Oh hey, it’s Galaxian. You know, the precursor to the more famous Galaga.
Galaxy Storm is one of the many games based upon the premise of Space Invaders (or Computer Space and Spacewar, if you want to go earlier): You control a ship that shoots things, usually aliens, usually from the bottom of the screen. Even my curmudgeonly dad has probably played a game like that at some point in his life, and if you’re reading my site you’ve probably played tons of bullet hell shooters and are tired of such plebian efforts. But 1979’s Galaxian is still an important innovator in the genre with its faster pace and more active enemies, though 1981’s Gorf is probably my favorite from that era.
So Galaxy Storm is a clone of a pretty good game. But there is a problem with shmups on tablets with touchscreen controls. Does one finger tap control movement and shooting both, or do you have a separate shoot button, knowing that neither will be as precise as either a controller or a mouse & keyboard? Galaxy Storm mercifully gives you the option of either the touch-to-move and a separate shoot button or a press-for-move-and-shoot, which is a nice touch. I’ve spoken of the difficulty of tablet controls several times in the past, and it’s no exception here; a flat screen that offers no tactile feedback while tapping things on it is no excuse for real controls. This is a fault of the medium, however, and not Galaxy Storm itself, which at least offers two different control methods to the player.
You get one life and can pay real money for more in the full version. Or you could download one of these and the NES Galaxian ROM (easily Googlable, even for internet beginners) along with thousands of others, for free. Yes I’m advocating piracy of ancient games, but so essentially is the creator of Galaxy Storm due to having made a copy of one. I wish they had added something more substantial than scanlines and a choice of controls. Galaxy Storm could have added new enemies, new patterns, new weapons, something, anything to make it more than a mere Xerox of a thirty-five-year-old game. Just because Galaxy Storm uses an old foundation doesn’t mean it couldn’t have had improvements.
At least it’s not supported by ads, something I would tolerate in a game made of one’s own material and not a copy of a classic game. I’m not bothered by the porting of games to new hardware. Even if the original creators don’t want to, as long as the fans don’t try to make money off of something that they didn’t create, it’s no problem. Judging by Galaxy Storm’s creator’s other games, they seem to only want to imitate other successes. May they use these games as programming exercises, stepping stones to a future where they create their own games. If not, I’ll have to… make fun of them some more? Come on, Gazzapper Games, give us something less derivative.