Galaktagon is the most pleasant and broken iPhone shoot ’em up I have yet to indulge in.
The tragic thing about games is that the player is ultimately trying to glean whatever advantage he or she may be able to from the system. If the system is broken it becomes that much easier to exploit the game, and victory becomes a routine execution of a guaranteed method of success. Years ago, this meant more play time and less quarters spent, but today the benefit of ruining a game for oneself in this manner is not apparent. Galaktagon is one such game, because it is crippled by its simplicity. Enemies descend in a straight line, not shooting until they are a certain distance away from you.
This means that in Galaktagon you sit in the corner and tap the screen as fast as possible, a boss will appear and you must alter your position momentarily to kill it, you then return to the corner and repeat these steps indefinitely. Or, at least, that is how I now play the game. While points are lost for every enemy that you do not kill, the points you will earn immediately before and then immediately after the boss fight more than make up for any points lost.
If one simply follows the routine detailed in the preceding paragraph, a high score is almost a certainty. There are five “phases” with increasing amounts of enemies that are followed by a boss, once the boss has been killed the game essentially just restarts (only now, however many lives you have lost are still lost, and you keep adding to your score from previous phases). From what I can tell the game does not change at any point, and I have sat in that corner for quite a while.
Do not let this discourage you from trying Galaktagon, if you have the self-control to not blatantly exploit the game then it does present quite an enjoyable challenge. The controls work well, and despite the difficulty I found myself always wanting to play another round. At times I will honestly try to play the game properly but once I have only one life it is back into the cheating corner for me.
Galaktagon brings back memories. The entire game is in black and white, pixels are huge, and it still comes off looking incredibly stylish. One can almost close their eyes and be transported back to their favorite arcade of yesteryear. For myself, Galaktagon surfaces memories of sinking my quarters into the Galaga machine that a nearby gas station used to run in the back. The stupidly hard and yet incredibly pure experience is certainly reminiscent of many old-school shoot ‘em ups.
When faced with the stellar presentation of Galaktagon, it is hard not to wonder why the same amount of effort was not put into ensuring that the system was not so easily cheated. I would certainly love to see a fix, enemies on the sides of the screen could perhaps shoot the moment they appear on screen and force the player to move away. For now, it is just too hard to play the game “properly” when such a simple yet effective method to cheat has presented itself. To be truthful you are only cheating yourself, because the game lacks online leaderboards.
Galaktagon can be found on the app store for just $0.99, at this price I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys old-school shooters in the vein of Galaga and Space Invaders.
Presentation and Graphics
This game by no means a graphical showpiece, but the graphics are extremely effective in mustering nostalgic feelings, and the presentation of the game as a whole is top-notch.
Traditionally games without itunes support rank lower than this in my book, but the in-game sounds and songs made my ears forget all about the songs I had wanted to listen to.
The sound completes the feel of the game, definitely play this one with headphones.
Galaktagon is easy to break but tough to play in the way the developer intended. There is a slight learning curve to the controls, and they never quite feel as responsive as they should. Still, there are many moments where it comes together.
Once you break Galaktagon it is hard to go back, there is no online leaderboard support, and the game repeats itself too rapidly. It is enough of a game for the .99 cents asking price.
Good Retro Fun!