iphone game review: Galaxy on Fire 2

People that know me know that I’m a huge fan of the old space sims from Elite all the way until Freelancer. But after Freelancer there hasn’t really been any great accessible space sim that I can recall. That is until this game. If someone told me a few years ago that the revival of space sims will be on my phone, I’d have slapped him. But now it’s true, I really can’t wait for what else these dev’s got coming.

For people that been gaming on java phones pre iphone days, they may have heard of the company Fishlabs. They make really amazing looking java games with full 3d graphics. Now they are porting a lot of them to iphone with completely redone graphics and controls. The graphics are as equally as amazing on iphone comparatively as they were on java phones. They look especially well on a retina display device. Detailed spaceships, vast planets in the backgrounds, really good special effects, and at a really smooth framerate. I heard it also works well on other

note: These pics were taken using the ingame screen capture.

So ya, now your done oozing over these awesome pics, now let’s get into the actual game. If you played any space sims, you have a good picture what ya getting into. There is a pretty light story mode, which is fully voice acted which is pretty rare for an iphone game. The game also advertises over 100 different types of space stations each with a different gorgeously painted planet in the background (which is kinda sad, because I’d love planetary landing, but remember this is essentially just a java game). The main story missions are varied and to the point, but it’s pretty short. Luckily that isn’t the major part of this game. There are tons of side missions and over 30 different spacecrafts with different stats. There are also tons of customizable elements with tons of armors, scanners, shields, etc. Not to mention a mining system and a trading system. This game does not cut corners. Now to get to my issues.

For better or worse, the whole universe is random. There is seemingly no correlation about where you can purchase what items, which makes searching for a specific item really frustrating. This doesn’t bode well for a portable game. Another issue is that space combat just isn’t that deep. With no throttle control and only a limited boost, it makes combat fairly stale and more dependent on your gear vs skill.

But those are fairly small issues in a whole. A really awesome part is that Fishlabs are open to all opinions and are really active on their forums. They recently released their first update for this game and addressed many issues that people had additionally to the usual bug fixes. Just check this out:

What’s New in Version 1.0.2

Universal support for iPad will be added in the next update!

–Major bug fixes:–
Fixed a bug where menu buttons became extremely unresponsive on the iPhone 3G
Fixed a bug where resuming the app resulted in unresponsive buttons and rapid progression through the dialogues
Fixed a bug where using the khador drive during the last mission lead to an infinite loop
Fixed a bug where you wouldn’t get the german version of the game when bought via iTunes
Fixed a bug where bronze and silver medals were not correctly forwarded to OpenFeint and GameCenter

–Additional bug fixes:–
Fixed an issue where you would not be able to fire rockets and missiles one after another. Also, the recharge time was not correctly handled.
Fixed a bug where cargo containers sometimes were not removed when a courier mission was cancelled
Fixed a bug where the tractor beam sometimes kept floating around in space after a crate had vanished
Fixed an issue where it was possible to permanently loot a ship once its emp energy was below half
Fixed a bug where a wingmen dialogue played over a mission debriefing dialogue
Fixed a bug where a false dialogue sound was played when Carla or Thomas reminded you of your task
Fixed a bug where the pirates wouldn’t speak their dialogue when a pirate station was discovered
Fixed a bug where container brackets were displayed at the wrong place after destroying a freighter
Fixed an issue where you were not able to rotate around the ship in Free View mode after leaving the action menu
Fixed a bug where explosion planes were sometimes not correctly aligned to the camera
Fixed a bug where a newly created item was not immediately shown in cargo when tapping the ship tab
Fixed the Night Owl model so it only has two missile pods instead of three
Fixed a bug where music wouldn’t start playing when disabled all sounds before
Slightly increased probability of occurence of energy cells
Fixed some minor cosmetic issues

–New features:–
Added spanish, polish and russian language, more to come with the next update
There now is a button that allows you to fast-forward time if the autopilot is active and there are no enemies in sight
You can now change the language from within the game
You can now listen to your iPod music while playing
You can now skip the Space Lounge camera movement
You can now find Void Crystals on Thynome if you “accidently” sold your Khador Drive after finishing the main story
The level cap was raised to 20

You don’t even need to know this game to see that the devs are dedicated to this game.

So yes. I highly recommend this game for people that a little more than a simple puzzle game on their iphone. It’s currently priced at $7 but you can easily get at minimum 10 hours out of this game if you only do the basic story line. It will rise to $10 when the universal update for ipad support comes out later. So pick this up even you own an ipad =)

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