FISHLABS Galaxy On Fire series has been a mainstay of mobile gaming since it first became popular. The franchise has changed quite a bit since the first game, going from large space exploration and trading to the current emphasis on space shooter, but it’s always looked and played great.
The move to Switch sees the freemium game become a full priced one with all the previous in app paid content included. There has also been a bump in graphics and a very welcome move to 60fps, making the dogfighting buttery smooth on all but the busiest battles.
You start the game joining a bunch of mercenaries, just as someone launches a planet-destroying bomb. Your team is determined to find the culprits responsible, but you’ll have plenty of other enemies and opposing groups to fight against along the way.
This setup results in a series of jaunts to various sectors of space, where you’ll be given an area to fight the enemies off or protect a friendly ship. Each encounter plays in a similar way but the developers have changed things around each time to prevent it becoming too repetitive. There are some points in the game where you’ll wish for a change in the gameplay, though it’s pretty standard for a game in this genre that just concentrates on dogfighting rather than branching out into trading or other gameplay elements. However, I found this satisfying enough and certainly different from anything else available on the platform.
Voice acting is provided throughout the game, in varying degrees of success, but it’s great to hear it being used more often and adds to the premium feel of the game, even if some of the actors occasionally sound like their part is phoned in.
Coming from a mobile platform, I was initially concerned that the graphics wouldn’t do the game justice on a TV screen. I’m pleased to say that I was wrong, they look great. There are a few exceptions and rough edges, but mostly the backgrounds, various floating debris and enemy ships look great both on a TV and on handheld mode. Despite the amount of objects around you in a dogfight, enemies are clearly defined and there is a good hud which pinpoints their location at any time. Aiming is via a huge crosshairs which turns red when you’re on target. It may end up being fairly easy to hit targets for those who have played plenty of space shooters in the past, but at least there are different difficulty levels to choose from.
With an engaging story and some lovely set pieces later on in the game, Manticore: Galaxy On Fire provides the welcome addition of a new genre to the Switch and is well worth adding to your collection.