Tested version: 1.6.5
Latest version: 1.9
Requires Android: from 1.6
Many of you may be thinking “not another game…again”. In my opinion there isn’t a specific ratio of how many games and “other” apps should get tested. Today I would just like to showcase an interesting game that both me and my friends enjoy tremendously. Feel like taking a lesson in intergalactic tactics? Read my test to find out!
Features & Use
Many of you may be familiar with “Risk”, the famous strategy game from your childhood. GalaxIR does indeed share some similarities with this classic board game. The goal of the game is as simple as in Risk: You have to conquer as many territories and destroy as many enemies as possible with your own army from your home area. In GalaxIR you have a simplified overview of a galaxy filled with grey moon-like planets in different sizes.
At the beginning of the game, each player owns a random planet with a 100 unit army. Armies automatically increase in size while stationed on a planet. Their growth, however, depends on the size of the planet: the bigger the planet, the quicker your army grows. Therefore it makes sense to occupy the largest planets possible.
There’s a limit to the number of units you can position on a single planet regardless of its size. Each planet may only have a max. of 1000 units stationed on its surface.
As a player, you have to make sure to skillfully deploy your army onto different planets, while keeping an eye on your opponent’s moves and engaging in small skirmishes. All of this happens live and is not divided into rounds. Here’s how you can move your armies around:
At the bottom of the screen there’s a bar with 5 settings: 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, 70% and 100%.
If you select, say, 20% then tap on a planet with 150 stationed units and drag your finger across to another planet, this will move 20% of you units (30 units in this example) to your destination planet. Small spaceships illustrate this movement.
What if you wish to select multiple planets? It’s really simple with GalaxIR. Just select a planet and then drag your finger from one planet to other. Now all of the planets have been marked. Finally, just drag your finger to your destination planet and let go.
You’ll now see numerable armies moving from all directions to reach their goal. That’s as much as needs to be said about controls.
Screen & Controls
Every neutral planet (neutral planets are grey-colored, whereas occupied planets take on the color of the player in control) has defense units that are displayed with a number on each planet. If a planet has the number 6, the player’s army will lose 6 units to occupy it. So if you send 15 units to take over a planet, six will get destroyed and nine will remain positioned on the planet. After that, you army begins to grow, as mentioned previously.
Taking over enemy planets works exactly the same way, except that you are dealing with enemy units instead of a defense force. The aim of the game is destroy all of your opponents. The number of planets a player occupies is irrelevant. Therefore it is important to keep the following in mind to become successful at GalaxIR:
- Expansion. The more planets you conquer (especially large ones), the quicker your army grows.
- Defense. Keeping a small army on a planet makes it vulnerable for attack. Try to keep your forces evenly divided.
- Attack. Strategically important planets should be taken over quickly and you shold try to you’re your opponent’s army as small as possible.
- The enemy of my enemy is my friend. If you’re fighting against multiple opponents, try to make sure that no single opponent gets the upper-hand. As soon as an enemy army becomes really big, it’s easier for it to take out all the other players and become a super power. You must uphold the balance of power!
As you can tell, GalaxIR requires not only tactical thinking, but also quick reactions. Since everything happens live, you’ll always have your hands full trying to move around armies, keep your enemy at bay and go on the occasional attack.
Here’s a small little detail that left me quite puzzled. When you start a game against three opponents, it often occurs that two opponents attack your starting planet simultaneously without giving you any time to react. This way you lose all chances of ever winning this round. This is of course realistic, since real players would most certainly do exactly the same thing. But in a game where you’re playing against the computer, they could’ve gone a little easier on the real players. You should have a couple of seconds at the beginning of the game to orient yourself.
Enough said about the game itself, let’s now turn to the menus. In the main menu you’ll find the following options:
- New Game: When you start a new game you can adjust the number of opponents (3 max.), difficulty level, map size, sound effects and help tips.
- Multiplayer: Multiplayer games via Bluetooth, WiFi or UMTS. Works flawlessly, but has a time-limit in the free version.
- Settings: Adjust the players colors, activate automatic display rotation, turn sound effects on/off.
During the game you can access the following options via your menu button:
- Pause (can also be activated by pressing the II icon on the screen)
- Main Menu
Speed & Stability
The game graphics are modest, but not unpleasant. Otherwise the game is very easy to use and the menus are well laid-out. The Resume button in the main menu seems a bit unnecessary since it makes the menu list appear too long. It could’ve been done a bit better, but it’s not a big deal.
GalaxIR can be downloaded for free. Besides time limitation in multi-player mode, several galaxy backgrounds are missing in the free version.
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