and why that’s a good thing.
Controls: The hottest talking point when it comes to Star Fox Zero is the game’s dynamic control setup which makes use of both the TV and the GamePad screen to offer two distinct viewing perspectives. Yes, you have to use motion-based controls to aim in the game, and, yes, this control scheme does take time to learn and master.
With all that said, you shouldn’t be all that concerned or worried about the game’s controls. They will click for most players in a short amount of time, and by the end of the first stage, you will have a good understanding on how the controls work. If you have experience with Splatoon’s or even Twilight Princess’ gyro-controls, you’ll find yourself comfortable with what Star Fox Zero offers.
There are options to customize how the motion-controls work with Star Fox Zero. One option will set the gyro-aim to always active – meaning you can move the aiming reticule anywhere on the screen whenever you want. This option, at least initially, may be too much for folks to handle. Thankfully, the second option is more player friendly as it keeps the aiming reticule locked in the center of the ship’s point of view – akin to previous Star Fox games. However, once you click the firing button, you have complete control over where to aim, and the gyro-based controls allow for quicker and more accurate aiming and shooting.
Never give up. Trust your instincts. Once you put in the time to learn the controls, you will find them superior to any previous Star Fox control scheme.
Piloting the Arwing and Other Vehicles: Star Fox Zero takes the player out of the Arwing and puts them in an assortment of different vehicles – the Walker, Gyrowing, and Landmaster, to name a few. This is nothing new to the series, but the new vehicles and old vehicles are fun to play with and create new possibilities in how one approaches a stage or even boss battle. Transforming and using the secondary vehicles open up alternative paths not accessible by Arwing.
Don’t be afraid to take the battle to the ground, as there may be new paths and battles awaiting you.
Replayability: The Star Fox series has always been one to offer limitless replay value, and that case remains true with Star Fox Zero. Between achieving a new high-score on a stage and exploring alternate paths, there is a lot to play, discover, and enjoy.
Level Design: Be it the setting of the level, or how one can explore the environment, the level design of Star Fox Zero is well crafted. Visiting familiar areas like Corneria will give series veterans a sense of nostalgia, but the new paths, stage layout, and enemy types will excite them. Each stage feels alive as the environment plays a role in what is happening around you. Be it a random asteroid or rock pillar, your enemies will use the environment to their advantage.
Levels are intense and are some of the best the Star Fox series has to offer.
Classic Star Fox: At the end of the day, Star Fox Zero is a classic Star Fox game. It’s an entertaining ride that becomes more fun the more you play it.
We’ll have full review coverage of Star Fox Zero later this month.