I remember seeing this cool little demo at E3 some years ago. It was a game where you set up security cameras and from the view of the cameras, you shoot down enemies that walk down the halls. Little did any of us know that this would get rebranded into Star Fox Guard.
Star Fox Guard is a kind of tower defense game, only with very few upgrades and a lack of strategy. The concept is actually kind of cool, as you have to look through security cameras and switch between them to attack enemies. However, they didn’t take it far enough, as there are only ten upgrades for your cameras in the entire game and the only thing that changes from world to world are the enemies. There are five worlds throughout the game, each with three different maps, and each map has three levels. The biggest aspect that changes from world to world are the enemies and occasionally there are minor stage hazards.
One of the aspects I thought was going to be really cool about this game was the ability to strategically place your cameras in certain positions. Now you CAN move the cameras, but every level starts with them in the perfect strategic positions, there’s no point to moving them more than an inch! Not to mention that the game gives you TWELVE cameras! You can see nearly every angle as it is! The camera system itself isn’t bad, and I still kind of like it, but without upgrades the game gets boring really fast. I would have found it much more interesting to have very limited cameras, that cover specific spots, kind of like Five Nights at Freddy’s only you can shoot the robots.
Tower Defense games thrive on limiting the player, raising difficulty as the game progresses, by giving them upgrades in between levels and letting the player set up their defenses as they see fit. If they fail, they can rearrange their defenses and try again. Star Fox Guard does none of this, it gives you a weapon/camera upgrade every 5 levels but by the time I was at world 3, I was level 10, so you level up incredibly slowly. That’s not to say that a Tower Defense game needs these aspects in order to succeed, but Star Fox Guard does nothing to supplement the lack of these! They didn’t substitute these mechanics with original or creative game mechanics, they just made the game without anything to really make it fun.
One of the most frustrating aspects of the game is how unsatisfying every level is. The first two WORLDS of the game are extremely easy and if they manage to get intense and kind of exciting, it ends almost immediately afterward. There’s barely any tension and the only challenging missions are the “extra” ones, which I remind you, you only unlock by ranking up. The only levels that I actually found to be fun or interesting, were the boss levels and not even all of them at that.
The boss levels where you have to fight a giant enemy make the game way more interesting. You have to think about the game completely differently than you did before. Even if they’re not all hard, I found them enjoyable because it was such a jarring change of pace. For example, the first boss is a giant version of the smallest enemy. It hops around your map and if you can’t keep up with it, it will just drill right through your base. What really got me was that even after its health bar is gone, it will try to suicide bomb you. I didn’t even notice this at first because I wasn’t paying attention after I though its health bar was gone. It was actually a really fun fight, it reminded me of a Splatoon boss.
To say the least, Star Fox Guard isn’t very good and I’m sad that I have to say that. I can see that they really tried at first, someone had a cool idea and I bet they were excited when they wanted to put a Star Fox theme on it. However, it lacks the basics of its genre and it doesn’t make up for it, each round lacks tension for a good half of the game, and the progression system is worthless. I just did not have fun with Star Fox Guard. If you’re really interested, you should get it with Star Fox Zero since it comes with it for free, but I can’t recommend this as a stand-alone title.
Star Fox Guard was purchased by the reviewer and reviewed on Nintendo Wii U.
Star Fox Guard is a poor attempt at making a tower defense game with a Star Fox skin. The progression is poor, levels aren't exciting and it's all around just a boring game.