Manticore/Galaxy on Fire 3 (Switch/iOS)

Gratch
Gratch
Not sure if this belongs in Portable or in here, but I wanted to throw out a quick recommendation for this one.

I was always interested in the Galaxy on Fire series for iOS, but found the touch controls to be terrible. Found out on Monday that there's a Switch version of Galaxy on Fire 3 called "Manticore: Galaxy on Fire". It's the exact same game as the iOS version, but does away with the social elements (i.e. instead of using people on your friends list as NPC's for missions, there's a standard set of NPC's you use) as well as all the microtransactions.

I'm about halfway through the campaign, and have been having far more fun with this than I expected. It's nothing revolutionary, but checks off all the boxes for an engaging space combat romp. Controls are fairly basic, with movement on the left stick and thrust/brake and barrel rolls on the right. Trigger buttons fire weapons, and you can choose two different types for any mission (laser, plasma, ballistic, rail, spread, etc.). Each of these weapons is upgradeable as you progress, as is your ship. It gives quite a few options for how you want to take on enemies, but isn't so complex as to be overwhelming.

The missions themselves have quite a bit of variety, involving combat, escort, finding hidden cargo, and even a race of sorts which involves getting through timed gates. There's a competent overarching story that provides a structure for the activity, which I have found to be surprisingly compelling. It's also very well written and has good voice acting, with some truly funny moments (mostly from the...sassy...AI partner). There's quite a bit of lore to uncover as well, which is also funny and well-written. It takes a number of jabs at other sci-fi franchises (the Mass Effect dig literally made me LOL), and does quite a bit to flesh out the world and story conflict.

Visuals are decent, but probably won't blow anyone away. You can definitely tell it started its life on iOS. However, the gameplay is so much fun that lackluster graphics haven't been a distraction at all. The missions are typically quite short (5-10 minutes), which provides a great way to either get in some bite-sized space shooting, or sit down for a longer series of battles. Zipping around between asteroids or through massive space stations and blasting enemies while barrel rolling away from a missile a split-second before impact has been quite thrilling so far.

The only thing I really don't like are the exploration missions, which see you exploring specific maps for "Intel Fragments" that are hidden throughout. There's a drone that is supposed to provide you some general guidance as to where they are, but it's sort of like playing Hot & Cold with a hyperactive toddler who doesn't really understand the basic concept. Thankfully, exploration is entirely optional (the fragments only provide story lore), so you can skip it it you want. I would have also liked some sort of free-look option with the camera, but that hasn't proven to be a deal-breaker yet.

I'm 4 hours in and it says I'm 46% complete, so I'm guessing it's an 8-10 hour game to get through the story. This one came as a complete surprise, and is a no-brainer for $20. Again, it's not going to be the "best game ever", but it's a hell of a lot of fun.

Comments

  • farley2k
    farley2k
    GT Moderator
    Fine, you convinced me. I loved their other games on IOS so I am willing to trust the company, and space combat games are not exactly burning up the charts so a good one will be nice to play.
  • Gratch
    Gratch
    GT Member
    It's not a "life changing" game by any means, but absolutely worth the $20.

    I'm finding it to be money far better spent than the $60 I plunked down for RDR2 earlier this week. :(
  • Gratch
    Gratch
    GT Member
    Finally got around to finishing this one today.

    Nothing earth-shattering, but it's a damn fun space shooter that gives a solid 8 hours of gameplay. I'd definitely recommend it.
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