Review: Galcon | webOS Nation

Review: Galcon 11

by Robert Werlinger Thu, 26 Aug 2010 12:21 pm EDT

The update of webOS to 1.4.5 has opened the floodgates to 3D titles from independent developers. From games like Angry Birds to apps like Multi-Touch Piano, things are finally starting to get interesting in the App Catalog. We recently featured Galcon ($2.99) in our 5 PDK titles you should own roundup, and we thought that we’d go a little further in depth with this fun, highly addictive PDK title.

I’ve been playing more of this game than I’d like to admit – it really does suck you in. The premise is relatively simple: you start out in a solar system with up to 3 opponents with the goal of snuffing them all out. Each player starts with one planet that generates ships that are represented as small triangles, and each planet generates ships (the larger the planet, the faster it’ll generate ships) that you can use to take over additional planets, both uninhabited and enemy-owned. As you conquer more planets, you’re able to launch ships from multiple points throughout your controlled territory, as well as reinforce planets that are under attack or that you plan to attack from.

The controls are simple. To select a planet from which to launch ships, simply tap on the desired planet. To select multiple planets to launch ships from, just tap those too. To deselect planets, just tap in empty space. Once your desired planets are selected, simply tap on the target planet and your ships will automatically launch. Or, to reinforce a planet, drag towards one of your own and your ships will launch and fly to that planet.

While this is a relatively simple game, there are elements of strategy that keep gameplay fresh throughout all of the randomly generated levels. When first starting out, for example, you’ll want to immediately take the largest planets with the lowest number of “inhabitants” in order to gain a strategic advantage when it comes to ship count. Conversely, you’ll want to keep your enemies from doing the same. You’ll want to keep a certain amount of ships at all of the planets you control to fend off attacks, and you’ll want to learn how to reinforce planets quickly.

There are multiple difficulty levels to keep the game interesting, and the dynamics really do change as you increase the difficulty. On the easier modes, you can see the ship count of all of your opponents’ planets, making it easy to plan your attacks. As you play on harder difficulty levels, however, those numbers disappear making the game much more challenging. There are also a few other game play modes such as vacuum where you have to take a solar system over while racing against a timer, beast mode where you play against an enemy that starts out with a significant advantage, and stealth mode that obscures the movement of enemy ships .

There’s also a multiplayer mode – requiring registration that forces you into a website that’s somewhat painful to use - that pits you against up to 3 other webOS users, and there are always plenty of servers to choose from. It’s fun enough, if not only for the human element that contrasts the somewhat predictable AI in the single player modes, but like most titles there’s no sort of in-game chat to really interact with the other players which kills the experience for me. Games can understandably drag on for quite a while as it’s easy to get into a stalemate.

I found the game to perform flawlessly. Frame rates are great, glitchyness is all but absent, and touch response is terrific. My Sprint Pre does bog down on occasion when there are a lot of objects on the screen – later in a level when I’m launching large scale attacks for instance – but that’s hardly any fault of the game.  

In all, Galcon is one game that if you’re lucky enough to be running 1.4.5, you should download right now.  If you don’t have the update, be sure to put this one on your short list.  It’s fun, simple-yet-challenging, easy to jump in and out of, all with the just the right amount of addictiveness.