One of the biggest surprise announcements to come from Ubisoft this E3, was the announcement that Starfox’s very own Fox McCloud coming as a playable character for the new Ubisoft game, Starlink: Battle for Atlas. While Fox is exclusive to the Switch port of the game, the game is deep in its inspirations from the Starfox franchise.
During last year’s E3, gamers were not shown a whole lot about the game, other than a few flashy clips, and the “toys-to-life” mechanic seemingly taking center stage. This year however, E3 attendees were given a chance to play the game and see what it is all about. During this demo, it is very apparent that while there are similarities (very strong similarities) to the Starfox franchise, the game demo never feels like a cheap rip-off of Starfox its self. Nor does the demo lead the player to believe that Fox is just in the game for the sake of having Starfox branding. No, once picking up the controller, the player knows that there was a lot of love and care implemented into this title.
In fact, while speaking with the development team behind the game, that was their goal. The developers were very honest that the team wanted to take the gameplay mechanics they know and love from Starfox and spin their own style on it, and build upon it in anyway they can. Unbeknownst to the developers at Ubisoft, this caught Nintendo’s eye. Soon after E3 2017 (where Starlink was shown off), Ubisoft was approached about incorporating the beloved anthropomorphic space fox in Starlink. Nintendo clearly saw the potential behind the product Ubisoft was showcasing, and now, fans can see that potential too.
One probably wants to question, if Nintendo can add exclusive content to their version, perhaps Playstation and Xbox want a piece of the action as well. Perhaps Master Chief in a Wasp on an Xbox expansion.
The game at its core is pure fun, the controls are tight, and the movement is fluid. Never did I feel like I messed up due to a control issue. When I got shot down, it was usually due to my own user error, and that was really refreshing. I’ve tried to get my hands on a well made space shooter for some time now, only met with disappointment (i.e. Manticore: Galaxy on Fire) and man, this is a treat.
All the different mods with weapons and wings can be changed on the fly with no penalty, the game will automatically pause when the ship is manipulated in any way. Further more, it seems that you don’t need to always have the figure pieces with you when you play. Once you scan a piece, it is in your arsenal. This really adds to The Switch’s ability to play on the go.
Another important detail is, that unlike other ‘Toys-to-Life” games, no level or progression element is locked behind a paywall with new ships and such. You will be able to play the entire thing from start to finish with the entry price of $75 (game, figure, guns, and pilots). And one can’t forget that the game supports couch co-op for further mixing and matching. After one beats the main campaign there is also an end game to start focusing on.
If you are not yet interested in Starlink: Battle for Atlas, now is the time to get interested. There is so much content than meets the eye, there is a clear large amount of love and care put in, and the added benefit of Starfox on the Switch is a great bonus. Starlink: Battle for Atlas comes out October 16th for Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One.