Image via Wikipedia Sooner or later, someone's going to reinvent the games, and this time, someone managed to squash down Elite gameplay into a mobile phone! That's essentially Galaxy on Fire 3D is: Elite, but without the trading.
It seems originally they WANT to put in the trading, but couldn't fit, so they only had you get RANDOM LOOT, which you can sell for a bit of bonus on top of your mission pay. It'd be interesting to see what ELSE they can do with this engine, or with more memory.
Basically, you are a mercenary, recently retired from Terran Space Forces. Your service has earned you a small scout, and you need to complete a 13 mission "story" before you can start on your quest to truly explore the galaxy. And there are A LOT of places to explore. Each "system" has five planets or stations, though not all will trade. All will have at least one mission if not 5 or 6. If they trade, you can sell off any of your loot, and upgrade your ship (if they have anything you want). If you have enough credits, you can even get a new ship, even one used by Terran's enemy, the Vossk.
The flight portion is in full 3D, with "behind" view reminiscent of Starfox. Everybody has a "trail", and there are asteroids, nebulas, minefields, and more. Missions have a lot of variety as well: clear space debris (under fire or not?), clear minefield (again, under fire or not?), intercept (and destroy) convoy, revenge hit on specific ship, combat mission sweep of area of all hostiles, capture enemy cruiser by killing its escorts and taking out all its plasma guns, take passenger to other station through enemy fire... and more. There's even the occasional 'unknown', you do get paid, but you don't know what you do until you're into the mission.
Once your in the mission, the graphics are not quite as good as Wing Commander, but they are definitely better than Elite. Ships are fully 3D, and weapon shots comes out the right places. There are several categories of weapons as well: lasers, plasma, photon, thermo, and missile. No ship can fit all five, and in fact, the beginner ship, call the Icarus-class, can only fit two: laser, and plasma. They basically vary in their recharge time vs. punch (damage caused). Found missiles to be extremely helpful, as they offer you ability to "off-bore" the opponent, i.e. hit them even if you are NOT pointing straight at them.
One nice thing about the mission is you don't need to destroy EVERYBODY. For example, if your mission is 'revenge', once you took out the target ship, your mission ends. There's no need to destroy the escorts, even if taking them out do make your job of taking down the main guy easier. Similarily, if you're taking on a convoy, take out the convoy ships, and you can "spare" the escort fighters... if you want to.
You will need to explore the galaxy a bit to find the best stuff. And don't ignore Vossk planets and stations... you'll need to pay a bribe to get in, but you may find stuff not available anywhere else. I found a missile that cost a lot, but they do almost TWICE damage (198, vs. 120) of Terran's best missile, on a Vossk station.
While the missions do get a bit repetitive, as there are only so many ways you can kill the enemy, the game itself still provides a lot of challenges. While flying is free, landing on the planet or station cost $$$. So all travel will deplete your budget. Simple missions pay 1-3000, while more dangerous missions pay more, esp. when you get out into the galaxy and find the tougher systems.
All in all, an excellent achievement, even though the play gets a bit repetitive in the open portions.
Overall rating: 9 out of 10 (!)
Pros: open-ended gameplay! Do whatever you want!
Cons: no trading at all, argh!
About This Place
First started in late 2007, Kasey's Mobile Game Review (then just a regular feature of Kasey's Korner) started as a simul-post between here and IGN. Later I realized there's no reason to post it twice, when I can use the traffic on my own site. so, here we are, in 2010, and the mobile game industry has grown a bit. What do you think?