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Fur Squadron reader review – Reader’s Feature

Fur Squadron reader review – Reader’s Feature
Fur Squadron – looks like it’s time for a barrel roll (Picture: Raptor Claw)

A reader reviews indie Star Fox homage Fur Squadron, in a game that’s closer to the original two titles than most actual Nintendo games.

Star Fox has always been a bit of an anomaly; it bolted straight out of the gates on the SNES, with its larger than life visuals and big booming music and then followed that up with Lylat Wars (aka Star Fox 64 ) on the N64, where 3D visuals where just starting to bed in. It really felt like Star Fox was ahead of its time in the early 90s and then truly found its home towards the end of the decade.

It had the potential to be one of Nintendo’s top tier franchises, as it was doing something different to Mario and Zelda and it was doing it well.

Alas, some 25 years later and it seems to have become an afterthought and became far too fiddly, with its different array of transformer style Arwings asking you to shape-shift in order to progress.

Indie game Fur Squadron does none of this, as it simply asks you to fly on-the-rails and blast stuff to smithereens.

If you’re a seasoned gamer and have played the early Star Fox games, then just one look at the trailer will tell you that this game is a love letter to those first two instalments. It’s not even ashamed of it either, with some of the achievements (I reviewed this on Xbox Series S) quoting some of the dialogue from Lylat Wars.

As you can probably gather, this is an on-the-rails flight shooter. The graphics are somewhere between the 1982 Tron movie and the game Rez, with a psychedelic feel to it, which is actually quite pretty and incredibly smooth when you get the chance to admire them.

You take on the character of Blaze (Fox), who appears to be a racoon, along with your team-mate Axel (Slippy), an axolotl – credit goes to my 10-year-old daughter for teaching me that. And then there’s Kiro (Falco), who looks like a cyberpunk type of grey fox. It has to be said the latter, although trying to come across as the confident, competitive team-mate that Falco is, simply just comes across as cocky, arrogant, and annoying. [Sounds exactly like Falco to us – GC]

You control a plane with a predetermined flight pattern, whilst avoiding obstacles and other hostile airborne enemies. Although enemies are varied and have different attack patterns, it’s not always apparent what enemy you are dealing with due to the stylised visuals and sometimes it can be too late by the time you’ve figured it out.

The barrel roll is there, of course. For those younger readers, a barrel roll is where your plane’s wing tips do a 360° spin and reflects incoming fire from hostile enemies – incredibly satisfying when you’re under pressure. This is all done with one touch of a button, although the temptation to press twice is hard to shake off. I guess old habits do die hard.

Fur Squadron – this seems reminiscent of Tempest (Picture: Raptor Claw)

The love letter to the Star Fox games doesn’t end there either, with your team-mates interacting with you via text that pops up at the bottom of the screen whilst they talk to you. This is done with the same sort of jibba-jabba language as the original, with the text coming up in English.

Whilst this is done in the same manner as the original Star Fox, it has to be said that it pops up at the most inconvenient times, where you have to choose whether to read it or get hit by something. Obviously, the survival instinct kicks in and you end up missing a lot of the dialogue as a result. Whether this is due to budgets, and not being able to afford actors, or just trying to pay homage to the original Star Fox, the timing of your comrades’ interactions is definitely off and could have been timed better.

There are a sequence of gates you can traverse through, albeit none of them very tricky, which will normally hand you an extra missile or shield but these seem blindingly obvious and there doesn’t seem to be any attempt to encourage you to explore, just to see if there is anything hiding.

The bosses can be fairly easy to figure out, although the game does attempt to shake things up by flipping the screen upside down during one encounter and there is one section where you have no offensive capabilities and are just being hunted down as you fly towards the screen. Which is a nice touch and wouldn’t look out of place in a Star Fox game.

However, the aiming does seems a little off. Although the option to hold the fire button down to charge your weapons and then take out a number of enemies with one shot is as satisfying as ever.

The sense of speed is not always apparent either, this may just be down to the graphical style though, as it doesn’t look like it’s going any slower than the Star Fox games, but it certainly feels like it when you’re cruising along.

The good thing is, though, it has taken the best parts of Star Fox, i.e. the flying sections and it’s not trying to be anything but.

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If you’re a Star Fox fan it’s hard not to like this game. Sure, it has its flaws but it’s trying to do something that hasn’t really been done since Lylat Wars and the first level of Star Fox Zero and it certainly doesn’t look like Nintendo care as much as the people that made this game, to ever do it again. For the most part, it does it well and it’s nice to know there is still hope out there for fans like me, that just want another bite of that Star Fox cookie.

In Short: A welcome addition to the on-the-rails flight shooter genre, that feels more like DLC to the first two Star Fox games than anything else.

Pros: A great low budget attempt at a high budget game. Visuals are very smooth and for the most part it does feel like a competent solid game. Good price.

Cons: Aiming is a little off. Soundtrack is forgettable and the game on a whole is a little short.

Score: 7/10

By reader freeway 77

The reader’s features do not necessarily represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. Just contact us at [email protected] or use our Submit Stuff page and you won’t need to send an email.

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