Galaxy on Fire 2 is a PC upscale of the relatively popular mobile game of the same name, in which you get to pilot spaceships through a gloriously wide open galaxy. You can upgrade your ship, buy new ones, and take on risky intergalactic jobs to earn some serious credits. This all sounds great in theory – but does it translate to the slightly bigger screen?
Well, almost. Galaxy on Fire 2 still feels like a mobile game. The graphics might be big and beautiful, and the gameplay might be smooth and satisfying, but it still feels incredibly small. You can glide through space, mine asteroids, and take on pirates all you like but it never feels as fully featured as it should. As such, it feels like more of a petty diversion than a game you can lose yourself in for hours, and the throwaway story only serves to increase that feeling.
You play as pilot Keith T Maxwell, your typical lantern-jawed hero with a serious personality deficit, a man who loses decades of his life in a mysterious hyperspace accident. The story revolves around his confusion as he dodders from mission to mission, completing various degrees of shooting tasks to progress. The story is a seriously poor effort which would be acceptable on the mobile platform, but putting it on PC is like trying to zoom in on a low resolution photograph. It’s blocky and hamfisted, and the best thing about the dialogue is that you can skip it entirely. The writing and voice acting does not match up to the simple fun of drifting through space and blowing stuff up.
So the story’s a little lame but the game makes up for it. There’s a lot of freedom to go out and do what you want, although your options are limited to exploration for the sake of it or mining asteroids for precious minerals, the sheer amount of space there is to do it in is liberating.
The big issue with Galaxy on Fire 2 is just how pointless the move to PC seems. The game was perfectly at home on the mobile platform in terms of scale and it’s much easier to forgive the bad story and sound if you’re too busy marvelling at the shiny graphics and the size of the world in your palm. The game is good – but feels much too mobile to keep your attention for very long sat at a desk.
Space feels appropriately non-linear and it’s awesome to be able to see the planets you’re headed to before you visit them – or more accurately, the space stations above them. Ships are different enough to be able to tell the difference from friend or foe and the radar does an equally excellent job of signposting where you’re headed and what’s trying to kill you. The game looks good but doesn’t do as much visually as it could – anything outside of space feels static and unappealing. The hangar/conversation screens may as well be walls of text for all their charm. They might be unique in some fairly vague ways, but the graphics haven’t received much attention outside of space.
Generic and grating. The voice acting should have just been left out entirely and the dialogue itself should be far more minimal – whenever Keith attempts humour or banter with any of the other characters it just sounds stiff and awkward. It’s like trying to spoon some charm onto a paper plate – soggy and weightless. As for the music, it does the job of filling the audio void, but it’s nothing memorable.
If you can get past the awful story and make good use of the ‘skip’ option when it comes to dialogue, you’ll be able to indulge in some magnificently diverting flight. It’s easy to play but dogfights and exploration still feel exhilarating sometimes, and the level of customisation you can exert upon your ships as they get better and better makes the game feel your own – even if the same progression is probably shared by everyone who plays the game. It feels unique, and that’s good enough. The main flaw is that the game really does not need keyboard and mouse controls – it was fine on the mobile platform. If you have the means to play the Full HD version on a mobile device, then save your money and buy it on the App Store to experience the game in its most comfortable incarnation. Otherwise, this is just a pretty average PC game, and your money is better spent on other, PC-specific, indie games.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.