Sunday, June 12, 2011

iPhone Game Review: Galaga 30th Collection

I used to review mobile and iPhone games for IGN for a few years and it's something I've been wanting to get back into. So why not continue that on my blog? My first review is for Galaga 30th Collection, a fun new way to play some old school arcade classics.

One reason I love the iPhone is I'm able to play a lot of classic games that ate all of my quarters when I was a kid. One of those games was Galaga, the sequel to the 1979 hit Galaxian. If you've never played Galaxian or Galaga, the idea is simple – shoot all of the enemies in every stage before they shoot you.

Namco Bandai has released the Galaga 30th Collection with remakes of all four popular Galaga titles. Galaxian, Galaga, Gaplus (or Galaga 3) and Galaga '88 are now available on your iPhone and iPad with some great new features.

The initial download is free as is the ability to play Galaxian, but if you want to play the other three titles you're going to have to pay for it. Rounding up, Galaga will run you $2, Gaplus $3 and Galaga '88 $4. You can single purchase all of them at a $2 discounted price which is something I should have done. I guess I like to waste money.

Each game in the collection has new graphics and touch controls. Gameplay is exactly as you remember it. You start with three ships and depending on the game you're playing, you can have your ship get captured in the hopes that you can free it for double the firepower. Just don't shoot your captured ship or you'll have wasted that life. The game now features rapid fire, something that is available in modded ROM boards in certain Galaga machines, should you actually be able to locate one anywhere. I know this is a re-imagining of the series but I'm a bit disappointed that the retro graphics weren't an option.

(I'm still working on framerates when I record these games. Bear with me!)

A new feature for this 30th collection is the ability to upgrade your fighter. During gameplay you earn Galaga points which can be spent in the shop. You can purchase anything from extra fighters to a larger shot inventory. Depending on the game you're playing you can purchase power ups like the Xandra Spear, Triple Fighter, Wonder Typhoon or Apollo Blast. You can also purchase game skins which I thought was pretty cool. Items marked as (consumable) are single use only. You earn points rather quickly so it won't take you too long to build up enough to purchase items.

Graphics are bright and colorful. The game looks fantastic on the iPhone 4's screen and attacking aliens and their annoying bullets are easy to see. Load times are short and while I appreciate the game's cool new opening intro movie, it isn't necessary, making the game a whopping 135 MB download. Wish there was a way to exclude that.

The game also features a Score Attack mode where you try and beat as many enemies as you can within the given time limit. Use the Game Center to upload your high scores and share them through social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. There are also numerous achievements that can be unlocked, seven pages to be exact, so unlocking all of them will take a while.

There are three different control schemes and each one works rather well. Choose from dragging your icon on the bottom of the screen to move your ship with an auto-fire option, drag your icon and press the screen to fire, or use the old joystick/button combo that you remember from the arcade machine. The controls are rather smooth and with such a nice framerate you'll only have yourself to blame if you die. If the new HUD display bothers you, you can always turn it off in the options menu. The menu itself is very user friendly with nice in game instructions and help screens.

I was really surprised by Galaga 30th Collection. The graphics and sound effects are great, there's a lot of replay value with the achievements and Shop items, and the Score Attack mode is great for old school high score freaks like me. I think the price is a bit steep for such older titles but the extra few bucks are worth spending for the fun you'll be having.


Great graphics
Fresh look at four fun arcade classics
Lots of replay value
Excellent touch controls


Price is a little steep
No retro graphics option

Guapo Game Score: 9/10