With its use of well-established tropes like endless flying and sci-fi space shooting, the upcoming Galaxy Dash: Race to the Outer Run most likely won’t confound expectations. However, with its robust amount of opportunities for fun player interactions it might just exceed them. We check out this new great space coaster in the latest edition of It Came From Canada!
Galaxy Dash has the typical infinite runner set-up: players control a ship and try to fly out as far as possible, hopping between the three lanes to avoid enemies and obstacles. But from that familiar framework, the game then introduces a lot of interesting small details that add up to something greater. For starters, players can shoot lasers to bring down bogeys or bust open gem-filled asteroids. However, the weapons need recharging so players must plan their shots carefully. Part of that includes paying attention to the snaking nature of the lanes. Shots always go out straight, but players themselves will be at the whim of their looping path. The way larger deadly asteroids casually intersect also adds to the cool feeling of naturalism.
But players’ options aren’t limited to pure offense. In between rounds, they can upgrade various aspects of their ship or purchase new models. One upgrade path lets players increase the speed of their shield, which charges throughout each run and can soak up a single hit. Or players can choose to upgrade their cargo. Each run is littered with crates – some lying out in the open and others attached to special enemies. Depending on their capacity, players can pick up these boxes and earn extra points by carrying them to the checkpoint outpost separating each section. Finally, players can recruit allies who leave special power-ups for them to find, like deadly double lasers. Tying Galaxy Dash‘s surprising amount of gameplay choices together is the clean, colorful art style. What looks to be cel-shading gives beautiful depth to images that could’ve seemed flat otherwise.
Again, Galaxy Dash won’t feel like some radically innovative experience once it fully launches – it does things players have seen before. However, it’s hard not to appreciate how well and how intelligently it executes those familiar ideas.
Sentenced to an eternity in suspended animation for a heinous crime he may or may not have committed, the man known as “Dangerous” is woken up a century later and unceremoniously tossed back into the fray. Actions performed and choices made will help determine the war criminal’s ultimate fate. Where he goes and who he becomes is largely up to the player, but savior or super-villain, there’s bound to be lots and lots of shooting and exploration.
The Gameplay Dangerous features a massive universe to explore with plenty of star systems – each with their own denizens, commodities, resident dangers, and missions spanning through each of them. Navigation and combat can be handled via manual tilt/virtual stick controls, but things are at their best when using the contextual button commands. Orders can be issued with a tap or two, and most variables (i.e. distance to target) can be adjusted using a simple slider. Experience can be used to purchase and upgrade a variety of useful skills, and any spoils can be re-appropriated or sold in order to purchase better ships, gear, or modifications.
How does it Compare?
While Dangerous may have its roots firmly planted in the space adventure sims of old, the rest of it is very much reaching for the now. The steady pacing, wealth of customizations by way of skills and equipment, huge environment to explore, and especially the almost hands-free approach to performing actions are very reminiscent of the “cult hit” MMO juggernaut EVE Online. In fact, the only things missing – aside from the super-pretty textures – are the other human players and the wacky economy. For all intents and purposes, Dangerous is indeed a single-player EVE Online, and personally I’m inclined to believe that’s a very good thing.
Dangerous did go through some growing pains. The interface, while still not all that pretty, was a horrific mess after the initial release and most of the menus were nearly impossible to read on an iPhone due to size and formatting issues. However, all of the major gripes that have had a noticeable effect on the gameplay have since been addressed. Now Dangerous is every bit the giant space sim it was meant to be, and every bit a Console-Quality iOS Game.
*NOTE: “Console-quality” refers to the quality of the experience, not just the graphics. This is about the depth of gameplay, content, and in some cases how accurately it portrays the ideals of its console counterpart.*
It isn’t much of a surprise to see that Galaxy on Fire 2, one of the App Store’s most notable space adventures, is going to be getting a second in-game add-on pack. Let’s face it, the game is excellent and the added content from Valkyrie was more than welcome. FishLabs deciding to follow it up with a second batch of new things was only natural. Thus we have (or will have, really) Supernova.
Supernova is set to pick up right after the events of Valkyrie. Keith is taking it easy at the Deep Science space station, but it’s not long before another galactic peril makes itself known. The entire Mido sector suddenly finds itself threatened with annihilation as a supernova “of unknown origin” appears. Keith being Keith, he decides to get involved. The entire adventure is said to last “at least twice as long” as the previous add-on, with promises of 10 hours of gameplay, new mission types, more ships and more story.
Dates and pricing aren’t available at the moment, but it’s probably safe to assume it’ll cost about as much as Valkyrie ($4.99) and will be out sometime in the second quarter of this year. Be sure to keep a look out for release blurbs.
It’s one thing for slimy, slobbering aliens to go around stealing livestock. It’s something else entirely when they start pilfering cute little kitties. That’s crossing a line. On the other side of that line is a vengeance-fueled engine of mayhem and destruction hell-bent on recovering his lost friend while making his antagonizers wish they were never born. Or spawned. Or whatever the heck aliens do to reproduce. And his name is Dum Dum.
