StarFox 64 3D

7 Overall Score

Loads of Fun | Classic shoot-em-up gameplay | Fantastic Graphics

Game mechanics show their age | No online multiplayer

Yes.  You finally get to hear the words ‘Do a barrell roll’ without a hint of meme-induced irony.  It’s been a long time coming, but was it worth it?  In a word… maybe.

Reviewing a re-release is difficult, because it’s hard to decide what game to actually review.  Do you play the game as somebody who is completely new to the experience, going through everything for the first time, struggling with the old mechanics and taking the graphics for granted (And is that even possible for someone who has played it before?).  Or do you play it as the adult-turned-child that sees nostalgia glossing over the game that he just paid $40 in real-world today dollars for?

Well, as you saw in my run-through of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, I’m much more likely to attempt to do my best to play it as someone who picked up the game in modern times, who decided that StarFox 64 3D was the best way to spend $40 of their entertainment dollars.  Because that’s what I did.  The early reviews seem to be split between these two, StarFox is getting excellent reviews from those who are playing it from the nostalgia camp, and mediocre to good reviews from the ‘I could’ve spent that $40 on Dead Island or iOS games‘ crowd.   I think you know where I’m going to be coming down.

So, on to the actual review part of the review!  StarFox 64 3D is at it’s heart, a rail-shooter.  You fly a space ship (Arwing) or drive a tank on a set course through 3D environments, doing a wide variety of exciting and often goofy tasks, all of which involve shooting.  You’ll crash trains and fight brains, while barrel-rolling and building up a callous on your trigger finger.  There are all kinds of worlds to ‘explore’ which give an excellent variety to the experience, from the asteroid fields to the lava world.  One problem, if you can call it that, is that the branching paths are now freely selectable.  In the original game you had to find the other paths, which increased the replayability (and frustration).  It is a nod to modernism, but one that is sadly not joined by many others.

It is a game that is meant to be blasted through in an hour or two, and then replayed endlessly to hit all of the various paths and find other things, which is exactly the kind of game play we were expecting and loved 14 years ago.  The thing is, it feels dated to a more modern sensibility.  I’m personally not all that bothered by it, as I still enjoy games like Bangai-O Spirits for the DS that just gives you stages completely devoid of plot and lets you enjoy them.  I am not in the majority though, and I have to be aware of that fact.

But ignoring all of that, the game is an absolute blast to play.  The controls still feel tight (though the slidepad takes getting used to) and the gunplay is absolutely satisfying.  The screen-filling bombs are great fun to drop and the few dogfighting stages against StarWolf and his crew (Equally powered ships to give you a challenge during timed events) are all kinds of fun, and your wing mates are still charming (Peppy) and bloody annoying (Slippy) at the same time. When it comes down to it, it’s the same StarFox 64 you played all those years ago, you loved it for a reason!  It’s still a great game.

The graphics look excellent, especially the lava world.  The textures and effects have been upgraded, and the 3D really does add a very nice depth as you see asteroids tumble by and as you duck to thread the needle.  Of course you’ll enjoy neither of those if you use the gyroscope controls.  We know they were a very late addition, and honestly it shows.  Your Arwing just isn’t as manoeuvrable or easy to control in gyro mode, and you’ll not be able to use the 3D, you just won’t.

I wish the nits to pick stopped there, but they really don’t.  I love Nintendo, but they just don’t understand the importance of online multiplayer.  If this game is shooting for the crowd that played StarFox 64 when it first came out, then it’s going to be played by people who aren’t going to school anymore, and don’t have time built into their days to hang out with friends and play video games.  It happens sometimes, but online multiplayer is essential.  I understand they prioritized the visuals over multiplayer, but that just isn’t acceptable.  Delay the release or use a bigger team.  The download play is a welcome addition and yes, 4-player local multiplayer is best, but life gets in the way.   And as a last little side note: why did they need to re-record all of the audio?  I understand they wanted higher quality audio and got the original voice actors in, but I really felt the audio was lacking, and would have liked the option to enable the classic audio tracks.

So, where do we stand at the end? If you really loved StarFox 64, buy it.  If you love rail shooters or space combat, buy it.  If you enjoy arcade-style throwback games, buy it.  If you don’t fall under any of those 3 categories, maybe give this one a miss, or at least wait until a friend gets it, and try it under download play.  It’s StarFox, he at least deserves a chance.


Want to know what our review scores mean? Read about it here.


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Author: Micah View all posts by
Micah has been playing games since his first pong machine, and has been writing for as long as he could grip a pencil and not drool on the paper. So, for about a week.

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