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Galaxy on Fire II, review

Galaxy on Fire II, review

Fishlab’s space flight simulator arrives on PC, we have tried it for you

The success of the two chapters of Galaxy on Fire on iOS and Android platforms is due to several factors, including the remarkable graphic quality, the massive playful offer and, above all, the good idea of ​​going to tease the nostalgia of all fans. of space flight simulators of the good old days (and that are no longer, given the almost total absence of such titles in the last ten years). flight between the galaxies they faced, especially with the sequel, a respectable game, exceptional to behold (especially on iPad) and fun to play. A few days ago, Fishlab has made available to users a PC edition of the game, available on Steam at a price of around 15 euros. Considering the remarkable graphic quality, we expected a very respectable port, unfortunately the reality is slightly different.

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For Anglo-Saxons (especially nerds), “making a Buck Rogers” means making a leap forward in time by several tens or hundreds of years, clearly in the sci-fi field (if you want to know why, drop by here) . Precisely this happens to the good Keith T. Maxwell, former protagonist of the first Galaxy on Fire.

Due to a malfunction of his ship’s engine, the pilot leaps forward 35 years, and finds his galaxy greatly changed. As interesting as the narrative device is, the subsequent development tends to leave it completely aside. Everything will be resolved in a few jokes from people who had met Keith years before, but the parenthesis will give way to a much more traditional plot, with the protagonist and his allies forced to fight an alien invasion in a big way. Although the story itself is certainly not that great, the very light and sarcastic tones manage to make it funny, at least at times. Too bad for the dubbing (available in English only), which, due to its obviously amateur nature, clearly spoils the atmosphere.

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Although the missions develop in a completely linear way, in Galaxy on Fire II there are several alternative activities, all useful to earn money to buy better ships and equipment. In this regard, it is good to underline that going straight to the story mode will probably lead you to encounter an almost insurmountable difficulty in the final missions, which will require at least medium-performance ships, which can only be obtained by accumulating discrete amounts of credits. To do this, you can give yourself to the secondary missions, available at all space stations, to the collection of minerals from asteroids, possible thanks to a simple dedicated minigame, and to the purchase and sale of basic consumer goods (food, minerals, and various others), which they can be bought at a price and resold at a higher price elsewhere. Of all these activities, the secondary missions remain the most profitable.

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The missions may seem sufficiently varied during the first hour of the game, but you will soon discover that, behind different formulas, almost always the same procedure hides. “Hunting a fugitive” becomes simply “killing all enemies”, “escorting someone” mostly means “going from point A to point B”, and so on. In other words, two or three hours of gameplay will be more than enough to explore all that the game has to offer, and which will be brought back to you later, simply by changing the name of the assignment. Also, with the exception of some dialogue and very short animated sequences with the game engine, there is nothing to help distinguish between main and secondary missions, all of which can be traced back to the usual two or three predefined formats. If in the case of a fragmentary use, in full mobile style, this kind of offer could also be acceptable, played in long sessions Galaxy on Fire II it is far too repetitive.

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If this is a venial flaw, given that a total rewrite of the missions could not be expected, there are unfortunately other problems that arose in the passage of the platform. The first unexpected is the greater sensitivity and handling of the controls on the PC, whether you are playing with a gamepad or using a mouse and keyboard. While on the iPad and iPhone the control of the ship was cumbersome and the scrolling rather slow, on the big screen Fishlab’s work is controlled with great fluidity. It might sound like a positive note, but unfortunately this only highlights an enemy artificial intelligence that is practically non-existent. The problem had already been noticed at the time of the mobile release, but on PC it assumes very different boundaries, precisely because of the clearly superior handling. You will soon realize that, apart from coming towards you by shooting, reversing and repeating indefinitely, the enemies basically do not know how to do anything else. Even if you raise the difficulty level to the maximum, once you have a decent shield equipped, getting knocked down will really be a rare event, especially for fans of the genre. Apart from the ease, it is precisely the substance and credibility of the clashes that are lost, while on mobile platforms the problem managed to effectively disguise itself thanks to the much less practical controls.

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From a purely graphic point of view, Fishlab’s work is remarkable. Already great on iOS devices, the graphics of Galaxy on Fire II it also looks great on PC, where anti-aliasing can effectively clean up edges, and frame rate slowdowns are just a distant memory. Too bad the interface hasn’t been redesigned to support the new resolution, resulting in very small and often awkward buttons to use.

The audio sector also presents the same problem. On iOS platforms, a limited number of pieces and low to medium quality sound effects were entirely acceptable, given the devices’ limited storage space. But when you go to compare with the PC public, you cannot think of satisfying them without an upgrade, albeit minimal, which in this HD version is completely missing. Combat music will literally come out of your ears after a few hours of gameplay, not to mention the weapon-related sound effects.

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PC System Requirements

Test Setup

Minimum requirements