Star Fox Zero's unique control scheme gets even weirder in co-op

Star Fox Zero's tablet-and-television control scheme takes some getting used to. If you've ever tried to pat your head while rubbing your stomach, then you already know how I felt playing this game on the E3 2015 show floor. The Arwing handles like a tank: the tablet controls the turret and the thumbsticks control the treads. This invites several situations in which you're looking to the gamepad to see where you're shooting, then back to the television to see where you're flying. You might find yourself wishing that the two were handled through a single control scheme.

However, this setup does offer some advantages. The field of view on the gamepad is slightly larger than what's on the TV, so if an enemy has flown out of sight on the big screen, you still have a chance to pick them off on the small screen. You can also respond to enemies faster, since the Arwing can fire at incoming bogeys without having to be directly in front of them.

If you're still having trouble wrapping your head around Star Fox's new control scheme, one solution might be to invite a friend to join in the fun. Star Fox Zero will support cooperative play, with two players controlling a single Arwing. One player flies the ship, the other handles the weapons; the person flying uses the Wiimote and nunchuck, while the gunner is on the gamepad. Pulling off this two-players, one-ship play style can be tricky, but if handled correctly it can make the transition to Zero's new controller scheme smoother, since you only have to focus on one job instead of two.

Star Fox Zero is headed to the Wii U later this year. Not much else is known yet about the game's overarching story other than it's a re-imagining of 1997's Star Fox 64. That includes Corneria, an Andross invasion, and numerous bad guys with giant A's emblazoned on their hats. What more do you need? Certainly not Peppy yelling at you about using the gamepad's gyrometer for "precision aiming." Star Fox Zero doesn't make the best first impression, but it remains to be seen if it can capture the simple rail-shooting magic of Star Fox 64.