It’s probably time to accept that Star Fox is dead. Nintendo never really quite knew what to do with the series, constantly tacking on unnecessary extras to pad out gameplay that was already fine on its own. Seeing as it’s been 22 years since Star Fox 64, and every iteration since then has fallen apart in one way or another, maybe it’s time to let someone else play with the formula for a bit. Ex-Zodiac is a rail shooter that’s not trying to hide its influence at all and it looks exactly like a tribute that matches nostalgic presentation with tried and tested shooting action.
The plot is fairly simple, at least what’s been revealed so far: the rise of baddies The Zodiac needs to be stopped and only (unnamed heroine) has a chance at defeating the… Evil alien empire? Destructive terrorist forces? Intergalactic foodies pushing a delicious but nutritionally-void all-potato diet? Whoever it is can only be stopped by flying from one planet to another and laying waste to their defenses, tearing along a preset path with the view firmly behind the ship as the low-poly landscape scrolls by below. While superficially it looks like a pure Star Fox homage there’s at least a bit of Panzer Dragoon kicking around Ex-Zodiac’s DNA as well, with a lock-on missile system that lets you ping more targets as you pick up powerups along the way.
Ex-Zodiac is doing its first public showing at the forthcoming EGX, but for those of us not able to get to the UK this weekend the plan is to release the demo online fairly soon-ish. For now, though, check out the video of the first level below: