Review: Star Fox Guard (Wii U)
Andross and his minions are battling to gain control of the Lylat System. His ex-home planet of Corneria is home to a prosperous mining base run buy Grippy Toad, Slippy’s rootin’ tootin’ uncle. This base produces metals that go towards building weapons and ships for Fox and his crew. It is understandable that because of this the base cannot be compromised as it would be a big setback in the battle with Andross.
Star Fox Guard is a spin-off title that is loosely based on around the events of Star Fox Zero. Loosely enough that it doesn’t share any of the same gameplay elements of a traditional Star Fox game. Guard is a Tower Defense game that sees you protecting Grippy’s base from a swarm of incoming robots. Some big, others small… regardless of their powers, abilities or size they are all a threat to the base central core. The robots attack the base from all directions and will infiltrate various entrances. It is your job to setup special cameras throughout the base to protect the core. Not only do the cameras scan the area, they also attack the robot intruders. As you level up you will be rewarded with new attacks and items to protect the base. The camera location is managed on the Wii U gamepad but, before the level starts, you can change the placement of the cameras, their default angle and their upgrades. Once you are ready all you’re your enemies will begin to approach. When looking up at your screen you see the viewpoint of each camera you’ve set up. It’s here where you’ll spot those bothersome robots. Once you’ve identified where your enemies are attacking from you use the Wii U gamepad touchscreen to select the camera to move ahead with your attacking plans. Once you’ve destroyed the required amount of enemies without having the bases core demolished you win the round and collect your experience points. As your experience points increase not only do you unlock objects but also new levels. The initial number of levels is quite minuscule but as you progress new levels unlock, each one a little more difficult than the last.
After you’ve cleared the beginning section of the game you unlock the online mode. Here you can set up an attack on a base or choose to defend other players and squads attack strategies. As you progress with the game you’ll be able to add new robots with different traits to your planned attack on the base. It’s a simple online premise but, like Super Mario Maker, it becomes highly addictive and challenging scenarios that your friends have created for you.
If you scan your Fox or Falco amiibo on the Wii U gamepad, while you are setting up your cameras, you will be given a single airstrike ability. This ability will see Fox and the rest of his crew fly by the base and bomb any potential threat. While this may not seem like the best feature it definitely comes in handy when you reach the higher levels and a robot is about to deal a final blow to the base core.
For a game that is seen to be playing second fiddle to Star Fox Zero, Guard holds its own by its own right. It’s a cleverly constructed tower defense game that oozes charm. Even the robots wave innocently and wide-eyed to the camera after they destroy your base. How can you even be angry? There are plenty experience classes to unlock. Add the captivating online multiplayer and you have an instance of “the little game that could”. Grippy & Slippy need your help and you owe it to the rest of the Star Fox squad to pick up Guard as a bundle deal to Star Fox Zero.