Developer: Moonfish Software Limited
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.1.1
App Reviewed on: iPad 3

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Pretty games usually make me nervous. It’s not that I dislike good looking visuals, I’ve just played too many titles that put all their effort into the graphics. And nothing else. Galactic Phantasy Prelude is obviously a good looking game, so naturally I was a bit concerned about what actually playing it would be like. Turns out it’s not as bad as I’d feared.

Galactic Phantasy Prelude has a bit of an abrupt beginning. A couple of orphans get sick of life at the orphanage (the space orphanage) and decide to hijack a ship to get the heck out of Dodge (space Dodge). Then they become pirates because pirates are apparently awesome. Gameplay is split across a few major elements; with players guiding their flagship between several star systems and jumpgates with a virtual stick, tapping their way through menu after menu in one of the many stations, and combat handled via virtual stick and buttons. Of course there’s also an accelerometer option if preferred.

As I’ve said, Galactic Phantasy Prelude is a good looking game. The voice acting is also surprisingly decent, although the delivery falters in a few places and the script is rather groan inducing. It also features a fair amount of customizable ships and all manner of parts to install to stave of death by decompression. And anyone who’s played the original (and complained about the lack of actual combat) should be thrilled to know that ship-to-ship fighting is interactive this time. It’s a little on the simple side, but being able to increase the size of the aiming reticule by sacrificing maneuverability adds a surprising amount of strategy to the dog fighting.

Even with all the general improvements over the first game, Galactic Phantasy Prelude still manages to falter quite a bit thanks to the interface. Oh it’s functional enough, but it also omits a ton of options that most modern gamers take for granted. For example, comparing just about anything in the shop (gear, ships, etc) to what’s currently equipped is a pain and requires players to sift through multiple menus rather than simply seeing side-by-side statistics. Trying to build a ship is similarly irritating as the requirements aren’t emphasized unless an attempt is made to actually construct one. My experience involved gathering cash, finding out I need specific minerals, buying them, getting more cash, finding out I need the specific ship’s blueprint, then attempting to build a ship I did have the blueprint for, and finding out I needed more minerals. After that I needed a stiff drink.

Galactic Phantasy Prelude is still a pretty fun game, and it’s a major improvement over Galaxy Pirate Adventure in just about every way imaginable, it can just be a bit of a chore to complete certain tasks. And not thanks to the difficulty but some rather questionable design choices.


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