Game review: Galaxy On Fire 2 – iPhone and iPod Touch

Galaxy on fire 2 for iPhone and iPod Touch

Super sequel Galaxy on fire 2 lands on planet App Store and immediately claims the space combat/trading territory as its own.

Galaxy on fire 2 is about as far removed from the real-life daily grind as it’s possible to get, making it perfect to play as a distraction during commutes. it transports the player to a sci-fi world far, far away for an epic quest which combines trading, combat and adventure.

Rising quickly to become captain of the fleet in its genre, Galaxy on fire 2 is one of the games of the year for iPhone and iPod Touch.

The game puts the player in the role of Keith Maxwell, a mercenary who after a malfunction with his ship is transported across the galaxy and 35 years into the future. Trying to get back to familiar territory, Keith becomes embroiled in a storyline involving several factions and the hostile Voids species.

Various missions push the plot forward but perhaps the biggest fun is derived from the many side quests and jobs you can take on along the way. there is a great variety of activities to spend time on, including hunting pirates, clearing space junk and mining asteroids. The game has an impressive sense of scale, with 20 solar systems and 100 space stations to visit.

Within each area is a space lounge where you can make contacts and find work to boost your finances. you can also gain money through the game’s in-depth commerce system in which more than 170 goods can be traded. Cash earned through selling products and completing tasks can be used for upgrading from the low-spec ship you start out with to one of the other 30-plus space craft in the game. Ships can be improved with a wide range of weapons and equipment.

Developer Fishlabs says there is 10 hours of play in Galaxy on fire 2 but with so much to do I reckon getting anywhere near completing everything within it would take much longer.

You can be good or bad, you can be a trader or a fighter, you can focus on only story missions or only freelance quests or both – the course you take through the game is up to you. It’s not often on mobile platforms that a game with this much scope comes along.

Two control methods are available, one which uses the accelerometer for moving your ship around and the other which uses a virtual stick. Both methods use taps of virtual buttons to perform actions such as firing weapons and changing camera view. I’ve found the tilt controls much easier to get on with, but it’s a case of personal preference as both work OK.

Galaxy on fire 2 has taken a year to develop, and it shows, especially in the sumptuous visuals. this galaxy looks gorgeous, with a spacescape of planets, bases and other eye candy. Space is not a bleak or dark place – there are some lovely colours and eye-catching explosive effects aplenty. Switching to the free camera mode really shows off the game’s cinematic qualities as you can swipe and pinch to view what’s going on from any angle.

The music sounds more laid-back and ambient than the usual epic orchestral soundtracks which accompany sci-fi games, and for me this does a better job of conveying the mood of outer space (not that I’ve ever been!). Voice dialogue is better than average and overall the sounds are very good, giving the game an extra layer of quality.

I enjoyed the first GoF game last year but didn’t stick with it due to some control and difficulty issues. These have mostly been sorted out in the new game, with the sequel feeling altogether more refined.

Faults are hard to find so I’ll mention a couple of minor issues I’ve personally had. During combat, targeting foes is straightforward but avoiding enemy fire can be difficult. there doesn’t seem to be a way to evade a barrage of hits once an enemy has you in sight. there are no options for dodging, rolling, flipping or to generally avoid taking damage, such as by changing speed. I’ve also found it difficult sometimes remembering what I’m supposed to be doing on quests. Instructions are given quite quickly and once I’ve set off I’ve found it’s not always clear where I need to go or what I need to do.

These are small complaints in an otherwise excellent game, which draws inspiration from iconic 80s space trading title Elite.

Galaxy on fire 2 does what any good sequel needs to do, namely be better than the original. But it goes beyond this by really raising the bar for space games as well as being one of the most enjoyable and absorbing games available for iPhone and iPod Touch.

Verdict: 9 out of 10 – Super sequel Galaxy on fire 2 lands on planet App Store and immediately claims the space combat/trading territory as its own.

Game review: Galaxy On Fire 2 – iPhone and iPod Touch

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