Galaga Wars review
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Galaga Wars review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on November 5th, 2016
Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: NOT SO DEEP SPACE
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Bandai Namco's latest iteration of Galaga a lot of flash with precious little substance.

Developer: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Europe

Price: Free
Version: 2.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2

Graphics/Sound Rating: starstarstarstarstar
User Interface Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar

Galaga Wars is a new take on the Galaga formula that has players touching and dragging their finger around the screen to shoot aliens and avoid being hit. The game looks really great, but beyond that, there's very little to this free-to-play arcade game.

Arcade action

Galaga Wars takes the classic shoot em' up format of the original Galaga games and makes it a bit more mobile ready. Its tap-and-drag control scheme allows you to play the whole game one-handed. Even pausing the game is as simple as letting up your finger from the screen. This, combined with the bright, colorful, and glowing visuals makes the whole package feels really slick on first blush.

To try and keep it feel like Galaga, Galaga Wars features a lot of familiar feeling enemies, sounds, and mechanics from the old games. That said, a lot of these things don't behave in the way you can expect, which could be a problem if you're a Galaga purist.


In the streamlining of Galaga Wars's gameplay, the experience ends up feeling thin. This isn't necessarily unusual or bad for mobile games, but in this case, it's easy to see parts of Galaga Wars that could be adjusted to make the experience feel deeper.

Unlike previous titles in the series, for example, there is no way to get your ship captured in Galaga Wars. There are still “Boss Galaga” enemies that you can kill to claim a second ship and double your firepower, but this now happens at specific points of levels instead of at a time strategically determined by the player. This is also true of power ups, which are randomized drops that also activate automatically, making them impossible to be used strategically.

This would be somewhat excusable if Galaga Wars made more design choices to make it more playable as the light action game it is, but the game's bright background and lack of a relative-touch control scheme make the basic action of dodging enemies and shooting them harder than it should be.

The worst ad-versary

To make matters worse for Galaga Wars, its free-to-play scheme isn't particularly elegant. At almost every turn, Bandai Namco tries to serve ads and gate progress for players.

There are, of course, currencies in the game that you earn slowly over time, but there's also ads served between rounds, an option to watch an ad to continue, an offer to view an ad to double earned rewards, and the ability to warp to new areas by (you guessed it!) watching an ad.

You can opt to make a purchase to get rid of the ads in Galaga Wars, but even then, ship upgrades take time to install and additional ships can only be unlocked by purchase. This makes the whole free-to-play experience of Galaga Wars feel like an ad-riddled demo and the paid experience only slightly less bothersome.

The bottom line

The gameplay of Galaga Wars is just too thin to support the layers of free-to-play systems stacked on top of it. If it was a more meaningful take on Galaga or more elegant in its monetization scheme, Galaga Wars would be a much better game.

iPhone Screenshots

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iPad Screenshots

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