34BigThings Does What Nintendon’t

HIGH It’s Starfox 64 with humans and modern quality-of-life updates. 

LOW No open-flight mode for free-play dogfighting.

WTF Honestly had no idea what character I was for the first 30 minutes.

Star Fox is a legendary series from Nintendo that doesn’t get the love it deserves. The last installment was a disappointment to many and released only on the Wii U regardless, so to fill the void developer 34BigThings has stepped in again to create a sort-of spiritual successor to a beloved Nintendo franchise that’s laying fallow. (Their first was a take on F-Zero).

While 34BigThings certainly offers their own spin and add a fresh coat of futuristic paint, their works tend to wear their inspirations on their sleeve, and from the beginning it’s obvious that Redout: Space Assault is heavily influenced by the Star Fox series.

In both Star Fox and Redout, the player takes control of a ship from a third-person view and goes through various levels blasting baddies. Most of the levels are ‘on rails’, meaning that there is a set path the ship flies along, but some mix it up by giving free range to roam the stage.

Everything from the way the ship controls, the dynamic between linear missions and free-flying mode, and even the dual weapon combination of one which fires directly in front and another which locks on to targets all screams Star Fox. There is some spice added to the formula via multiple weapon types, cosmetic color schemes for the ship and currency used to buy upgrades, but still — Star Fox.

So where does Redout diverge? Instead of following an anthropomorphic fox and his buddies, the player finds themselves in the shoes of a young human pilot named Leon who is part of a peacekeeping force. Players will follow Leon throughout his career as he uncovers the truth of his organization’s intentions and must choose his own path. The story’s high quality surprised me since narrative is something usually lacking in this genre.

When the gameplay hits the high points of indiscriminately blowing up drones and enemy fighters while soaring through beautiful interplanetary set pieces and then follows it up with the solid story behind it, any player will be in for a great ride. However, some issues do arise. 

While many of the levels are enjoyable blasting romps through space, some segments offer no fighting in order to create variety. For example, there are several racing sections — a neat idea, but Redout isn’t really designed with these diversions in mind and the need to repeat them multiple times due to bad luck or needing to put in a flawless performance is frustrating. However, only a few levels run the risk of total failure thanks to unlimited lives.

On the other hand, these unlimited lives are both a blessing and a curse — it becomes clear later in the campaign that they’re used as an excuse to blast the player with full-screen attacks and giant lasers without much consideration given to how a player could avoid them. These scenarios have little consequence since the player respawns and all that’s lost is a bit of time and currency, but these deaths are unnecessary and they wear on one’s patience.

While it may lack Nintendo’s trademark polish in some areas, Redout: Space Assault is still a good title that delivers several hours of flying and fighting, and the Star Fox nostalgia older players will certainly experience is a bonus.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

— Mitch Zehe

Disclosures: This game is developed and published by 34BigThings. It is currently available on XBO, PS4, Switch, iOS and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PC. Approximately 8 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated E10+ and contains Alcohol Reference, Fantasy Violence, and Mild Language. This game contains sci-fi ship-on-ship combat with explosions. Topics such as death and refugees are touched on. I think this should be safe for most kids.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: This game offers subtitles. The subtitles cannot be altered and/or resized. The game can be played in its entirety without sound. However, two levels incorporate sound into finding certain objects in the environment. Being that there is no timer, these are still doable, but frustrating as there is no visual indicator.

Remappable Controls: Yes, this game offers fully remappable controls.

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