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While soaring through the Lylat system blasting Andross’ forces, have you ever found yourself yearning for a Star Fox game where you man a bank of security cameras owned by Slippy Toad’s mustachioed uncle? Probably not, but that’s exactly what Nintendo is giving us with Star Fox Guard, one of two new Star Fox titles hitting shelves today. Star Fox Guard is a niche product, something Nintendo clearly realizes as they’re practically giving the game away for free copies of Star Fox Zero, but hey, price isn’t always indicative of quality.
Is Star Fox Guard a worthwhile experience despite its somewhat offbeat exterior? Is Slippy about to become Nintendo’s next breakout star? Uh, I think we can safely say the latter isn’t happening, but let’s dig into the former question…
Star Fox Guard (Wii U)
Star Fox Guard stars Slippy Toad and his uncle Grippy, the Daniel Plainview of the Star Fox Universe. Ol’ Grippy is out to exploit the precious resources of every planet in the Lylat system, and his only defense against Andross’ robots are the security cameras set up by his nephew. That’s about all you get for a story.
Like most puzzle-style games, Star Fox Guard‘s visuals are mostly practical. There’s bits of flash here and there, but mostly they just aim to get the job done. Audio-wise, you’ll mostly be hearing clanking robots, with some less-than-endearing one-liners from Grippy and Slippy between the stages. If you’re looking for a compelling narrative or sumptuous presentation, Star Fox Guard is not the game for you.
While Star Fox Guard is a departure from other games in the series, its surveillance camera tower defense concept has already been done by Five Nights at Freddy’s and Night Trap before it. That said, the GamePad does add an extra dimension to the formula, and Nintendo includes a lot of their trademark touches. In particular, a large assortment of different enemy bots with unique patterns and methods of attack definitely set up some fresh scenarios. Hell, Nintendo even throws in the occasional big boss fight. There’s no denying Star Fox Guard has a certain unique oddball spirit.
You goal in Star Fox Guard is to keep stubbornly persistent waves of robots from destroying your mining machine, which sits at the center of a maze monitored by laser-equipped cameras. The GamePad displays a map showing the maze layout and camera locations, and the TV screen shows the view from your active camera, surrounded by smaller feeds from all the other cameras.