Keith Maxwell returns in a story of love triangles, family feuds and of course, galactic domination…
This marks the first time that TouchGEN has reviewed a game add-on. Many of you have no-doubt read our review of Galaxy On Fire 2 back in October 2010. But, for those of you who have not, or need a refresher on what it’s all about, you can read the review here. After all, the gameplay, controls etc, are essentially the same here – though since reviewing it some things have been tweaked, such as the addition of a fast forward button during space docking and traveling to waypoints.
For me, the Galaxy on Fire series is one of the best IP’s on iOS. Sure, it started out on regular handsets, and it’s also available on Android platforms too, but it’s safe to say that it really found its legs on Apple’s system.
Valkyrie is not a brand new entry in the series, instead it’s an add-on mission pack for Galaxy on Fire 2 – so you’ll need to get that game before you can even think about playing this. Not only that but you must have also completed the main story mode of GOF2 before you can play this.
While some may balk at the notion that you can’t play something that you have paid for, then you are missing the point, and would be missing out what came before it. If you didn’t like the first game, or the much-improved second, then you are not going to find anything overly new here that will suddenly convert you. For those, like me though, who loved both games, then what you’ll find here is an excellent addition to an already excellent game.
While there was still plenty to do after the main story mode of GOF2 had ended, including secondary missions, mining, and buying and selling your wares around the galaxy, things soon became a little stale. Cue the Valkyrie mission pack, which injects some much need life into the galaxy.
You still play as Keith Maxwell, in fact the new story continues exactly where you left off, and after a quick introduction to a few new characters, and a visit to a new system (Valkyrie), you are soon engaged in quests for your new employer.
GOF2’s missions could be a mixed bag at times, with as many fetch and/or escort missions as action ones. Thankfully, Valkyrie’s missions are more heavily focused on action this time. Without spoiling too much of the storyline, your new employer is involved in the weapons trade, and not the legal kind. This means that many of your missions involve not only retrieving new weapons tech, but also testing it out in the field.
Highlights include: a powerful auto turret; new space mines; a gun that can shoot through shields; and best of all, camera guided missiles. These bad boys let you take full control of them as they career towards their target. They are great for taking out large and heavily guarded convoys. But, equally and perhaps more satisfying is taking out smaller, more nimble, craft such as a lowly pirate. There are more cool toys to unlock, many requiring building from blueprints like the first game, but I don’t want to spoil the surprises for you.
I’ve mentioned before that one of my favourite things about GOF is the ability to take photos in game. With improved texturing and ship models, setting up the perfect action shot is even better than before. The game is universal, but for those of you with shiny new iPad 2’s the game has not yet been optimized to make the most of that extra horsepower under that Apple branded hood (not until a later update).
Respect should also be paid to the full voice acting present in the Valkyrie story mode. Something that wouldn’t usually be expected in an add-on for a mobile game. Yes, it is very cheesy, but these games have never taken themselves seriously, and because of that the V.O. comes across as fun. More importantly, you genuinely grow to like the characters and how they interact with each other, which is important in selling the storyline and its overall enjoyment.
The new story can be completed in a few hours, but rushing through it will do the game, and yourself, a disservice. Much of the fun is through the combat encounters, as the enemies are more dangerous this time round, and more numerous, so you won’t always succeed in a mission the first time.
Once the story is over, it’s back to roaming the Galaxy seeking out the best deals for buying and selling your cargo. Now though, all the new ships and weapons revealed in Valkyrie, are available to enhance the experience, that and the new systems and their planets to explore further.
Valkyrie is a great add-on to complement an already stellar game. And fans of the original would be mad to miss it. Fishlabs have shown that you can enhance a game with more than just new costumes, or credits, and I look forward to what they come up with next for our hero Keith.
Valkyrie is available now. The add-on is DLC only and can be purchased for $4.99 through an updated version of GOF2 (available for $9.99). The full game does carry a higher premium than most iOS games, but considering the almost unlimited nature beyond the solid story modes you certainly get your monies worth.