Nintendo’s ‘Star Fox Zero’ is one of a kind, but is it playable? – Los Angeles Times

Nintendo’s best releases are typically highly polished, moderately zany and, if not downright accessible to a mass audience, at least approachable. They are not just games but showcase titles, works specifically designed to demonstrate the flexibility of Nintendo’s own hardware.

Its latest, Wii U’s “Star Fox Zero,” almost fits the profile.

The game, equally influenced by high-energy cartoon serials and “Star Wars,” is unique, to say the least. But playable? That’s more debatable.

“Star Fox” aggressively makes use of the television screen and the Wii U’s tablet-like controller, the GamePad, requiring players to navigate between two very distinct points of view. The tablet screen captures an in-flight cockpit view. The television focuses on a grander, more distant view of the action.

Consider “Star Fox” a juggling act: Look up. Look down. Look up again really quick. Now down!

Then prepare to be confused. Wait, is that the front of the spaceship, or has it been turned around? Or maybe just pick a screen and hope for the best? Nope. The spacecraft just ran into an opposing vessel. Destruction. Start over.

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Even in this age of short attention spans and incessant smartphone notifications, “Star Fox” takes hyper-connectivity to near dizzying heights.

It’s unfortunate because up until this week’s release of “Star Fox,” it had been relatively quiet on the Nintendo Wii U front this year. Most of the news surrounding the company has centered on goofy mobile diversion “Miitomo,” or expansive 3DS role-playing game “Fire Emblem Awakening.”

What’s a devotee of the Wii U’s dual-screen experience to do? Probably enjoy the catalog, which, on a whole, centers on rather unique experiences and deserves much better than the Wii U’s numbers. Since its release in 2012, the console has sold shy of 13 million units, a fraction of the more than 101 million copies sold of its predecessor, the Wii.

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