Developer: ezone.com
Price: $.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★★
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
User Interface Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

There are a large quantity of “tap-to-shoot” games on the App Store, and they all have something in common: they’re mindless, dull affairs. But Galactic Gunner does something extraordinary; it’s challenging, story-based, and most of all, fun.

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The game places you in the role of a futuristic gunner for the human forces. After a few training exercises, you are forced into the middle of an epic war between the humans and an alien race known as the Trepidoids. Your captain will do all the steering, so your only role is to take out enemy fighters, turrets, and shields. Luckily, you are rather good at aiming, so whenever you touch the screen your lasers fire in that precise place. Unfortunately for you, it’s not that easy. Your captain will have perform numerous flying stunts to avoid the Trepidoids, so your view is constantly changing. In addition, your wingman (which are supposedly there to help you but more often simply get in the way) constantly block your view and you have to avoid gunning them down. There are also targets that require more than one hit, making fast fingers a must.

Unfortunately, Galactic Gunner only contains six levels, the first two of which are training exercises (but still fun nonetheless). However, these levels are all fairly long. Failing a level (taking too much damage) is fairly hard to do, but to unlock the next level, you need to achieve a certain score, which is based on both targets destroyed and accuracy (making screen mashing impossible). For the later levels, the score benchmarks are fairly high, so you will probably have to play through most levels more than once. By achieving a certain score on the last level, you can unlock survival mode. However, survival mode simply doesn’t hold the magic of the other levels, and I would rather replay those instead. There are also fifteen medals or ranks to achieve that are based on your lifetime score. An online scoreboard would be a welcome addition and would perhaps add more replayability, but it i by no means a glaring omission.
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Galactic Gunner truly shines in the graphics and sounds department. Spectacularly cinematic levels are truly immersive, and one short cut scene at the end of the last level was so intense that I found myself on the edge of my seat. The background music perfectly suits the game, and sound effects are nice. The game is rather dependent on voice acting, and Galactic Gunner actually delivers in this regard. The voice acting proves that Galactic Gunner doesn’t take itself too seriously and adds a welcome element of humor to the game. The commander, who does most of the talking, has an Australian accent and uses Australian slang, which I found pretty funny. The Trepidoids have their share of funny moments as well. I actually laughed out loud when they said in a robotic voice:”Is that all you’ve got” and “Trepidoids are the greatest.”

While it lasts, Galactic Gunner is a supremely enjoyable game. It is short at only six levels, but with its cinematic breathtaking action, Galactic Gunner is a great buy at only $.99.

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