A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Star Fox 64 3D is a short and simple space fighter with little in the way of iffy content, save its cartoonish ship-to-ship combat. Players pilot spacecraft (and occasionally other vehicles, such as a hover tank) in an effort to defeat an evil force invading a peaceful star system. Violence is depicted in the form of energy blasts and brief, fiery explosions. Multiplayer is limited to local download play, which means only one cartridge is needed and there is no concern of players chatting with strangers online. Parents need to remember that Nintendo is warning all parents not to allow kids age six and under to view game graphics in 3D because that viewing "may cause vision damage." The Nintendo 3DS offers parents the ability to lock out the use of 3D graphics in the system's Parental Controls.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Star Fox and his cadre of elite fliers are thrust into battle to save their star system from an invading force in STAR FOX 64 3D, a remake of the much-loved Nintendo64 original. Players zoom around both linear and open environments -- primarily in spaceships but also occasionally in ground vehicles, such as a tank -- shooting down enemy craft as well as fixed targets on the ground. This version of the cartoonish classic has received a graphical overhaul, including support for stereoscopic play, as well as a new control option that allows players to pilot their craft by using the 3DS’ built-in gyroscope to shift the camera with intuitive physical movements. A new local multiplayer mode allows up to four players in close proximity to play against each other, with only one cartridge needed.
Is it any good?
If you’re a fan of Star Fox in general and Star Fox 64 in particular, there’s every reason to believe that this game will sate your appetite for lightweight space combat. The controls are tight, the graphics are noticeably improved over the original (we loved the sharp light reflections issued from the surface of an icy, watery planet), and local multiplayer provides players plenty of reason to keep playing after they finish earning all available medals in the campaign.
That said, Star Fox 64 3D is recognizable as a game from another era. Its short campaign can be finished in around an hour (though it offers good replay value), the environments feel small and cramped and have low ceilings that place limitations on aerial maneuvering, and the story is threadbare and filled with one-dimensional characters. That makes its $40 price tag hard to justify, especially given that Wii owners can purchase the original -- minus this edition’s graphical and control enhancements -- for a fraction of the price through the Wii Shop Channel. It’s a good game, but it also serves as a reminder that the Star Fox license is in need of a brand new adventure.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in games. Some games focused on combat are more family friendly than others. Why do you think this is the case? Is variance in the graphic depiction of violence the only factor, or is there something else that partially determines the way we perceive the harshness of battle?
Families can also discuss playing games together with friends in the same room versus over the Internet. Is playing together locally more social or more fun? Do you find you focus better when playing online because there are fewer distractions? Which do you prefer?
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