Star Fox Guard – game review.
Nintendo likes to surprise players with unusual solutions and concepts. Developers from Japan, even in the case of Tower Defense decided to go crazy and offered players an interesting hybrid. The game surprises with its form, but shows at every turn that it is only an addition to a much larger dish.
My adventure with the Tower Defense genre dates back to 2003 – then when I played Warcraft III, I played various mini-games prepared by players from around the world. I was tired of all the available maps and improved strategies for hours. All this work and torment were wasted, because Nintendo, by reviving Project Guard, decided to offer a complete variation of the iconic “TD”. In Star Fox Guard, there is no sluggish and quiet gameplay, because here we have to show literally cat dexterity.
A night watchman with awesome cameras
In the production we play the role of a camera operator who was employed by Grippy. The hero is a real businessman who earns money by extracting raw materials from various planets. Unfortunately, the competition is awake and his rivals send robots to his factories to destroy his property. It is from this situation that our task emerges, because as a camera-gun operator we have to deflect the attacks of the invaders, although the matter is not simple. Here it is not enough to set the available turrets, because on the GamePad screen we see 12 small screens from the cameras mentioned. The key to victory (and defending millions) is efficiently switching between devices and killing incoming machines. Writing this I have the impression that even 5% does not reflect the intensity in which we participate during the clashes – the campaign consists of 40 identical tasks, but the farther into the forest, the more we have to face more sophisticated opponents, of which there are more and more . It is hard to have moments of rest here, because the raids of hordes of robots are just a seemingly easy piece of bread and you have to jump between cameras in a trance (click on the individual device on the GamePad screen), and then shoot from the selected cannon. We observe the action on the TV screen, although I personally do not buy the concept of dividing the game into two screens (GamePad, camera support + TV shooting), because although it initially seems like an outstanding idea, in the later stages pleasure turns into irritation. You don’t know which screen to look at and the robots are coming! Chaos level hard!
Guard is actually a hybrid of Tower Defense – the game only at the beginning of each mission resembles the flagship production of the genre. For each completed task, we are rewarded with points, thanks to which we unlock new versions of cameras-cannons, which before the chaos begins, we can freely set up in a chosen place and plan actions. So classic. On the first planets you do not have to think too much and trouble, but on later maps it is good to deal with the arrangement of the equipment (we do it using the screen on the GamePad), and choosing the right camera is the most important. The developers always show which side the opponents will come from, but we don’t know their models, so we don’t know what to expect.
Knowing your enemies is the key to success
The game features 26 different robots that can be divided into two groups. The Combat class’s task is to reach the core of the base and attack it – only these machines can make us lose, so in the first place they are suitable for disembarkation. The creators showed a lot of creativity in preparing the models, because during the game we have to face, among others, a colossus holding a shield or a small robot invisible to radars. However, I have the impression that much more attention has been paid to the preparation of the second type of opponents. The rivals described as Chaos have the task of making life difficult and 129% of them fulfill this task. It is these mechs that attack the cameras, destroy visibility, or turn off the devices in various ways, and it only takes a few moments to leave one of the available cameras … ready. The available range of opponents is really large and it is nice that the authors are taking new models in small steps. It is similar with the new camera cannons – only after a few rounds we get access to freezing, slowing down, or other extremely powerful equipment. The production balance has been kept and it’s really hard to complain about the challenges prepared. This does not mean that the position is easy – because it is not! – but each failure is only our staring, or not grasping the control of cameras … This element can be irritating and shows that the adopted concept did not fully withstand the dizzying intensity of the clashes.
There are even a lot of enemies in the game, with time we have access to various weapons, the available map changes systematically, but we keep doing the same from the beginning to the end. Therefore, weariness appears fairly quickly, and it continues and continues. Boredom is made even more pleasant by additional challenges or boss fights … In the first case, we have access to many more missions, in which the difficulty level is even higher, where we often have to pay attention to the available ammunition or the constantly moving camera. An interesting element is the online mode, in which we compete with robots prepared by another player who must simultaneously defeat our “Squad”. Before the game, we set the paths and choose the formation from the available machines, and the opponent has to face the prepared team. It is definitely a nice springboard from the campaign that can be boring.
When writing about the production, it is not difficult to mention the graphics that do not impress. Nintendo Wii U may not be the most powerful console, but on this platform we have seen many beautiful stories that could enchant with the binding. Guard, like its older brother Zero, does not meet today’s standards and rather resembles the position of the previous generation. A similar comment can be made to the soundtrack for the title, because it’s hard to find at least one catchy song here.
The concept is not everything. Fulfillment counts
Star Fox Guard is probably one of the weirdest representatives of Tower Defense, but at the same time a game that proves the golden rule – the idea will not defend itself without proper gameplay. Here, in terms of concept, we get an almost exemplary idea, but unfortunately its implementation has not been properly refined. The schematic nature of the mission and the tiring use of two screens kill the pleasure at a later stage of the game …
The campaign breaks after 4-5 hours, but you have to find a lot of perseverance to continue playing in the challenges and online mode. I also have the impression that the potential of additional variants of the game has not been used in some way, because both elements should be more refined and integrated with the basic mode. The production is undoubtedly an interesting experiment worth trying – the price, the possibility of getting the items for free and the modest library of this year’s premieres on the Wii U encouraged to do so – but you must remember that this is only an add-on.