Galcon, triangular space domination for the iPhone (review)

in iPhone edited January 2014
Galcon by Hassey Enterprises ($9.99, App Store) is a fast-paced 'action-strategy' game that allows for online and single play with a variety of different playmodes to choose from.

Galcon, which has been available for Windows, Mac and Linux for some time, has found it's way onto the iPhone, with it's interface translating very well to touch-based controls.

At a first glance of the screenshots, it seemed the gameplay may be quite complex, but the opposite turned out to be true -- game play involves touching the planet you'd like to wage your assault from and then touching the planet you want to attack. Multiple planets can be selected as attack targets, causing onslaughts of triangles (ships) to fill the screen. Attack a planet enough, and it will become yours, offering another base from which you can launch your ships.

The game is frenetically paced, and you must constantly work against your enemies' efforts to claim more planets (including your own). The game quickly sent me into a tapping frenzy, the likes of which made me realise how responsive both Galcon and the iPhone were to my input.

As gameplay proceeds into the higher levels, it becomes clear that tapping as quickly as possible is no longer a viable option and that strategy must be used. Learning to quickly scan planets for how many more ships it will need to capture, or how many ships your own planets can launch, becomes second nature.

The game offers a lot of replayability, with multiple levels of difficulty and several game modes (such as stealth mode, which hides your opponents ships from your view, and vacuum mode, which challenges you to capture all the planets in the system within a set time limit).

A recent update introduced network play for both local network and internet games. Signing up was an easy process from Galcon's website, and finding a game to join from within Galcon itself took less than ten seconds. Internet games are lag free, responsive, and introduces the unpredictability of a human opponent. Adding a sense of progress, your scores are saved and ranked on the Galcon website.

In summary, Galcon is a game that allows for quick bursts of tactical play in a multiplicity of ways, and the online play really keeps it a fresh experience - at a reasonable price.

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