Saturday, April 11, 2009

Galaga Remix. ($5.99, version 1.0.0)

iTunes Link.

The iDevices seem to attract retro goodness.  Everything from Pac-Man to the complete Wolfenstein.  Galaga is no exception, and Namco brings us two game modes - Galaga Remix, and the original Galaga.

When you first start the app, you get two intro screens and then a title screen.  Tapping on the title screen brings you to the game mode screen - Galaga, and Galaga Remix, which is the same gameplay with better graphics.

Galaga has a retro feel.  The graphics are pixelated and the screen has the control scheme at the bottom and on top has a menu, some unintelligible lettering in the middle, and number of ships remainingon the upper right.  On the lower right there's a "medal" (at least it looks like a medal) per level to indicate what level you're on.  There's also your score and the top score.  Tapping menu before the game begins gives you a few options:  Start Game, Options, Help, Rankings, and More Namco Games.  Thre's also a little u-turn arrow that returns you to the game mode screen.  Help includes How To Play, some tips on Fighter Unification, more Options, and About the developer.  The Options entry here explains the options available in the previous menu.

In Options, you can select from 2 to 5 lives, how many points are needed to add an extra life, you can change the control type, and you can turn special effects on and off.  There is no music in this game, just special effects including beeping and swooshing.  There are three control t ypes.  The first one puts left and right arrow keys on the bottom left of the screen and a fire button on the bottom right of the screen.  Slider puts a sliding bat at the bottom center of the screen to slide the ship left and right and you touch the screen to fire.  The third control uses the accelerometer and you move the ship by tilting the device left and right.

 You fire by pressing the fire button on the bottom right.  I found the slider to be the most responsive followed by the arrows and finally the accelerometer.  I found I had to tilt it quite a bit to move the ship.  Maybe calibration and sensitivity options would help.

Something disappointing is that none of the control options have autofire.

 You will have to press the screen or fire button Every. Single. Time. you want to fire, which is cumbersome.  They more than made up for this by allowing you to jump to the last unfinished level without having to start over from scratch every single time.

During play, the menu key allows you to Continue, Change Control Type, access Help, and Quit Game (which confirms whether you really do want to quit).

While Galaga is played holding the iDevice vertically, Galaga Remix is played while holding the iDevice horizontally.  The Main Menu includes Start Game, Free Play, Options, Help, Rankings, and More Namco Games.  The last four are the same as in Galaga except for the ability to turn background music on and off, as Galaga Remix has  some cool Star Wars-sy music.  There's also three difficulty levels to choose from.  The in-game menu is the same.

Galaga Remix seems to have more enemies.  The screen has the menu button, hi-score, current score, and level on the right, and the control scheme on the bottom  There's animated backgrounds also and falling asteroids (that don't do anything to the ship).  The sound effects are the same.

Galaga Remix DOES have autofire.  This makes it a lot more fun to play than the regular Galaga.  When you die, you get a choice of starting from scratch or continuing at the last unfinished level.  Free play lets you play any level you have unlocked in the regular game, including the first unfinished one.

We now get to the issue of price.  At $6, this is a pretty pricey app.

One curious feature of Galaga Remix is that the enemies don't fire at you, they throw themselves at you, kamikaze-style. As long as you can avoid the ship themselves, you're good to go. In a way this may make the game more challenging because the ships themselves are bigger than the lasers they shoot.

 The Nintendo DS has Namco Museum, which can be found for around $20 and includes Pac-Man, Galaga, Xevious, Dig Dug II, Galaxian, Mappy, The Tower of Druaga, and Pac-Man Vs.  That's about $2.50 per game.  The experience is a lot better on the iDevices, especially the slider control scheme.  Some of us also remember how we had to pay 25 cents to play just one game of Galaga.  For those who liked the game, it'll be worth it, as it's a great new experience and has the classic mode for those who don't like reinventions.  If you've never played it, try to find a free flash game on-line that has the same gameplay of ship on the bottom shooting enemies on top and see if you like that kind of game before getting this one.

1 comment:

  1. another rock solid review
    could you possibly add a bottom line?