Gamelion has recently announced Monster Shooter, a soon to be released twin-stick shooter. Players will blast their way through all sorts of alien scum on three distinct worlds, featuring a humorous story and lots and lots of shooting. If they grow tired of the plot or structured level progression, there’s also a Survival Mode to put their skills to the test. And yes, the developers have mentioned that they’re already working on additional content which will be released as free updates in the future.
There’s no exact date for Monster Shooter‘s release just yet, but it should be out sometime this month. “… Within the next few weeks,” is the best I’ve got at the moment. Still, it looks funny and sounds entertaining. That combined with a non-existent price (read: it’s going to be free) makes it absolutely worth an inquisitive glance or two. Once it finally gets here, of course.
Okay, I’m obviously kidding but the inclusion of Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum wouldn’t be all that out of place in Escape to Earth. Someone’s been captured by aliens, then somehow miraculously manages to escape their captors and hijack a ship. The only problem is they have to get out of the mothership before they can taste real freedom. Or smoke those cigars. Last Independence Day reference, I promise.
So players will find themselves in control of yet another space-faring vessel, however things aren’t as derivative as they might initially seem. It’s true that they’ll have to blast away at many an aggressive extra-terrestrial along the way, but Escape to Earth is about more than just blowing stuff up. In addition to the other-worldly armaments (i.e. a laser and missiles), players also have access to a tractor beam and “repulser” which are needed to solve a number of physics-based environmental puzzles. So if they ever want to see Earth again, they’ll have to use both their brain and their trigger fingers.
Those interested in fighting (and puzzling) their way through this interstellar labyrinth can do so right now. Escape to Earth is already on the App Store, and it can be had for the low/standard price of one dollar.
A very good question. I suppose it would have to be in order to face-off against the evil Shogun Youhatsu and avenge my master. Problem is, the crafty son-of-a-gun has positioned an entire armada of battle fortresses along the way. On the one hand it means a lot of work in order to reach the badguy. On the other, it means a string of boss battles. And who doesn’t love a good boss battle?
Battlefortress uses an interesting arcade-inspired freemium model, allowing users to purchase Continues with real money. Of course, they can also be earned in-game through achievements and high scores. So skilled space samurai fighter pilots can take down the nasty Shogun without paying a cent, whereas anyone lacking reflexes (but not the drive to win) can even the scales with cash. Yup, sounds about right.
Battlefortress is out now and it’s free. What’s the harm in giving it a look-see?
rRootage Online HD has given shmup fans quite a bit of love. It’s got lots of shooting, plenty of resulting explosions and a grand total of 160 stages. There are four different game modes included, giving players four different ways to experience the bullet-hell mayhem. It also features the expectant online high scores and, of course, achievements.
Until recently, this was an experience only afforded to iPhone users. Now, after the new 1.3.0 release, iPad users can get in on the action. Yes, rRootage Online HD is indeed a universal app now.
Since I don’t own an iPad myself I can’t really say much of the experience on the larger device, but I imagine the bigger screen makes spotting those pesky enemy projectiles a bit easier. Regardless, it’s nice to see rRootage Online HD getting even more love. It’s bound to please iPad using shmup fans who’ve might have missed it the first time around.
Red Nova, the space shooter released back in December 2010, has gotten a massive new update that brings an entirely new mode to the game. While the basic gameplay mechanics in Episode 2 – Mercy are the same as in Episode 1, the objective is entirely different. The player is in a starfield with the alien mothership and a fleet of disabled ships along with the flagship Red Nova. The goal is to rescue the people on the disabled ships and to ferry them back to the Red Nova so that the ship so that they can escape. Meanwhile, the alien mothership is launching fighters that will attack both the player and the defenseless ships. The player is the only thing that stands between survival and failure.
The game takes place in two waves: for 60 seconds, the mothership launches their forces, including a large explosive device that will heavily damage the ships unless the player takes it out first. Then, for 90 seconds the mothership recharges, which gives the player time to take out any enemy forces left over, and to start picking up people from the deactivated ships and delivering them to safety at the Red Nova. The goal of the game is to try and rescue as many people as possible without dying.
This is almost a completely different game from Episode 1; whereas that was about short-term survival and making one frenzied last stand, this is more of an endurance run. The enemies not always targeting the player means that survival is a bit easier, and damage tends to accumulate over a longer period of time. However, there’s a lot more to deal with in Episode 2, and new strategies to employ. Do players use their energy to repair their shields or to take out enemies that are assaulting the fleet? Do players start picking up people from nearby ships, or travel to the further outreaches to pick up people, only returning them on the next recharging phase? If players stray too far from the mothership, then they risk not getting back to there before the enemies become too spread out. It’s an intense experience, one that plays familiarly but in reality is quite unlike what came before it.
As promised back when developer Colin Walsh was on The Portable Podcast, Red Nova: Episode 2 – Mercy is now available as a free update to current Red Nova owners. As well, the bulky but tough ST-10 Raven that players use in Episode 2 is now playable in Episode 1.