by A.J. Coltrane
I’m always looking for a good free game to play on the cell phone. Emphasis on “free”.
Galaxy On Fire 2 HD fits that bill. It’s a space opera/ combat/ trading game. You can fly your ship to many different star systems, shoot space pirates, and mine asteroids. You can trade with, and run missions for, the inhabitants of the space stations that you come into contact with. Better ships can be acquired. Weapons, armor, and many other ship components can be upgraded as well.
There’s a main quest storyline to save the universe from hostile aliens. (Of course.) If you don’t want to do that you can pick up mini-quests at space stations. “Kill the dread pirates.”, “Escort the freighters”, “Bring me some possibly-hard-to-find materials”. Fortunately there aren’t any “Kill Ten Rats” quests. The quests are mostly all quick and relatively engaging.
Combat can be fun. Even “very fun”. Though sometimes the opponents are super over-powered and the game will suggest that you upgrade your ship. I tried that. It doesn’t often work. I’d suggest that you just run away and go find other opponents that you can beat up.
The mining mini-game is just ok, though it’s about the only reliable way to make money at the start of the game. After getting some money together I was able to leverage it into fleecing the locals when they wanted to trade, so no more grindy mining for me.
That’s the good.
The less good:
1. The main quest storyline is predictable, dumb, and fringe-sexist. I’ve seen young teenagers write better stuff.
2. Even though I put off the main storyline in an effort to get the biggest, baddest ship that I could — I still won the game with a mid-range ship. If I chose to I *could* log back in and make more money and eventually get the nasty ships. Maybe I’ll do it if I’m stuck in the car at some point with nothing else to do. Maybe. I’m going to guess that it’s possible to win the game with only a marginal ship upgrade, if any. Opportunity lost.
3. For no good reason that I can ascertain, there are four different “factions”, arranged in two pairs. Doing a quest for one faction will shift your standing towards them and away from the opposing faction. That means that I can’t just run whatever quest I see, I have to be continually balancing my faction standing. It’s an unnecessary complication that doesn’t add anything to the game.
4. The game crashes. A lot. After a while I made a point to save every time I docked at a space station. I’d guess the game would crash about after every 3rd save…every 20 minutes or so. No better way to break immersion than to be continually fiddling with the save game slots.
Summary: Galaxy On Fire 2 HD has gotten very good reviews. It’s on a lot of the “best games” lists. The price is right, and I got many hours of gameplay out of it.
It’s a “very good” game.
It may just be that my expectations are too high for free mobile gaming. Mostly Recommended.