Save for a few unstable mechanics, Star Fox Command is an engaging sci-fi shooter that comes complete with an outstandin

User Rating: 8 | Star Fox Command DS
If you’ve ever played a Star Fox game, you’d know that the series has valiantly revolved around the shooting genre in both land and sky vehicles, and occasionally combat on foot. But Star Fox Command has indefinitely eliminated a plethora of possibilities, narrowing it down to flying, and flying alone. Then again, if you haven’t played a Star Fox game, you may grow to enjoy Command’s quirky and perpetual flying mechanics. Considering either perspective, Star Fox Command will grow on you if you’re patient enough to withstand the first few levels.

The members of Team Star Fox have gone their separate ways, and it’s up to Fox to defeat the newly formed adversaries, the Anglars. While Fox eventually attains his former pilots for battle, he’s pitted against enemy forces alone for a quantity of the time. The battlefield depicts a board game: each force takes a turn and inches one step closer to the opponent’s base. But it’s your job to draw paths with the stylus to intercept enemy cores and do battle. Once in battle, you’ll have a limited amount of time to gather the enemy cores, in which there is a certain number required before moving on to the next map.

But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Every once in a while you’ll need to acquire a ridiculous amount of cores in very few turns, and most of the time you have 150 seconds to gather them all. With that said you can still gather fuel for extra time and extra turns, which are dispersed across the battlefield. This strategic element is very engaging and challenging, but above all else, great training for the co-op modes in Wi-Fi battles.

And that’s basically what the single player campaign does for you: enough training and experience to tackle the big cheese in online play. The single player is extremely short – there are only about five levels ranging in nine different difficulties, all of which prove to be too repetitious the next time around. Online play, on the other hand, can range from the beginning of play to the end of time. You begin at rank Z and work your way up by destroying other players’ ships and collecting their cores. The more cores you attain per game the more your percentage will rise. It’s really an appealing feature to utilize, and the gratification is wholesomely satisfying, especially if you manage to become addicted to it.

Everything you use, from bombs to speed boosts to u-turns – all of these concepts are displayed through the touch screen, even flying in general. The only time you’ll ever not use the stylus is to shoot (L), which at times can get uncomfortable, but in the long run it’s a great achievement that works well. While you may think it would be difficult to pilot a ship using the stylus, it’s quite easy to maneuver and depict your surroundings once you get the hang of it. In all honesty, the entire control system is one of the best I’ve ever experienced on the DS.

Graphically showcased, Star Fox Command looks brilliant, but there’s a lack of visual and motion feed that was regularly present in past Star Fox adventures. The characters are always motionless; the only things that you’ll ever see moving are your aircraft, the enemy’s aircraft, and the lasers from your cannon firing off into the distance. In a way, the background scenery feels rushed and sloppy, like a montage straight from the NES itself. On the other hand, the ships diving, crashing, shooting, and looping looks decent, and portrayed to be thought out a little more clearly. You’re not getting the best graphics the DS has to offer, but they’re a solid attribute to the core emphasis. Since the characters are rather motionless, so are their voices. In fact, the entire game is depicted in subtitles, yet the characters antagonistically spew out gibberish talk like chipmunks (as if it wasn’t weird enough seeing foxes and falcons talking and piloting space crafts). It’s quite easy to tell that this wasn’t the best effort in the audio category; a lot of the sound effects are annoying and, to an extent, distracting. The bombs don’t sound like bombs, the flying is even a bit off its rocker, and most lamenting of all, there’s an excessive amount noises that just seem to emit out of no where. You could be strategizing your movements while absurd noises eject from the speakers. On the other hand, you might not find them annoying if you like deep, disproportionate warnings of an enemy on the premises.

All in all, Star Fox Command is a great game just for its engaging online modes and co-op campaigns. The single player game is enjoyable while it lasts, but there’s a small chance that you’ll go back and replay through it. If you don’t have a Wi-Fi connection, you might just want to rent this one.