Star Fox Zero is likely Nintendo’s most anticipated game coming up, short of their mysterious Zelda game. The first Star Fox game in nearly a decade, it’s coming with a bunch of changes to the franchise, not the least of which is a mode that gives players an invincible Arwing to go through the levels and get the hang of the game. And it’s an idea that more games need to adopt.
Gaming is often defined by challenge. Which can sometimes be a bit strange, since the entire point of a video game is to have fun, and building the right difficulty curve in a video game sometimes feels like a lost art. And that, in turn, has made it tough for people who haven’t gamed from childhood to get into it. Everybody’s had the experience of a well-meaning relative sitting down to learn and coming away thinking video games are for masochists.
And often the best parts of a modern game have little to do with the challenge of beating it. The Division, for example, has put a ton of work into its difficulty curve, something that makes it one of the most rewarding shooters I’ve played in a while. But the most challenging parts of the game are tucked away in the collectibles and side missions, where you have to work out platforming puzzles on a timer or figure out how to get around an obstacle and grab a phone recording. Similarly, while playing The Witness, a big part of the fun was poking around and seeing what the designers had hidden where.
So, yeah, an invincible mode would be a welcome change of pace. We should appreciate more the games that we too often zip through, and not having to worry about dying would help. Besides, everybody revisits the boss that gave them so much trouble the first time and kicks their ass once they’re at level 50 — why shouldn’t every gamer enjoy that?