It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a proper Star Fox game, in order to make up for lost time, Nintendo has more than just Star Fox Zero for fans on April 22. If you pick up a physical copy of the game at launch, you’ll also get the tower-defense spinoff game Star Fox Guard.
Star Fox Guard is a completely standalone adventure that puts players in the shoes of a security guard for Corellian Precious Metals, Ltd. Owned by Star Fox team member Slippy Toad’s uncle, Grippy Toad, this company is the number one producer of metal mined for the Lylat System’s war effort against the evil scientist Andross. Due to the mine serving as a prime target during wartime, Slippy helped his uncle install a state-of-the-art security camera system around each of Grippy’s facilities, with each camera featuring defensive weaponry. Slippy’s foresight is quickly rewarded, as right after the game begins, a mysterious robotic horde starts trying to attack the mining plant’s core—and it’s up to you to stop them.
In the game’s story mode, players are given 12 cameras to place around each facility in an attempt to quell the robotic invasion. Once that invasion begins, players’ TV screens turn into a security bank of displays showing the 12 viewpoints of the cameras that were placed, with a central view in the middle focusing on the camera the player is currently controlling. By bouncing back and forth between the Wii U GamePad (which you use to switch camera views) and the main TV screen, you’ll take aim at the robot intruders as you attempt to find out what evil force is trying to destroy Grippy’s processing plants.
Star Fox Guard plays out across 100 different levels, with that count split between 50 main campaign missions and 50 challenges stages. To help you out, as you increase your rank as a security guard, you’ll unlock new equipment to combat the tougher enemies you’ll face. You’ll gain tools such as freeze cameras, time-slowing cameras, and multi-shot cameras, all of which can come in handy when facing off against enemies such as those with shields or ones designed specifically to destroy your security system.
The second mode for Star Fox Guard, Squad Mode, is just as frantic as the single-player storyline. Here, players can build their own robotic forces which can go online to invade the processing plants of your friends—or help defend your own plants when your friend’s forces attack. Successfully attacking other bases or defending your own will bump up your online rank in the game, unlocking customization options for your online ID card for the world to see—allowing you to truly leave your mark on an opponent after a successful round.
While it may not be the experience fans typically think of when it comes to Star Fox, Star Fox Guard expands on the universe in an interesting new direction, while also giving lesser-known characters a chance to shine. Combine that with some twitch reflex-testing gameplay similar to the main series, and Star Fox Guard does a standup job as a companion to Star Fox Zero, warranting a few hours all its own inside your Wii U system.