Galaga 30th Collection leaves plenty to be desired, aside from a classic gaming experience

Jun 21, 2011
Games

I keep waiting for these retro app games to really get it right. To offer a package of games that is not only worth replaying, but to throw in something else that would create incentive to spend time playing a 30-year-old game. Galaga 30th Collection is not the app I’ve been waiting for. Not by […]

I keep waiting for these retro app games to really get it right. To offer a package of games that is not only worth replaying, but to throw in something else that would create incentive to spend time playing a 30-year-old game.

Galaga 30th Collection is not the app I’ve been waiting for. Not by a longshot. For starters, using Galaga in the name is a bit of a misnomer. The app tries, in theory, to collect four iterations of games in the Galaga series of space shooters. In case it has been a while for you, these are the games where rows of enemies attack, and you fire at them with your ship until you clear the screen and repeat forever.

The developers at Namco probably have referenced Galaga, the second game in the series, in the title because it’s the one of these games that you actually remember. But what you get to play free is not Galaga, but actually the first game in the series, Galaxian. Galaga, Gaplus and Galaga ’88 are all offered as paid content additions if you find that Galaxian isn’t enough for you. Fair enough that all of these games are similar enough that what you choose for the title is a bit irrelevant, but the principle of naming something after content you don’t actually get to play immediately is terribly off-putting.

Setting that aside, getting your iPhone to download the rest of the paid content is like something out of an ancient puzzle. I’ve tried dozens of times, and so far I can’t select an individual game without the app locking up completely on an iPhone 3GS, which the iTunes description says is supported.

As for the free content, well, you get what you pay for. There are achievements and rankings lists, but only one game mode to play. Not that the standard game of Galaxian is bad, but there are other apps that basically feature the same game, and it’s never clear why you should download Galaga 30th Edition instead of other options.

There is something called Galaga Points that let you buy power-ups to use in the game, which I suppose counts as some sort of addition, but I’d like to think the majority of people playing a game like Galaga 30th Collection can earn extra lives on their own.

Perhaps it’s my frustration with the notion that this is just another classic game bait-and-switch, where to play the game I came to play I suddenly have to turn my free app into a paid one, but Galaga 30th Collection doesn’t impress at all. If you’re dying to play some Galaxian, this is your app, but unless you’re a sucker for a retro game, there’s nothing to see here.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.

 

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