The Galaxy is waiting for you
Elite. Now there is a name many old gamers will instantly recognise. It’s one of the games that have been set on a pedestal as the pinnacle of early gaming and thus far nothing has come close to replicating it. Galaxy On Fire 2 doesn’t quite do that, but saying this is as close as anyone has come to providing the same experience on the iPhone is not an understatement.
The original Galaxy On Fire game saw Keith T. Maxwell become a mercenary after retiring from a space combat division. The game was one of the best looking for its time and the scope of the game world was incredible. Galaxy On Fire 2 builds on this and then adds more, much more.
At the start of the game Keith somehow manages to create a time-space distortion that flings him and his broken ship to the other side of the galaxy. His mission is now to get home but with a broken ship and no money he finds himself working for a slave driving miner. After a run in with pirates, our hero has a way out and some money to continue his journey home.
How long he takes to get home will depend on whether you get sucked in to the side missions on the way which, if you’re anything like me, you probably will. Unlike the first game there is a lot more emphasis on trading at space stations and picking up loot from destroyed enemy ships (hence the Elite reference). You can make enemies and friends and even bridge the divide between different races, it’s more of a space RPG than a combat game and this may put some people off, but it’s the sort of game that so far has been lacking on the app store.
The scope of the game is pretty amazing, with 30 odd star systems on offer and planets within those it seems like an endless task to find the way home, though one that the majority of space strategy fans will no doubt enjoy. With a ton of different ships to buy and endless weapons and upgrades there’s no shortage of customisation.
Better weapons are essential to improve combat, one of the only weak points of the game. With no mode of acceleration and braking, dogfights are made much harder than a space shooter game like Star Battalion, but by giving you a lack of fine control they become more strategic than the average shooter and steer you towards a different sort of mission, away from the simple blasting of alien hordes.
The presentation has been improved 100% since the first game. All the cut scenes have voice actors, a staggering feat for an iPhone game. Ok, so some of them may sound corny but to me it was more enduring, a bit like a well loved B-movie. It’s still better than reading reams of text. Graphically the new visuals and retina display support provide some wonderful vistas as you head to distant blue and white planets across vast asteroid belts. The fact that earlier iPhones don’t suffer too much under the weight of the huge game world is a wonder in itself, but as usual it’s best played on an iPhone 4 or new iPod Touch to get the most out of the game.
Galaxy On Fire 2 is a game that pushes the format further than ever before. Only the slight control issues and a few odd manoeuvres from the auto-pilot prevent this from becoming a classic. If you fancy the idea of space trading in a dangerous sky or were a fan of Elite or Frontier then Galaxy on Fire 2 comes highly recommended.
- Sound: 8
- Graphics: 9
- Gameplay: 9
- Longevity: 9
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