This guide will walk you through tips you need to know to master StarFox Zero, the latest release in Nintendo’s space-shooting series. There are some classic elements that come into play, along with some new features that will be of interest to older and new fans alike.
Taking Flight With the Arwing
When it comes to controlling the Arwing, you’ll want to keep something in mind. The game utilizes motion control using your Wii U Gamepad, so aiming is best done by using that device’s screen.
This can take a bit of getting used to, especially if you’ve become accustomed to the classic style of play that the SNES/Nintendo 64 games. But you can use this to your benefit, especially when it comes to precision shooting, like picking off robotic bugs climbing up your allies’ tower (in the first stage) or pinpoint aiming when taking on bosses.
The key involves finding the right moments to switch to first person targeting. When you see sections that require you to shoot with more accuracy, check out the second screen and use GamePad gestures to make sure the aim is just right. However, make sure that your ship isn’t in any danger of crashing into anything – the cursor can be aimed, but your ship will generally maintain the same course. Switch back if you need to avoid something coming at you, like space debris or a large enemy that can damage your shielding.
You can’t turn motion controls off, so you might as well make the most of it and use its targeting system to your advantage. Just remember that with each movement your ship makes, the cursor goes right along with it and you may need to reset (with a simple button press) to put it back in place. You’ll get used to it after the first couple of missions.
Using the Walker
There are also sections in the game where your Arwing will transform into a walker, where it can run around through star bases and damage enemies inside. As with the Arwing, this also utilizes the dual-screen system, with the main TV screen showing your character movement and the GamePad screen working for aiming purposes.
Movement can be confusing at first, but remember that you can use gestures to quickly turn your walker around, while using the analog pad to move so it doesn’t get hit by enemy fire. It can take a bit of practice, but after maneuvering through the first part of the walker phase, you should get a better idea of how it works.
Just make sure you use these systems together as often as you can. Use the analog stick to move your walker into ample cover, then take out enemies as quickly as you can with gesture aiming.
Taking Flight With the Gyrocopter
A new vehicle added to StarFox Zero is the gyrocopter, which you’ll use to infiltrate a base early on in the game. Unlike the Arwing this doesn’t have strong propulsion, which means you can fly slowly. This is quite useful when it comes to avoiding enemy spotlights, as well as taking a more careful approach toward enemy ships.
More importantly, the Gyrocopter comes with a robot buddy, which you can summon to activate switches throughout the base. Most of these switches will look like red TV monitors. To activate them, deploy the robot so it lowers onto the ground. You’ll need to be flying low enough so that it can roll on the ground – otherwise it’ll get wound back into the ship.
Once the robot is on the ground, switch to the GamePad view to direct it. The robot controls are pretty easy, using the analog sticks to get around. Just look for the activation pad (again, bright red) and walk up to it. The robot will then begin to deactivate the switch, and you can continue on your way.
Also, when you’re in the gyrocopter and need to make your way down into containers or descending into shafts, make sure you hold down the button so you have a downward view of your ship. It’ll display a target that will show where the center of your ship is located, so you won’t hit anything on the way down. You can also activate this when it comes to activating your droid, so you can place it with precision – and not make any mistakes with where it goes.
Rolling With the Landmaster
Finally, Team Starfox’s awesome tank returns for particular stages, with a classic control style that also works with the dual screen system. The main thing to keep in mind with the Landmaster is that it has a great roll technique for getting out of trouble. If you see something that’s about to fall on you or an enemy ready to attack (like the big robo-arm that serves as a boss in the first stage), roll out of the way, then use the GamePad screen to target the weak spot and light them up.
The Tankmaster is quite nimble, and can also hover if you need to get off the ground for some reason (like avoiding an obstacle you can’t get around). But it’s best to stay on the ground, if only because your assault is best from that angle. Stick with aiming through the GamePad screen, and don’t forget to barrel roll. Of course it’s StarFox, so “do a barrel roll” is probably a given.