Star Fox Guard is a strange spinoff of a beloved franchise, taking on an entirely unorthodox gameplay loop for Fox and friends. You can glean as much from a quick peek at screenshots and videos. What you won't see in your fancy screenshots and schmancy videos is just how much Guard is secretly a horror game.
Nintendo Life, we hear you say, Nintendo Life, that's nuts. You say some weird stuff sometimes but this is a bizarre conclusion even for you. Yes, the game takes place in the daylight. Yes, the main characters are space frogs with cowboy attitudes and yeehaw parlance. Yes, the enemies are cutesy robots. Yes, you're armed to the teeth and not remotely defenseless. But hear us out: all signs point to Guard being quite the horror experience.
See, horror is more than a coat of paint and some guttural shrieks. Effective horror gets under your skin, making you feel vulnerable and concerned for your well-being. Star Fox Guard excels by every terrifying metric. Fear is baked into the gameplay in an astonishingly effective way. Guard wouldn't have to change a single mechanic to be counted as among the year's scariest games if Nintendo killed the lights and swapped the cute robots for blood-vomiting monsters. We haven't experienced this much dread in a video game since 4-player ChuChu Rocket! blasted into our hearts and made us fear our Dreamcasts, GBAs, and one another.
Guard puts you in the role of a security operator for various mining sites across the Star Fox galaxy owned by Corneria Precious Metals, Ltd. The facilities are owned by the immaculately named Grippy Toad, fan-favorite Slippy Toad's uncle, who has a pesky robot infestation problem. Apparently, these robots simply cannot stop attacking the labyrinthian mining facilities, and you're in charge of making sure they don't get through to the core. At your disposal are 12 cameras with weapons attached, strategically placed around the facility, to fight them off.
You have to keep track of all 12 cameras at once, which is the source of a lot of Guard's tension. On the TV screen is a large central display surrounded by the twelve camera feeds. These feeds are numbered and correspond to the various cameras placed around the facility. A map of the facility and corresponding camera placements are found on the GamePad — tap a camera on the GamePad to commandeer it in the central display, which then allows you to shoot. Before each mission you can position the cameras and equip them with whatever weapons you may have unlocked to boost your chances of a successful defense.
Guard's tension comes from prolonged periods of anticipation punctuated by sudden rushes of robots. You're never quite sure where the next wave will come from, or what fresh hell it'll bring. Some robots rush towards the center, others will obscure your view, and some require diversionary camera tactics to defeat. Keeping an eye on all 12 monitors is no simple task — not only because there are so many of them to track, but because their screens are small and somewhat difficult to make out. Switching monitors means taking your eyes off the main screen for a split second, and in some cases the robot you want to target may have skedaddled out of that camera's vision, which kicks off a frantic race to locate the right camera and switch to it in time. This may not sound horribly demanding, but as different types of robots get up in your face and cameras start to alert you that one has broken through and you're racing to prioritize what to blow up first, then holy smokes can it get frantic. Luckily, if you feel overwhelmed and need backup, you can scan a Fox or Falco amiibo to call in air support once a day. Take that, robot scum!
We've fought through the first two worlds — Corneria and Titania — and flop sweat like you wouldn't believe. The main missions are tricky enough, and each world's various Extra missions are sure to put the finishing touches on you. For social horrors, an online mode called My Squad allows you to design your own robot attack waves and upload them for all to dread. The editor is dead simple to use and borrows heavily in design from music sequencers — a fitting metaphor for composing your symphonies of destruction.
We're simultaneously excited and terrified to play more Star Fox Guard. Here's hoping we survive long enough to crank out the full review later this month.
In that case we should get Markiplier to play it and proclaim it to be the THE SCARIEST GAME IN YEARS (FOR REALS THIS TIME!!).
I can attest, it truly is a nightmare! Keeping track of all those cameras is.... OOOOOF! You'll be missing on a great experience if you skip on Star Fox Guard.
Both Guard and SF0 were given good scores by Famitsu. 31 for Guard and 35 for SF0
Sounds like a panic attack just waiting to happen.
Multimanaging as in of itself is terrifying. Years of playing Pikmin taught me that.
I think I'm more excited about the announcement of Guard than I am about Zero. Come on, it's two AAA Nintendo titles for the price of one! Plus, the surveillance concept sounds really, really cool.
This looks like a load of fun. I wish more of my adult friends had a Wii U to share levels with, but sadly that is not the case.
Sooooooooo Five Nights at Slippy's then?
I wonder where Nintendo got the idea for the Star Fox tower defence game.
I played it at Wonder Con. The whole "switch cameras to find enemies" concept did give me a Five Nights at Freddy's vibe, which surprised me.
I wasn't very interested in this game before reading this... I was planning to buy the first print anyway.
The Hi-Ho pose little threat and are the most common of the Chaos Class bots. However, ignore them enough to let them get to your core and once there, they will explode and takeout any nearby AegisCam, giving any Combat Class bots a clean run at the core and... Game Over. Know you now!
@Angelic_Lapras_King that is what I was thinking got that Five Nights of Freddy look about it lol.
This might be the best video of Alex yet.....seeing him so utterly befuddled sputtering out half nonsense in between maniacally laughing at the destruction of cartoon robots was awesome.
fan-favorite Slippy Toad's uncle
Good one, it actually made me grin!
@johnodaz Not to mention the puppets from the ad and E3 can be turned into scary animatronics...
I saw the video and thought, Wow paranoid androids nightmare
@sillygostly I love Nintendo's software but to label Guard and Zero as AAA is a stretch. Admittedly I haven't played either but the response that I've seen so far is mixed.
