StarFox 64 3D
| StarFox 64 3D

Nintendo is arguably the biggest recycler of franchises in the video game world, churning out Zeldas and Marios and the like with complete disregard for new IP.

But we don't complain, because it's impossible to spend too much time with Link, Mario, and friends.

However, StarFox a franchise that Nintendo appears to be less sure about. StarFox on the NES introduced Fox and his nimble Arwing, and follow-up StarFox 64 made sure that Fox and co. were very much on our radar, with masterful on-rails style level design and oodles of personality.

Since then, StarFox has seen a flurry of spin-off releases and half-arsed attempts to restore the series to its former glory, but all we really want is another true sequel to the Nintendo 64 version.

Until Nintendo gets the message we've got this latest 3D re-envisioning of the classic title for the Nintendo 3DS - and it's still as brilliant as it ever was.

McCloud nine

StarFox 64 3D sends Fox, Peppy, Slippy, and Falco on a voyage to stop the evil, giant face that is Andross from destroying the Lylat System.

Over a series of seven levels, you fly a speedy spacecraft called the Arwing along a set path, blasting enemies and completing objectives. You also have three team-mates who zip around you, helping you out and sometimes needing some assistance of their own.

Throughout the game the characters chat with you and each other, giving the action some personality. The shooting elements are also top-notch, with the ability to burst-fire, lock-on to enemies, and fire off bombs.

Then there are the plentiful special moves, some of which come into play during All Range Mode open area sections, including the famous Barrel Roll.

Spectacular boss battles occur at the end of each level, and even after 15 years these are some of the most enjoyable around.

Get Slippy

But what really makes StarFox an incredible experience is the replay value.

A single play through the campaign's seven levels can last around an hour, depending on how often you die and what route you take. However, there are more than just seven levels available.

Depending on whether or not you complete a specific objective in a level, you'll be sent down an 'easy' or 'hard' route to two completely different levels. From these, the action then branches into two other levels that are completely different from each other.

In this way, each time you play, you can experience a different story to last time. In fact, there are dozens of different routes you can take, and trying to find all the different levels and special stages is simply enthralling.

G-Diffusion of a classic

So what's new in this 3DS version? Is it worth picking up if you've already played the original to death?

Very much so. For one, the new slick stereoscopic 3D visuals are gorgeous, especially on levels with water effects.

The new touchscreen interface is also great, with your team-mates bickering on the bottom screen with brand new dialogue recordings that match the original ones extremely well. This all conspires to make you feel a lot more like you're really in the hotseat of Fox's Arwing.

The multiplayer also allows you to take a photo of yourself, which then appears above your Arwing for other players to see, which can be hilarious. Alas, there's no online multiplayer.

A bit dross

Not all of the new elements work as well. There are now two modes - 3DS mode and 64 mode - and 3DS mode allows you to control the game using the gyroscope controls.

These are utterly awful and near impossible to play with. Fortunately, you can switch betwen gyro control and Circle Pad control on the fly, but it still feels very much like Nintendo has included this control option out of obligation rather than enthusiasm.

It would also have been nice if the highscores were online, allowing players to compete with friends.

As it is, this is another fantastic re-release for the Nintendo 3DS. Hopefully, it'll sell by the bucketload and spur Nintendo on to finally give us the sequel we've been waiting for.

StarFox 64 3D

StarFox 64 3D reminds us why we've been begging Nintendo for a proper sequel for nearly 15 years
Mike Rose
Mike Rose
An expert in the indie games scene, Mike comes to Pocket Gamer as our handheld gaming correspondent. He is the author of 250 Indie Games You Must Play.