Galaxy on Fire in Review – In space no one hears you scream…

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…which is quite convenient since it’s highly unpopular to annoy your neighbours. This is especially true when they are a bunch if unfriendly aliens with big spaceships and the criminal energy of a entire drug cartel. Now, take into consideration that you just left the military and have only a handful of friends and a tiny spacecraft to defend yourself; you will see why it’s a wise move not to upset the neighbours. That is Galaxy on Fire in a nutshell.

Too bad that your character isn’t exactly cut from diplomat wood. Working now as a mercenary you might get the feeling he is not as happy as he used to be. His tendency to take on whatever mission comes along with lines like “a suicide mission. Count me in”, help paint his colourful back story.

The plot gets on in intermittent dialogue sequences which drift in between missions and sometimes over the radio whilst a mission is underway. While the story is pretty common SciFi fare, you’ll still get interested in what becomes of your character.

Galaxy on Fire is is best described as an accelerometer-based Space Sim. Those of you who can remember the Wing Commander series will find them self at home right away, though gameplay is simplified into a mix of action, and action! Fans of the genre will miss some common features though, like energy and shield management. However, Galaxy on Fire’s intelligible system means that you only have to worry about what type of weapon and shield generator you install in your ship and then just go out and fire away with everything you’ve got.

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Between missions you can enter the hanger, buy new ships, or components for your existing one. Here you can also sell cargo which you looted from fallen enemies. The developer put a little economy based minigame into this too. Every station has a different technology level which affects how much money you can get for your various cargoes and what systems are in the shop at which prices. This is not a full blown economy simulator, but it gives the game a nice gameplay boost.

For the first hour, this is not so important since you are tied to one story line, but once you finish the 13th mission, you are free to explore the galaxy and take missions at your leisure.

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The accelerometer controls work really well and are the best spot-on controls I have seen in this type of game, but for the unconvinced, there is a virtual pad which can be switched on at any time from the options menu. There, you can also calibrate your default holding position when playing via tilt controls.

When you first start the game you are asked if you rather have the beefed up graphics for second gen iPod Touchs or iPhone 3GS models. But even with the high settings this game runs quite good on a old 2G.

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And for the quick bus rides you can choose the survival mode. Here you will be set against wave after wave of steadily thickening enemies until you lose – a classic mode which great fun fror those shorter gameplay sessions.

Conclusion
I have looked for quite some time for a game like Wing Commander and this is as close as it gets on the iDevice. The sound is good and the graphics are superb. Controls are easy to get into and hard to master but always fun to play. The story is enough to keep you interested throughout the game but could use some more depth. What the game is missing entirely is a multiplayer option. While online and local multiplayer may be too much to ask for, it is a bit disappointing that there isn’t at least a online highscore for the survival mode. I sure hope multiplayer is something that will be added via a patch or at least in Galaxy on Fire 2 (hear me FishLabs?).

This game review was brought to you by TouchMyApps contributor Sascha.

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App Summary
Title:Galaxy on Fire (V 1.1.3)Developer:Fishlabs
Price:$4.99App Size:17.2 MB
  • Great controls
  • Superb graphics
  • Interesting character you grow to like
  • Wing Commander in your pocket
  • Too few weapon and ship systems
  • No energy management
  • No Multiplayer support

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