TouchMyApps » Fishlabs http://www.touchmyapps.com All Things iPhone and iPad for those who like to Touch. iOS App reviews, News, New Apps, Price Drops and App Gone Free Fri, 17 Oct 2014 21:42:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.4 Galaxy on Fire 2 in Review – This galaxy ain’t big enough for the both of us! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/11/08/galaxy-on-fire-2-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/11/08/galaxy-on-fire-2-in-review/#comments Mon, 08 Nov 2010 16:16:21 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=42321 Quality space-sims are far and few between even on the PC, especially if we’re talking about the open-world variety. There is the classic Elite, Origin’s Privateer series and the fantastic X-series. That’s about it. Of course one might say it’s a bit of a niche genre, but I say – to hell with that, it’s … Read more]]>

Quality space-sims are far and few between even on the PC, especially if we’re talking about the open-world variety. There is the classic Elite, Origin’s Privateer series and the fantastic X-series. That’s about it. Of course one might say it’s a bit of a niche genre, but I say – to hell with that, it’s just so much fun! So after spending a considerable amount of time with FISHLABS’ sequel Galaxy on Fire 2, I can attest that we finally have a worthy entry in the genre on the iDevice.

Galaxy on Fire 2 is a classic open-world 3D space sim, one of the few that’s ever hit the iDevice. Thanks to a malfunction in the warp drive our alter-ego of the previous installment is sent through space and time into the near future. And on a crippled ship no less! Now having lost everything and piloting literally a heap of garbage, he manages to reach his home system only to find it ravaged by the mysterious alien ships, appearing out of nowhere and wreaking havoc on the the general popualtion.

Playing Galaxy on Fire 2 reminded me a lot of the very first game in the X series, both in terms of gameplay and story. The whole galaxy is split into sectors with a number of stations in each. You can move around freely within a sector (with instant autopiloting between station areas) or use a jumpgate near one of the stations to warp to a neighbouring sector. And after you get the Khador drive you can hop across the universe in large swoops, though at the cost of energy cells. Most of the game you’ll find yourself gazing across the top of your vessel at the universe beyond, mercilessly destroying foes and exploring new horizons. Space IS the final frontier, you know…

The most welcome surprise for me was the wide array of ways to occupy yourself. You can stick to the story and conscientiously save the universe, go on a tangent and execute random missions, spend your time industriously mining the asteroid fields, trade goods across stations or even go and become a pirate to hunt such traders yourself. The hub of activity on any station is the Space Lounge where you can take up a mission (though only one at a time), buy some goods (and sometimes get ripped off) or if you’re really lucky – obtain a blueprint for a state of the art piece of equipment or a set of coordinates for a previously unknown system.

Another delightful surprise was the superb amount of customization opportunities. You’re not stuck with the same old bucket of bolts for the whole game, instead you can buy new ships with stats that best suit your game style on various stations. You can also outfit it to your liking with weapons, missiles and equipment with some original pieces, like a cloaking field (also eats up Energy Cells) or a repair bot. And if nothing suits your fancy you can also make some powerful devices using a blueprint and by supplying a station with the required resources.

Galaxy on Fire 2′s open-world environment really excels as it sparkles with distant stars and nebulas, casting beautiful shadows on the stations and ships around you. Taking full advantage of the Retina display, you’ll find it easy to get shot down by enemy ships simply because you were too busy gazing at stars and planets around you. To help you avoid this unfortunate event, the developers have included an Action Freeze function, one that puts the world on hold and allows you to rotate the camera as you please and create beautiful screenshots.

Of course Galaxy on Fire 2 isn’t quite perfect, with the biggest issue being the controls and interface. The latter works well in most cases though some simple things are missing, like an aiming aid (it’s almost impossible to see where and how fast the enemy is flying, so most of hitting will be done head-on and up close and personal) or the option to plot a course right in space, rather than at a station. Speaking of the controls, Galaxy on Fire 2 offers 2 schemes – an accelerometer and a virtual joystick. You can forget about using the accelerometer one right off the bat; they’re too imprecise and simply impossible to use. Why the devs didn’t include support for the iPhone 4’s gyroscope remains a mystery to me. The virtual joystick is the only method left and is workable after you get used to it. The real complaint is that it’s simply far too small and the slightest shift of your thumb can send you spinning off in the wrong direction.

Despite these issues, Galaxy on Fire 2 is still one of the most fun and addictive games I played in a long time and one of the few that I found myself thinking about even without the iPhone in hand. The deep and involving gameplay goes far beyond following the simplistic storyline, giving the gorgeously rendered and massive galaxy to you on a platter. If there is even a tiny bit of a space explorer in you, Galaxy on Fire 2 is definitely a must-have game that will suck you in for a good 20 hours or so.

With this I declare Galaxy on Fire 2™ officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Galaxy on Fire 2™ Developer: FISHLABS
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.1 Min OS Req: 3.0
Price: $6.99 App Size: 108.32MB
  • Detailed colourful high-quality graphics with full Retina support
  • A true open world for you to explore
  • Many ways of occupying yourself
  • Lots of customization options
  • Difficult to master controls
  • Absence of some intuitive interface features, like tap to lock or aiming aid

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In search of other Space themed games on the iDevice? Take a look at these TMA reviews:

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Galaxy on Fire in Review – In space no one hears you scream… http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/08/02/galaxy-on-fire-in-review-in-space-no-one-hears-you-scream/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/08/02/galaxy-on-fire-in-review-in-space-no-one-hears-you-scream/#comments Sun, 02 Aug 2009 14:19:42 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=16984 …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 … Read more]]>

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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: $4.99 App 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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Into flight/space simulators?
Flight Control in ReviewTop Gun Flies into the iDeviceGlyder in ReviewSpace Trader in Review

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