We use the boost to get through while doing a barrel roll to bring you these impressions

I’ll be honest. I never played Star Fox 64, or Lylat Wars as it was called locally, on the Nintendo 64 back in the day. Since I’m being honest, I never really played Ocarina of Time either. This has worked out well for me, considering this years release of 3D versions of both of these games. I’ve loved my time with OoT thus far, especially with the touch-screen additions, analog nub control and reimagined 3D graphics.
We recently visited Nintendo Australia’s headquarters in Melbourne, and I was eager to get my hands on the newest 3D remake and see if it stands up to the high bar set by the Zelda remake. Spoiler: it most certainly does.

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I spent a bit of time being tutored by Product Representative Jamie Wilson, as Star Fox is historically a bit of a hard game to control. There’s a lot of turning, rolling, dodging and shooting to be done, usually all at the same time. You can change the control scheme to suit your own style of play with the 3DS version, but veterans of the original game are by now probably used to pressing up to direct your ship (Arwing etc.) downwards, and vice versa.

For the uninitiated, you play as Fox McCloud, the coolest (and possibly only) fox in a green suit that the galaxy has ever known. Fox and his team (Falco Lombardi, Slippy Toad and Peppy Hare) are out to stop mad scientist Andross and restore peace to said galaxy. After selecting your ship and character, you will usually play through levels on a fixed path, fighting your way through by dodging obstacles, shooting enemies with laser cannons and lots of quick manoeuvring which will usually decide your fate. Star Fox 64 3D is not an easy game. Certainly some levels are harder than others, but even the easiest will take a few run-throughs before you can master them.

You’re reading this on a Nintendo-specific website, so I’m sure most of you know what the game is about. Most of you probably just want to know how it looks, how it feels and what’s new about this version of the game.

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First and foremost, you have more than just the original control scheme to play with. Thanks to the gyroscopic controls of the 3DS, you can manoeuvre your ship by tilting your console. I like to think of it as Face Breaker on drugs. I’m not sure that using the gyroscopic controls is the easiest method, as you might find yourself tilting a little too hard, at least at first. The problem with this is that you might accidentally move the 3DS to a position in which the 3D effect is broken and needing to realign your console during a manoeuvre can get a little awkward. It does work brilliantly, though, and likely becomes easier to handle the more you practice.

The analog control scheme, as mentioned earlier, is customisable in Star Fox 64. One of the most important additions is the mapping of the Arwing somersault to the D-Pad, meaning one press is all it takes to do a loop and end up behind the enemies that were previously behind you.

So what about the graphics? They’re awesome, as expected. The 3D isn’t as deep as in some other games for the console, but it is definitely enough to convince you that you are actually flying through the galaxy. This is the kind of game that 3D really works in. It adds an intense layer of realism to flying out in open spaces, dodging meteors and outmanoeuvring enemies.

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Lastly, I should talk about the multiplayer. I was going to avoid it, because I’m still dripping in shame from not beating Jamie in a single battle. The easiest way to describe it for anyone who hasn’t played it is that it’s Mario Kart’s Battle mode in the sky. You get power ups, your flight range is unrestricted (as opposed to the linear design of the solo stages) and your goal is to destroy the ships of your friends. As frustrating as it can be to not be able to win, it is nevertheless a hilarious experience. A great new addition is that the 3DS camera takes photos and shows your face on screen as you battle, allowing you to target whoever you please. And then after the game, you get to see the sad reactions of the losers, and the joyous face of the winner. So. Much. Fun.

And that’s pretty much what it comes down to. Fun. Every part of the game is pure enjoyment. I can’t wait to pick this game up on its Australian release day, September 15th. And I urge old fans and new ones to pick it up as well. This is one of those rare games, like Ocarina of Time before it, that more than stands the test of time. For a game nearing its 15th anniversary, Star Fox 64 3D feels as fresh as ever. Highly recommended.

Thanks to Nintendo Australia for letting us come in and check out the game. Starfox 64 3D is out September 15th.