Sunderland Echo - - Opinion -

Grow­ing up in the 90s, Star Fox was – and re­mains to this day – one of my favourite games, so it just had to be Nin­tendo Switch when it came to Star­link: Bat­tle for At­las so I could be reunited with Fox McCloud 25 years on.

Star­link: Bat­tle for At­las is a space ex­plo­ration, good vs evil ac­tion-ad­ven­ture game from Ubisoft which at­tempts to re­vive the toys-to-life mar­ket so pop­u­lar in the past with Sky­lan­ders and Dis­ney In­fin­ity.

That in it­self would in­stantly nar­row the au­di­ence for this new game to chil­dren but, with the em­pha­sis as much on dig­i­tal down­loads as phys­i­cal pe­riph­er­als, that is not the case.

As per the name, the game is set in the At­las star sys­tem and your moth­er­ship – the Equinox – is am­bushed by the For­got­ten Le­gion crash­ing into a nearby planet.

The cap­tain is taken hostage – what did Bowser start all those years ago with Princess Peach! – and you bat­tle the Le­gion and its leader, Grax, who is ob­sessed with tap­ping into the tech­nol­ogy of an an­cient race called the War­dens for his own das­tardly deeds. Straight away, fans of Star Fox will feel all nos­tal­gic if play­ing the Switch ver­sion which, as a starter pack, can be pur­chased with the leg­endary Mr McCloud and his ship.

Com­bat is great fun, and if you want to spend the money you can build up quite a ros­ter of ships, char­ac­ters and weapons. Th­ese – and more – are also avail­able dig­i­tally, though, al­beit with­out the sat­is­fac­tion of quickly-chang­ing weapons on the ship mounted on your con­troller and the like. It is a nov­elty that will prob­a­bly wear off quickly for older gamers, but with plenty of depth dig­i­tally there is no rea­son that should limit the au­di­ence in any way.

I com­pleted Star­link in around 23 hours over the course of five or six nights and had a blast do­ing it. There was al­ways lots go­ing on and tar­gets to clear. The crown­ing achieve­ment is the vast­ness of the uni­verse you in­habit and the sheer ex­cite­ment that comes with en­ter­ing a planet.

If you have mul­ti­ple con­soles, I would thor­oughly rec­om­mend the Switch ver­sion, not only for the bril­liant ad­di­tional Star Fox con­tent, but it seems the game was made to be best en­joyed on Nin­tendo’s plat­form.

If you like col­lecta­bles and don’t mind a fair bit of grind, you will prob­a­bly for­give Star­link’s rep­e­ti­tion such as the for­mat of bat­tles be­com­ing all too fa­mil­iar like in the old days of video games.

Star­link can be en­joyed with or with­out toys, but they are not a ne­ces­sity to get the most out of the game. In fact, you can do more dig­i­tally. They do add an el­e­ment of fun for chil­dren, but I can’t see it prov­ing pop­u­lar enough to re­ju­ve­nate the fad­ing toys-to-life genre.

All in all this is a su­per cool, su­per fun space ad­ven­ture with bags of Star Fox nos­tal­gia for Switch gamers. It looks great and plays great with the grind and brevity the only draw­backs stop­ping it from be­ing great.

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