Barrel Rolls. Talking animals. Andross. These are some of the things we’ve come to expect from Nintendo’s Star Fox series. As we outlined in a recent article, as a certified “reimagining” of Star Fox 64, Star Fox Zero features all of these in spades. With that in mind, it’s important to note that the game also promises a number of exciting updates to the formula that we’re really excited to try now that the game is out.
Let’s check out what’s new in Star Fox Zero!
Brand New Controls
The controls in past Star Fox games have been very straightforward: use the d-pad or analog stick to maneuver and face buttons to fire weapons and use ship controls. Developer Platinum Games and Nintendo have changed things up for Star Fox Zero, however: now, players use the TV to fly and identify enemies, then see things from the cockpit view on the Wii U GamePad controller, allowing for pinpoint accuracy. While some are hesitant about this new control scheme, reports so far have been mostly positive.
While co-op has been a staple of the Star Fox series since Star Fox 64, it’s never been quite like this. One player uses the Wii U GamePad to fire weapons, Chewbacca style, while the other player uses a Pro Controller or Wiimote and Nunchuck to steer. I imagine this is going to take quite a bit of coordination and communication to effectively pull off, but it’s cool to see Nintendo providing players with a fresh take on a more traditional couch-based multiplayer experience.
The Gyrowing and Direct-I
For the first time, players will be able to use the Gyrowing, a hovercraft that moves above the ground. It is the first vehicle that seems designed primarily for exploration instead of combat, which means levels designed around the Gyrowing will be collectible based. Players can deploy a robot named Direct-i, who remains tethered to the Gyrowing while gathering items and collectibles. In the aforementioned co-op mode, the player controlling the weapons will have full control of Direct-i.
The Walker Arwing would have appeared in Star Fox 2, but because that game was canceled due to the impending release of Star Fox 64, we’re getting our hands on the modification for the first time in Star Fox Zero. The Walker seems like it will be useful in close quarters, and because the player can transform at will, it opens up a number of opportunities for exploration in the main levels of the game. I imagine the Walker will be used to discover new pathways between levels.
Finally, your obsessive hoarding of Nintendo’s irresistible amiibo will pay off: Star Fox Zero features some nice perks for owners of the Fox and Falco statues. Scanning a Fox amiibo swaps out the skin of the Arwing, providing players with fun throwback models based on the Arwing featured in the original Star Fox for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Scanning Falco allows Fox to pilot the Black Arwing, which comes complete with increased firepower and the ability to lock onto multiple targets.