@sillygostly haha, I too...I've actually never played a Star Fox title and AM really excited to play SF0, BUT this game has caught my attention since it's announcement as Project Guard...I like quirky titles like this
@Jimmy_G_Buckets AAA refers to a game's budget, not what reception it gets.
This looks like a lot of fun where touch controls actually make sense. I'm looking forward to this one!
Damnit, how does Alex make every game he presents so compelling? I wanted to skip Guard, but now I'm not sure anymore... ^^
@Ralizah That makes sense. My apologies for my misperception
Funny I sorta thought of this as FNAF meets tower defense
Does anyone know if this game has "friendly fire"?
Because I would imagine the difficulty and skillrequired would be much higher if you had to be careful not to blow up your own cameras
I have enough stress in my life as it is and would never consider this for myself, but w/ the whole family sitting on the sofa keeping an eye on things and passing the Gamepad around for each level this could almost be enjoyable. And my kids will buy almost anything with a level editor in it. I'll have them watch the vid after school, thanks Alex.
It sounds like Five Nights At Freddy's plus Tower Defense.
I have never enjoyed tower defense games, but this one sounds like a neat take on the genre. I also like that it makes good use of the Wii U gamepad. May have to check it out.
@Gerbwmu Famitsu scores don't mean squat.
Nintendo Life, that's nuts. You say some weird stuff sometimes but this is a bizarre conclusion even for you.
Honestly it's pretty awesome for Nintendo to include this for free with both digital and boxed copies of Starfox Zero. I can tell that I am going to have a TON of fun with this alone!
@memoryman3 That can be said about any score really. If the reviewer doesn't have similar tastes or skill/playstyle to your own the review is useless to you.
I do love the anxiety that micromanaging at this level causes and it does a better job at trebling the heart than jump scares and zombies for me. I have a feeling I'll be putting a lot of time into this game.
It is interesting to see how all of the Star Fox drama is coming out. People have been dead set against the controls, the graphics, and the delays. However, most of the reviews are coming in pretty good. I guess Nintendo does know what they are doing. Now, if we could only get a little more information on the NX.
@Jimmy_G_Buckets No problem. It's a common misconception.
I just got a sudden urge to see Night Trap ported to the Wii U where all of the cameras are visible at the same time, like they are here. Just me? Yeah, I thought so.
Resume the actual thread about SF Guard.
It's basically Nintendo's Five Nights At Freddy's.
Guess we will see a markiplier gameplay of it soon.
The game now appeals to me much more after watching this video than before.
"HALLO THERE I'M MARKIPLIAH AND THIS IS IT, IT'S WHAT WE MIGHT CALL THE SCARIEST GAME IN YEARS, I KNOW I'VE ALREADY SAID THAT FOR LIKE FORTY THOUSAND TIMES BUT HOLY $#IT NINTENDO PULLED IT OFF, LET'S DIVE STRAIGHT IN"
Not scary - more stressful. These types of games always stress me out! I always panic and do something foolish usually resulting in a game over. I wish these games didn't stress me out so much since it does look quite fun!
Really looking forward to this. Looks a bit odd but I reckon its fun. A torturous kind of fun, but fun nonetheless.
7:56 "I said Air Support!" xD
The franticness of Alex at this point is priceless!
It's a cartoon version of Night Trap! Except with more cameras! Looks fun!
@3MonthBeef @memoryman3 — It gives me an idea of what NLife's scores will be and I generally have similar opinions to those of the NLife staff and have agreed with some of the written translations from Famitsu for early japan released games.......so are they crap or biased......well not anymore then I am so the scores and reviews help me when I'm on the fence and for a while I was when it came to SF0. I've liked what I've heard recently though and this video along with some previews and scores lead me to believe that I will enjoy both games so I'm keeping my amazon preorder.
thanks for a verb i'd never seen before anywhere
does that makes this another genre where a wii u exclusive is the best game of the generation? =O
I'm actually really digging this game. It seems like a solid $19.99 title which makes Star Fox Zero really $39.99. With my GCU discount, I get them for $15.99 and $31.99 respectively. Not bad.
@Gerbwmu That isn't particularly good for Famitsu tbh.
So basically, it's Star Fox meets Night Trap. I guess Sega still does what Nintendon't... Release the main concept for future games, over 20 years ahead of their time!
So it'll be like FNAF minus its fandom? I'm in.
@Senate_Guard Just wait, there will be a Five Nights At Slippy's mod, a Star Slippy Guard frogdom, and... Uh... Let's just hope it ends there...
I would describe it more as stressful, I wouldn't call it "scary"... scary is Project Zero. Alex always puts a smile on my face.
At first I was having trouble telling exactly what was going on and orienting myself.
Then after a few minutes of watching you play it clicked and I wanted to try it for myself. This looks like a cross between:
A standard tower defense
Five Nights at Freddy's
Link's Crossbow training.
I'm definitely gonna have fun with this.
@PlywoodStick Its scary how plausible it all sounds when stuff like "Five Night's at Sonic's" exists...
@JedRock : I've never played a Star Fox game either (sci-fi and dogfighting games almost never interest me) and while Zero looks promising, I have a feeling that I'm going to end up enjoying Guard a whole lot more.
Can I just add that the box art (the picture in the article) is brilliant. For older UK Nintendo fans, it's really reminiscent of the kind of thing Wil Overton used to do for Super Play and N64 mag
Looks fantastic fun
@kenzo They have taken inspiration from the Alien franchise before.
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