The Fox McCloud gang explores a new frontier in Star Fox: Guard … protecting the wealth of Slippy Toad’s rich uncle.
Star Fox: Guard emerges from Project Guard, which Nintendo teased for the Wii U home console at the 2014 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. It’s Nintendo’s first tower defense game, and it uses the GamePad’s touch controls results in an innovative spin on stopping wave after wave of loot-stealing robots. You’re doing this so that Uncle Grippy can have, as Nintendo Treehouse’s JC Rodrigo said, “a successful business.”
It’s $15 on the eShop, or you can buy Star Fox: Zero for $60 in retail (it comes on a separate disc). But if you buy one separately on digital and decide you want the other one later, Nintendo said both would still cost $60 — you’d just receive a discount to even out the price.
Andross’s robots are invading Uncle Grippy’s mineral hoard, a sizable portion of this Uncle Scrooge-like tycoon’s wealth. The invading robots — they’re cute little invaders, really — come down different paths into the structure protecting the goods at the core. You must destroy them, just like in other tower defense games. You start out with a set number of cameras, firing beams from each one to reduce the robots to scrap. If a robot reaches the core, the game is over, and you restart the stage. You earn rare metals as you progress, which you can use to open up more mazes and weapons.
And you can move these cameras, too, through the maze-like base. This helps you find better angles for watching and blasting enemies, as some walls are taller than others. You can still move the cameras once the wave begins as well.
You can use the GamePad’s touchscreen to put the cameras in different positions (represented by numbers on your base’s layout), giving you better views and firing arcs. The enemies that turn blue on the GamePad screen are the more immediate threats. On the television screen, a set of small boxes with views from each corresponding camera surround the feed from whichever one you’re actively using. And this is where Nintendo’s knack for collaboration comes in.
As you focus on the GamePad or the main screen, robots are creeping into the view of other cameras. As I was playing, Nintendo represents were calling out where encroaching enemies were coming from. It became more like a party game than a single-player experience, and as the foes came in faster, voices got louder and the action more furious.
Rodrigo points to me playing with my kids as an example of Nintendo’s goal with Star Fox: Guard.
“I would to see Benjamin and Alex [my kids] playing this, and you helping them out. Look, there’s one on Camera 8,” Rodrigo said. “It’s fun because you have other people not necessarily playing the game — but they can get involved.
“The is a very fun type of game-style that we’ve just never done before.”
It also has a Super Mario Maker-like component in which players can create levels, choosing which enemies spawn where and at what rate. You can share these levels through Miiverse, Nintendo’s player community. You’ll also receive a notification when someone plays your level — and if they beat it. And you earn rare metals for this as well.
It turned out to be a surprisingly fun game. It also is innovative, bringing other people in the room into your game while also taking advantage of the GamePad’s touch controls and dual-screen capabilities.
Even if defending the riches of Slippy Toad’s uncle, not fighting off Andross, seems a little ridiculous for the Star Fox world. (Though maybe it’s Uncle Grippy’s wealth that “bought” Slippy, the universe’s worst Arwing pilot, a place on the Star Fox team in the first place.)