Sunday, 3 August 2014

App Review No. 58 Galaxy on Fire: Alliances

Strong Points:
Good, strategic gameplay
Just enough base resources (3)
Not enough advanced resources (2)
Lots of planets
A variety of planets and species
A variety of buildings
A variety of ships
Amazing graphics
Good sound
The alliance system is good
Three servers
The premium currency is easy to get without paying
(Mostly) Good community
Lots of in-alliance ranks

Weak Points:
Lots of overpowered players
Not much to do
An active alliance is needed
Lots of inactives
The planet limit is too small
The ship limit is also too small
Later levels become boring
No story driven quests beyond the tutorial
The game is not quite taken far enough
Server strength can be weak

In-depth Review:

Release Dates:
World Wide: 5th November, 2013

Tap to perform a variety of actions

This is another build em up game, only this time it's set in the Galaxy on Fire universe. And, as the name suggests, it involves a lot of diplomacy and making/maintaining alliances. You start the game by choosing which race (Terran, Nivelian or Vossk) to play as and then start a lengthy, but helpful tutorial. Each race conveys a bonus with Nevelian giving a 10% building specialty bonus and Vossk giving a 10% ship specialty bonus which leaves Terran giving a 5% bonus to both buildings and ships. The different races also change the aesthetics of the buildings and ships as well as which planet types give you a bonus.

Alliances, as the name suggests, are the games focus point and, as the intro trailer says, you will not survive or enjoy the game (as fully) without one. You can have up to fifty people in your alliances and there are five ranks (member, senior member, officer, senior officer and leader). The ranks don't give you anything besides the ability to promote/demote/kick people lower than you but it is the alliance not the developers that grant extra abilities to the different ranks. For example, you could decide to set up a government system and grant power to the senior officers as MP's or senators. It's not in the games code to actually grant any power but, thanks to a great messaging system and a very big description box, anything is possible.

Besides your own alliance, you can also set up NAP's (Non-Aggression Pacts) with other people's alliances which opens up even more diplomatic opportunities. In fact, you could even set up an empire of alliances and have each individual alliance being more like squads. By becoming allies (or being in an alliance) with someone, you no longer can attack them (hence the Non-Aggression part of the alliance) and instead can check their planets stats, relocate your fleets to their planets (I'll get onto that later), deliver cargo, send a spy drone (again, I'll talk about this later) or add a bookmark. Bookmarks are used to keep track of important planets or give alerts to attacks and call for aid. The only difference between going to an allied planet and an enemy planet is that you can attack an enemy planet rather than relocate your fleet to it.

Attacking involves you sending a fleet of carriers which can hold ships, troops and resources to another planet and having them fight the defending planet. The ships follow a rock, paper, scissors pattern (fighters are good against interceptors, bombers are good against fighters and interceptors are good against bombers) and so it is always good to have some of each. The fourth ship type is the freighters and these are used to transport resources and troops. The first battle that occurs when you attack a planet is the space battle and this plays out between your ships. If you win this, and you have troops on your carriers, then you enter a land battle which is between troops. If you win this then you own that planet, providing you haven't reached your limit. To help you in your endeavours are upgrades to your carriers known as artefacts. Artefacts are gathered through achievements, completing missions, spending credits or using citadels (I'll get onto these a bit later). There are three types of upgrades (red, blue and yellow) and each one conveys a certain bonus (attack upgrades, defence upgrades and speed upgrades). Due to this you can tailor your carriers to fit certain roles such as attackers or traders. The cost of each upgrade goes up by one to a maximum of 20.

But before you do any attacking, you will want to spy on the opposition so as to get some crucial information about resources, troops and ships. Spying is done through the use of spy drones and the more drones you use the higher the success rate of your espionage. However, be careful, as you could also alert your victim to an attack. Spy drones are also used for in game missions, which involve you sending ships to investigate a wreck or deal with some pirates. These missions can give you loot, credits, artefacts and even blueprints. Blueprints are used to make better ships and carriers and have to be researched at the laboratory in order to make the advanced ships. There a three level of ships (marks 1, 2 and 3) with three being the best. Each upgrade also adds a small aesthetic change.

The other thing you can upgrade are buildings and these will be your primary focus in the game as without them, you cannot do anything. There are many buildings ranging from extractors (with metal, gas and crystal variants), shipyards (used to make ships and carriers), barracks (used to train troops), scanning arrays (used to make spy drones and scan for missions), laboratories (used to research up to three benefits ranging from extraction upgrades to defence upgrades all the way to researching new blueprints for ships),trade centres (used to swap one resource for another), and planetary defences (used to convey defence bonuses to defending ships). The final building is the citadel which can only be built on citadel planets and are used to extract artefacts of that particular planets variety. When upgraded, each building changes slightly, aesthetically, which makes you feel as if you are achieving more. Research in the laboratory can be upgraded as well, with planetary benefits having a limit of level 10 and blueprints only being upgradable once the laboratory has been upgraded to a certain level. Buildings have a level limit of 20.

