The best Star Fox games are some of the most enjoyable video games to play. However, saying the series has taken us on a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs would be an understatement.
The original titles are classics with near-infinite replayability. Later releases, however, have stumbled. Usually, they’re hampered by attempted innovation with new control schemes or gimmicks.
Still, there’s a lot to enjoy with the beloved Nintendo franchise. To celebrate, we’re going to rank the best Star Fox games in the franchise. To come up with the order, we’re mixing in a little bit of Metacritic ranking and author opinion.
Keep in mind, that while these may be the best of the series, some of them are pretty bad and we’ve noted which games are the “worst” on our “best” list.
There’s a chance you may agree, but you’ll probably disagree. Either way, be sure to sound off in the comments.
Star Fox Zero Is Not One of the Best Star Fox Games; It’s Actually the Worst
Remember when I mentioned how the Star Fox franchise is often hampered by control schemes and gimmicks? Allow me to present exhibit A: Star Fox Zero.
The Wii U game, released in 2016 and developed by PlatinumGames, is the most recent entry the franchise has seen. There’s a small chance its poor reception has put it out to pasture, which would be extremely unfortunate.
Zero feels like Nintendo tried to capture the magic of Star Fox 64 while forcing the Wi U GamePad down our throats.
What’s remarkable is that it’s not the lowest-ranked game in the franchise on Metacritic, but we’ll talk more about that one soon.
Star Fox Guard
Is it sad when an add-on for Star Fox Zero is better than the full game? Absolutely. That’s the case with Star Fox Guard.
The tower-defense game was bundled in for the first print run of Zero and isn’t that bad of a game. Having said that, its placement amongst other Star Fox games seems out of place. It feels like Nintendo developed a clever use for the GamePad first and put on a coat of Star Fox paint second.
This wouldn’t be the first time Nintendo has done that (see Star Fox adventures), but that was a much better example. This one is far more forgettable.
Star Fox Assault Completely Misses the Mark Compared to Other Star Fox Games
Released for the Nintendo GameCube in 2005, there was a hope that Star Fox Assault would become one of the best Star Fox games ever made.
It turned out to instead be one of the worst.
While Assault isn’t hampered by gimmicky controls, its downfall is instead the fact that it’s just not a good game. Vehicle combat, whether in the Arwing or Landmaster, is adequate but lacks the charm of Star Fox 64. Ground combat handles extremely poorly and is a chore.
This is the first of the Star Fox games to not be developed by Nintendo, excluding Adventures. Ultimately, it shows. Star Fox Assault is a shallow, barren, uninspiring game that completely misses the mark in every imaginable way.
Starlink: Battle for Atlas
Technically, Starlink features a Star Fox mission and ariel combat, so it’s on our list of Star Fox games! Having said that, it’s an average title at best, which is more than I can say for the previous entries.
Starlink: Battle for Atlas is a part of the toys-to-life genre popularized by the Spyro Skylanders series. The Star Fox toys are super sweet and are worth sitting alongside your Amiibo collection if you’re into that sort of thing.
As for the game itself, it’s a run-of-the-mill space combat adventure that will leave any interested party satisfied. It lacks the charm and personality of a truly great game, but it’s also one of the best Star Fox games released in the past decade.
Star Fox 2
The “lost” Star Fox game, Star Fox 2 sacrificed itself for a better purpose. Many of its ideas, characters, and innovations would be implemented into Star Fox 64. This meant the original’s sequel could take full advantage of the more powerful Nintendo 64 hardware.
Despite the limitations of the Super Nintendo, Star Fox 2 still packs quite a punch, pushing the console to its limits with a wonderful combination of real-time strategy and space combat.
Its biggest issue is undoubtedly the limitations of its hardware. This game is a bit of a mess when played on the SNES Classic, but offers a better experience on Nintendo Switch. Controlling your vehicle in dogfights is cumbersome, but doable thanks to the analog stick.
Star Fox 2 can be fun in spurts, but we’re better off for bringing its ideas to Star Fox 64. It’s still a better Star Fox game than the modern releases, though.
Star Fox Command
Released for the Nintendo DS in 2006, Star Fox Command is yet another Star Fox game complete with a gimmick.
Hence the title command, you’re able to command your allies with the DS’s touch screen, which is a neat touch. On the opposite end of the spectrum, controlling the Arwing with the touch screen is far from ideal.
Still, Star Fox Command is one of the better Star Fox games available. It lacks the charm, personality, and character of the best Star Fox games, but still levels satisfying aerial combat and action. The lack of voice acting is a major disappointment.
Star Fox Adventures Isn’t One of the Typical Star Fox Games, but It’s Still Incredibly Fun
The only thing Star Fox Adventures has in common with other Star Fox games is the starring cast. Originally planned for the Nintendo 64 before moving to the GameCube, the game began life as “Dinosaur Planet” before Nintendo incorporated the Star Fox characters.
Adventures has far more in common with The Legend of Zelda than other Star Fox games, but the personality and charm of Fox McCloud shine through and help to carry an otherwise above-average game.
One big thing Star Fox Adventures has going for it was the visual prowess at the time of release.
For a game that began life as a Nintendo 64 title and was released in 2002, Star Fox Adventure is gorgeous. Environments are lush, characters are well animated, and the game’s graphics are stellar for their time.
Sometimes the original is an all-time classic. Released in 1993 for the Super Nintendo, the first Star Fox is one of the best Star Fox games ever made.
Helping to launch the popular franchise, Star Fox’s graphics and combat were ahead of their time.
It may lack the total package of the beloved Star Fox 64, but its state-of-the-art combat, level design, and gameplay carry the title to new heights.
Powered by the Super FX chip, the original Star Fox showed what was possible from console gaming. We haven’t looked back since.
Star Fox 64 3D
Star Fox 64 3D is one of the best Star Fox games ever made. It’s also a near-identical remake of the beloved Nintendo 64 classic. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it; the result is one of the best Nintendo 3DS games we still love playing today.
The updated graphics are very welcome, as is the ability to customize your control set-up. Players can opt for traditional controls with the 3DS’s Circle Pad. Those looking to take full advantage of the handheld’s gyro controls and 3DS visuals can use the 3DS Mode for controls.
This is a great example of Nintendo embracing a system’s defining feature without forcing a player to live or die by its gimmick.
Sadly, the game’s voice acting pales in comparison to the original Star Fox 64. Lines will, at times, sound stiff and forced. Still, it’s one of the better Star Fox games available.
Star Fox 64 Is Easily the Best Star Fox Game Ever Made
There’s a reason this game ends up on this list several times. Star Fox 64 is an absolute classic and one of the best Nintendo 64 games. A reboot of the SNES release, Star Fox 64 takes the original’s concepts and blends them with the canceled sequel’s innovations.
What makes Star Fox 64 so special is the infinite replayability. The game’s campaign is relatively short. You can actually finish it in roughly an hour. Every playthrough feels different, though.
Thanks in part to the non-linear campaign and variety of choices for each stage, Star Fox 64 always feels fresh. Whether it’s the first or hundredth time you’ve played it, it never manages to feel old.
Dialogue and mid-combat chatter between characters are what elevates Star Fox 64. The team of Fox, Falco, Peppy, and Slippy all sound like best friends with constant words of encouragement and light-hearted jabs.
As scripted dialogue between in-game characters in modern gaming has become more and more tedious, Star Fox 64 is a breath of fresh air.