“Hey! What’s the big idea?”
In a similar move to the recent Zelda release, Nintendo have remastered the madly popular Star Fox 64 for their new handheld. Fox McCloud is back for more with his team of Slippy, Falco and Peppy to save the Lylat System from the horribly evil, giant monkey head Andross.
You pilot your shiny Arwing through missions as you chase down Andross across the galaxy. Each mission boasts interesting enemies, multiple pathways, secret items and lively boss fights. The path to the final planet of Venom differs depending on your actions, and you can discover additional missions and vehicles.
The top screen harbours the action while you receive messages from animated mug shots of your teammates and foes on the bottom. The shoulder buttons allow you to swing silkily to the left and right while performing sultry barrel rolls as you avoid enemy fire and retaliate with vengeance. The 3DS’ gyroscope attempts to augment the circle pad control but as is usual with the 3DS and its finicky screen placement, using this with the 3D enabled fails; so either no gyroscope, or move with the screen like a dancing robot.
The graphics in Star Fox 64 3D are gorgeous. Sunlight reflects off of snow and the ocean sprays beneath your Arwing as the stars wink at you with promise from above. Similarly, the sound accentuates the experience, drawing you in with great effects like the cheesy chatter of your comrades who reprimand you for stealing their targets, sonorous lasers and a wonderful musical score.
Disappointingly, while charming to play, Star Fox is ridiculously easy and takes an hour to beat. There are multiple pathways to the end mission and an Expert mode, which do require additional playthroughs, but even so, this does little more than double the time. To make up for this, there is both Battle and Score Attack beyond the campaign. In Battle mode you can choose single player or Download Play with four buddies and take to the skies in dogfights to survive, score points or battle the clock. The 3DS’ camera will even stream photos of their handsome faces while you shoot them from the air. Unfortunately, there are only four maps and no online play, which would have really given this title some legs. Score attack lets you rack up points in unlocked missions with enemy hits, earning you medals to unlock more, but neither of these is quite enough to make this a recommendable product at full price.
While Star Fox 64 3D is a welcome addition to the 3DS library, it’s another remake, and one with very little substance by today’s standards. There is simply no excuse for the lack of online play nor the fact that it can be finished in less than three hours, trying every mode on every level. It’s polished and cleverly designed but lacks anything worth chewing.