There are many different planets which each have their own type (such as volcanic or oceanic) as well as different resource ratings and slots. Each planet is in a system (that has its own name in a nice touch of developer caring) and the systems make up the galaxy map. The map can either show you your allies and enemies, the systems with the best planets or the ones fought over the most or even where the top ten alliances are. The map is very well done and you get a sense of jigsaw like prize when filling it in.

Finally, is the messaging system. This system is great as it enables you to set up forum like threads for your alliance or message anyone in the game (providing you know their name as the game doesn't provide a list for you). As I have said before, messages and alliance descriptions can be as large as you like, which adds much more customisability to the game.

That seems to be the motto of the game really: let the player decide and create. However, it can't seem to take itself far enough to be the universe sized diplomatic sandbox that it could be. This is unfortunate as it could be so much more than just another build em up.

Rating: 86%

Goodbye for now, Harry

Update: commander, I'm glad you came to the meeting so quickly, we need to talk over the new improvements to our fleet. First of all are the 'Stream-lined commander selection' windows as well as the 'Jumpgate cool-down warning'. I think these two things will help up tremendously. Also, the engineers have come up with a 'Display of Battle Slots' which are situated in the 'show room, planet list and fleet list'. 'They are used to show when the next battles are going to take place'. Also, many improvements have taken place including the 'Diplomacy Tab Bug', the 'Battle Report Bug', the 'Cargo Bug', the 'Star Map Bug', the 'Carrier Grouping Bug' and many other 'various cashes, performance issues, overlaps and other, minor bugs'. I trust that you like these changes commander, and they will be implemented immediately.

Update: thanks again, commander for coming to talk to us about our new ventures. We have decided to enter the new 'Warzone Game Mode' which promises to be the most intense venture we have ever attempted. We will attempt to take control of the 'Outer Clusters' before going for the 'Inner Clusters' which is where most of the valuable 'Citadel Planets' are. However, we will have to fight 'Pirates and Marines' in order to control the 'Most Valuable Planets and Citadel Planets'. Also, due to the time distortion in the area 'Travel Times have been changed to better fit the smaller area' and 'XP gained via battles has been doubled'. I have just been informed that these changes only affect the new 'Server' that we are going to. Finally we have learnt to talk in Thai and Turkish bringing our localisation up to 14 different languages. Also, I hope that you like some of the new designs that the team have come up with including a 'New Logo'. That is all, thank you.

Update: merry Christmas commander! May we give you the gift of a 'Server Clock' that will be 'Displayed In-Game on the Star Map and Planet View'? Also, there are many new bugs in the fleet that I believe can be squashed with Christmas spirit. These include the 'Extractor Achievement Bug', the 'Credit King Achievement Bug', the 'Missions Bug', the 'Remote Notifications Bug' as well as 'Additional Improvements and Stability Upgrades'. Thank you for your time, commander, and merry Christmas!

Better log in processes/loading times as all PM's and battle/scanner reports are deleted after 30 days
An improved Alliance Chat
Game Center Achievements
Lots of bug fixes and achievements

Players in need of back-up can reach out to nearby allies via calls or push notifications and form attack or defence groups within seconds. When they respond to their needy friends' cries for help, the allied players get forwarded to a special fleet screen that only lists the carriers that are close enough to reach the afflicted planet in time
Spy drones can now be used to collect information on incoming enemy attacks including the names of the commanders carrying out the attack and the amount and quality of their ships
Battles now have multiple rounds and, so, allow you to send reinforcements or make your ships retreat from battles
Invite players to your Alliance via a selection of social networks
Alliance symbols such as country flags, faction decals or general symbols (such as a peace sign, skull-and-crossbones or rainbow colours) can now be added to your Alliance profile
Tactical sector grid - identify and communicate hot spots on the star map quicker and more accurately thanks to the new segmentation of the game world
Global in-game chat has been added
Intro slides display basic tutorials and useful tips from the beginning of the game
A new server has been added
Planet register crash has been fixed
Minor bug fixes and improvements

Update: various bug fixes, adjustments and enhancements

Fight back the devious Voids - AI operated enemies that act like real players
Enhanced fleets - build and use superior Void carriers
Powerful items - steal rare Void crystals from your enemies
Various performance and stability issues have been fixed
Minor bug fixes and enhancements

Carrier grouping - organize your fleet easier and to a better degree
Fixed various performance and stability issues
Minor bug fixes and enhancements

No comments:

Post a Comment