Nintendo is no stranger to taking one game and turning it into another, or rather applying their properties to an existing project for the sake of cresting a new experience. This isn’t a bad thing; please don’t take it as that. It’s just an observation how some of their products have “evolved” during their development. What American gamers knew as Super Mario Bros. 2, for example, was a completely different game by the name of Doki Doki Panic in Japan. Nintendo decided to swap out the game’s character sprites for the Mario crew in order to create what was released here in the United States as SMB2.
A few years back, Nintendo showed off a tower defense game titled “Project Guard”at E3 2014. It was a novel concept, where players would use the Wii U gamepad to select and activate different cameras on a map that could be used to shoot down approaching enemies. As different types of enemies entered into your base, you would need to monitor the various camera feeds in order to find and eliminate the enemy. While it worked, it seemed sort of “plain” and lacked the charm of most Nintendo properties. How would Nintendo rectify this in order to release the game to the public? That’s easy; they just took the game and set it inside of the Star Fox universe.
Star Fox Guard is launching alongside Star Fox Zero on April 22. As a matter of fact, it will be included in the initial retail versions of the game. Guard will also be offered separately as a digital title on the Nintendo eShop. It’s simple, fun, and makes great use of the Nintendo Wii U’s unique gamepad. I covered my initial thoughts on Star Fox Zero in our preview of the game last week and honestly, I am finding Guard to be a more enjoyable experience so far.
The premise of Star Fox Guard is directly in line with that of the previously revealed Project Guard. You’re in control of a security system that has been set up inside of a base. In this case, the base is the property of Slippy Toad’s uncle, Grippy Toad. He runs a scrapyard and is charged with gathering and housing extremely rare and valuable metals throughout space. All sort of enemies and space pirates would love o and resources that Andross’s would love to get their hands on. You, the player, are hired to monitor the security system (which was created by Slippy himself) and dispatch any invaders that happen to make a move on your base.
The game makes great use of the unique, dual screen capabilities of the Nintendo Wii U. The Wii U gamepad functions as a map of sorts that shows you the layout of your base and the locations of your 12 different cameras. You can select your cameras from the touch screen and even move them around and set them in different locations within your base. On your television screen, you are given 13 different screens to monitor. There are 12 smaller screens that form a border around the outside edge of your television screen, numbered 1 through 12. Each one corresponds to the camera of the same number within your base. The center of the screen houses a larger image that represents the camera that you have selected at any given moment.
When a camera is selected, you can move it round in any and every direction as well as fire a laser cannon that is mounted to along with it. Your job is to monitor the 12 camera feeds for approaching enemies. When one is spotted, you simply switch to that camera and use your cannon to take them out. It sounds simple, and it is at first, but eventually the flow of enemies will be fast and furious which will challenge your reflexes and your ability to track and dispatch them all in a timely manner.
While there are a wide variety of enemies in terms of their look and maneuverability, they come in two different “overall” flavors, those that will damage and disarm your cameras and those that will attack the core of your base. If they make it to the center of your base and damage your core, you lose. If you manage to stop them all however, you will be rewarded with the “fruits” of your labor, or in this case, the scraps, as you collect the metals and remnants that remain after a round. These resources can be spent to unlock camera upgrades and advancements as you progress through the game.
There are more than 100 levels in the game which span the various planets that are prominent in the Star Fox universe, which should keep players occupied for quite some time. If that isn’t enough, you can even edit your own levels in terms of enemy placement and flow and share them with your friends online. The result will be a nearly endless supply of levels and challenges for fans to enjoy. The game even supports the use of Amiibo figures, although I still can’t find a Fox of Falco Amiibo to test their actual affect. While I had some major complaints with the controls and resulting experience of Star Fox Zero, Star Fox Guard is proving to be a well designed an incredibly enjoyable experience. This is one that players are definitely going to want to check out when it launches later this month, whether you are a fan of the franchise or not.
Star Fox Guard launches on April 22, 2016 alongside Star Fox Zero, exclusively on the Nintendo Wii U.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
If you have been here before, you know the basics: lifelong gamer, father, and of course, certified news monkey. I have been blogging on the industry for close to a decade now, in some form or another. It wasn't until I landed here at Gaming Nexus that I really dove in head first. Now, writing about games has become what I do for fun (and sometimes work) and something I intend on doing until the day I die.
I'm a huge fan of just about everything you can interact with using a controller, no matter how old or new, good or bad. If you put it in front of me, I will play it... end of story.