Nintendo couldn't have bundled a more different game with its 3D shooter Star Fox Zero. This charming tower defense game does have lasers and characters from the Star Fox series — namely Slippy Toad and his uncle Grippy Toad — but that's where the similarities end.
In Star Fox Guard, you use the Wii U gamepad to defend various mining bases from the robot forces of Andross. Fortunately, the base is armed with 12 turret-mounted security cameras that you switch between to attack the waves of robots. Things get hairy quickly though as the robots invade from different base entrances — and you'll need quick reflexes and a precise aim to get them all before one sneaks up on you to sabotage the base.
As you progress, you unlock more difficult bot types and face bosses that require more thoughtful strategies. You also earn different camera types and unlock an online mode where you face off against another player's robot army.
If you have either a Fox or Falco amiibo, you can scan them in to get a level-clearing attack if you run into trouble. If you have both, you get two of those bonus attacks per day.
Star Fox Guard is clever and surprisingly intense, but never frustrating.
If you're a fan of tower defense games, or like the game concept, it's easy to recommend this fun diversion. And even though this is a single-player game, it's even more fun playing with friends, as they watch the monitors and shout out the camera numbers where the robots appear.
Star Fox Guard is available on the Nintendo eShop or bundled with the 3D shooter game Star Fox Zero. We've reviewed Star Fox Zero separately.
About Robert J. Ballantyne
Robert J.Ballantyne is a senior editor at Popjournalism and Creative Director at Artsculture.ca. Previously, he was a journalist at the CBC on a number of news programs including the fifth estate, Marketplace and The National. He also worked as a staff writer at the Toronto Star.