Galaga Wars Review

Galaga Wars Review

Nov 14, 2016

Galaga Wars is an old-school experience built for a mobile generation.

Based on the eponymous arcade hit from decades ago, this one recreates a space shooter invasion scenario, and allows folks to partake of it on our varied smartdevices.

Definitely worth a look. On paper, at least.

It plays in portrait, and utilizes brazenly expressive graphics that pop and sizzle… almost literally. The player uses a continuous finger gesture to guide the ever-shooting spaceship as it battles a futuristic cadre of lethal, bug-shaped enemy that is eager to destroy the last vestiges of humanity.galaga3

It boils down to a war of attrition. The main job is to take out the enemy craft, which dive and swoop in intricately adventurous motions, sometimes while shooting. So, one must position the craft to take out the enemy, while avoiding run ending/delaying enemy fire. As the game goes on, the enemy craft get craftier, as does the fire, and the bosses add an interesting wrinkle.

Better stuff can be purchased in the app.

It’s simply laid forth, so much so that one need not have played the original to like it; indeed, its roots as an arcade space shooter allow it to retain an intuitive feel that make it especially easy to get into and enjoy. The microtransactions, while understandable, do blunt the upgrade experience; one almost wishes that coin accumulation, however prolonged, were an option with regards to getting better craft and attributes.

The control mechanism can be an obstacle sometimes, but that is a reality of games if this sort that use gestures. What one might lose in the area of complete view of the playing area might be gained in accuracy of control.

All in all, at first play, it comes across as a competent port, and it doesn’t rely too much on nostalgia to make its presence felt.

Just as well, because the blast to the past can then be an added benefit.

Sector Strike Review

Sector Strike Review

Dec 11, 2012

Sector Strike is a space shooter that touches the future, with weapons and enemies to match. This delightful slide scroller comes in from Clapfoot, which means the bar is high; Clapfoot tends to push out visually appealing titles, so I was a little eager going in.

The graphics were bright and inviting, with a standard metallic track. The developer did a good job with the animations, making the ships look less like cartoons and somewhat like menacing agents of destruction. Controls were basically my index finger.

As for the gameplay, it started hot and heavy, with enemy spacecraft coming right at me from my right. The waves were varied, with straight lines and staggered sets. Of crucial concern were the unexpected diving sorties, which caused havoc, as the enemy craft destroyed me on contact (in addition to the enemy fire). The enemy fire was sneaky; I was caught more than once by a slow projectile while being distracted by the kamikaze drones. My ship did react well to my finger, so quick reflexes helped with success.

Shooting the enemy craft sometimes left power-ups, and these power-ups were to be coveted. Going from basic fire to torpedoes, for instance, was a nice enhancements (the game boasts twenty of such enhancements). I also liked the shields, as they did extend my flying runs. Taking risks had pros and associated disadvantages: the goodies left behind sometimes tempted me to fly forward to retrieve, but that was dangerous, as ships flying in from off-screen were hard to react to. Such on-the-fly decision-making is what makes this game fun. The in-app store accepted coins and/or real cash.

Progress was based on leveling up, mostly accomplished by kills, so avoiding enemy craft was not necessarily always the best strategy.

Socially, the game offered sharing with Facebook, Twitter and G+, which is good, because this is goodness some people might like to share.

A Space Shooter For Free Review

A Space Shooter For Free Review

Sep 23, 2011

From the strange and unusual intro movie, I get the impression that Commander P. Jefferson is kind of a jerk. I also get the impression that that’s exactly the impression I’m supposed to get. And is Commander supposed to be his rank or his first name? Ambiguous personality and naming quirks aside, one thing we can be sure of is that Commander P. Jefferson hates aliens, but he loves shooting them in the face. And cursing. He’s really into cursing.

With a name like A Space Shooter For Free, it would be perfectly acceptable to expect this to be a real-time strategy game with puzzle elements. However, that’s not what it is. Surprisingly, A Space Shooter For Free is a space shooter that is, get this, free. Ah, but the ironic twist is that while the game is free, you’re only getting part of it. The full game is a US$0.99 add-on that you purchase in-game. And to be brutally honest, you’re going to want to purchase it if you hope to eke out more than about an hour or so worth of play time. The full game includes a survival mode, more levels, more bosses, more weapons and, well, more.

Featuring some down-home, old school space shootin’, you can expect quite a challenge ahead of you. Enemies come from every direction and have a variety of attacks. Ships will form lines around you, trapping you in as they bombard you with weapons’ fire. You’ll have to avoid laser traps, dodge kamikazes, and blast asteroids as they swarm and fill your screen. The game features non-linear progression, meaning you can jump into any level you wish, but you should really just stick with the levels you can handle until you can purchase weapon and ship upgrades. I found that, until I had collected enough fragments to spend on upgrades, some levels were just way too hard. Do the words “bullet hell” mean anything to you?

The controls are a little odd. Don’t go looking for a directional pad or a “fire” button because you won’t find them. You control your ship by touching the screen and dragging the ship to where you want it to go, to any point on the screen. The ship fires automatically, but it only fires while you are touching the screen.

While this control scheme seems like a natural fit for a touch-based device and gives your ship a level of agility you couldn’t get from a directional pad, call me old fashioned, but I miss the d-pad. Your mileage may vary.

What I got from A Space Shooter For Free was a fun, visually pleasing arcade shooter that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The jokes can be half-baked at times, becoming increasingly worse the more you hear them, but it means well. Thankfully, the gameplay is there to back it up with hundreds of aliens to shoot, genuinely tough bosses to fight and cool upgrades to purchase.