App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore is the latest installment in Fishlabs' space shooter series, and boy oh boy does it look nice. Unfortunately though, this entry in the series takes the final frontier and boils it down to a series of repetitive, boxed-in missions that make it hard to enjoy.
The setup of Manticore is pretty straightforward. You play as a fighter pilot as part of Manticore, a mercenary group that operates in the Neox Sector of space. This place is full of criminals, so it's your job to take on contracts to hunt them down, all while upgrading and buying new ships along the way.
In practice, this means repeatedly taking on one of a handful of pretty rote “Contract Missions” until you find enough intel and earn enough currency to take on these targets. To be fair, this structure does sound quite a bit like what a mercenary space pilot's job might actually seem like, but as a game, it's not the most exciting structure in the galaxy.
When you've selected a contract, you then get to pick you ship, a few friends, and blast off to the mission area. Almost every mission results in some form of dogfighting, and Manticore presents its action in a way that makes it feel intense, though the execution of any given mission seems a little too simple.
To control your ship in Manticore, you use one thumb on the left side of the screen to steer your ship and the other on the right side to use your throttle and do dodging maneuvers. All shooting in Manticore is handled automatically.
A simple control scheme like this would come in handy when playing a game with a sharp difficulty curve, but Manticore is not a particularly hard game. Even when taking on missions out of my ship's power ranking, I never once felt in danger of failing.
Repetition and ease aside, the biggest sticking point I have with Manticore is that it doesn't really feel like a space game. Every mission takes place in a little, boxed-in shooting gallery and the rest of the game is entirely menu-based.
I could look past some of Manticore's other issues if I at least felt like I could explore and choose how I went about making my mark on the galaxy. Unfortunately though, I just feel like I'm just playing the same few levels over and over again without much to look forward to.
The bottom line
Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore is a great-looking shooting gallery with a lot of ways you can grind out progression. If that's what you're into, this game may be for you. If you were looking for a more open-ended space game that felt challenging and deep, you will not find what you're looking for here.