The words “Nintendo” and “remake” are becoming synonymous these days. It seems every time they announce a new game for the 3DS, it is bringing back a classic from the N64 days. The trend continues with Star Fox 64 3D. Developed by Q Games (the same guys behind the PixelJunk games), this N64 remake boasts all the usual suspects including updated visuals and features missing from the original. Unfortunately, it also brings with it the criminally short nature of this rail shooter, making it a hard sell for gamers who have already been down this road.
So, the big question people are going to ask is, is this game for me? Well, there are two crowds for Star Fox, and both of them should be genuinely happy with what Q Games has done here. First up, fans of the original game will be pleased to know that this is a straight up remake, for better or worse. The game contains the same dialogue, missions and structure that you remember, only with better visuals and improved controls. For those that have never experienced the game, there is certainly a charm that holds up, even by today’s standards. Still, one notable flaw should be mentioned before making a purchase decision.
I admit, I didn’t remember how short this game actually was until I ran through it again. Star Fox 64 was intended for multiple playthroughs using various paths within the game. The difference with the 3DS version is that you can now choose which planet you want to hit next, and your path is not necessarily dictated by the path you chose. This is a nice touch, and adds more freedom to the adventure, but you can still blast through the entire game in less than two hours.
That said, it still plays as wonderfully as you remember. There are two control schemes to choose from, with one designed with the 3DS in mind. That control scheme uses the gyroscope functionality in conjunction with the circle pad for more accurate controls. I found this mode a little more disorienting, especially if you play with the 3D on. The second setup is classic N64 style, and feels much more intuitive. Either way, the game plays flawlessly with maneuvers such as tight turns and, of course, the infamous barrel roll, coming off without a hitch.
To flesh out this release, Q Games has also added a multiplayer mode that is truly more fun than it should be. You can play up to four players in a Mario Kart battle style mode complete with mystery blocks holding the weapons of victory. You can opt to fly it alone against computer-controlled pilots, but playing with friends is preferred. Using the 3DS camera, the game takes pics of your foes as they are destroyed and displays them on your screen for you to revel in. The biggest drawback to this mode is that it is local only. No online is available, which is disappointing to say the least. To make up for that a bit, the game does support game share, but it will still never be as good as it could have been had they made it online enabled.
Visually, the game has received an entire overhaul, making it look fantastic and even better than you remember. Everything here looks like a brand new game, and the effects are simply stunning. The use of 3D is actually really well done, which is why I recommend not using the gyroscope control method as you are constantly blurring out the visuals. In addition, the music is downright epic on all levels. Comparable to a Hollywood score of John Williams proportions, these tracks really draw you into the action and get you pumped for each encounter. The voice acting has actually been re-recorded with almost all of the same actors, which is impressive. The lines are still cheesy but classic in nature. The game is a masterpiece when it comes to presentation.
Star Fox 64 3D can seem like a hard sell at $40, and believe me, even hearing what it offers I might have been likely to pass on it, but after getting in and playing it, I can safely say it is worth the price of admission. The upgrades bring new light to the game while not compromising the integrity of the original game. The multiplayer is a blast, even if it is limited and doing barrel rolls has never been this much fun, and to be honest it may never be again. For fans of the original and newcomers alike, Star Fox 64 3D is a great addition to your 3DS library.
Review copy provided by publisher.