Switch Flight Sim Mode
I can’t tell you the last time I played a flight simulator or even a game where the main point is controlling a vehicle. There’s a reason I don’t have my driver’s license in real life! And there’s a reason I don’t enter Mario Kart tournaments; I make for a terrible motorist in all facets of the activity; real and pretend. Catching the trailer for Manticore Galaxy on Fire I caught myself wondering would my vehicular piloting issues translate to a space environment… spoilers … they do!
Manticore Galaxy on Fire dropped for the Nintendo Switch, in April and is brought to us by Deep Silver Fish Labs. The third game in the mobile series; Galaxy On Fire ports well to the Switch. Any handling issues I had with the game are my own and not down to the game!
The first thing you’ll notice about Manticore Galaxy On Fire is just how good it actually looks. Space has never looked so pretty. This can be said for both play in docked and handheld mode on the Nintendo console. Every stage is set against an expansive backdrop which gives the illusion of a fairly substantial playing field. Illusion being the key word there but more on that later.
While the visuals for the game might be enough to distract from some of the other issues; they can’t hide the game’s storyline. You take on the role of an unnamed pilot, rescued by a group of mercenaries known as Manticore, you are quickly indoctrinated into their ranks. Just in time it seems to bare witness to a catastrophic event that sees diplomats from several powerful races blown to pieces when a planet explodes. With the galaxy literally on fire now; the story tracks your crew’s attempt to track down those who perpetrated the attack and unravel their plans.
Boring Space Drama
It’s not that I found the story boring; I just found myself stopping to check out every named race, mercenary organisation and item mentioned in the prologue. It all happens a little too fast for my liking but that said you can take control of just how quickly you throw yourself into it.
Manticore Galaxy On Fire makes up for the plot issues by offering you plenty of additional content to explore. After your first mission you will be afforded the ability to explore the galaxy at your own whim. You can take on additional merc jobs or explore previous regions and search for rare ship parts and other intel. In terms of mission styles they do all play out kind of the same way. You’re hired either directly or indirectly to protect a ship or station from an attack. You’ll pilot your ship and take out some annoying grunt ships and then face off against a stage boss.
This is where the games controls and mechanics really excel. In fact you could say they take off… at light speed. I apologise for that woeful attempt at space puns. Galaxy On Fire does boss battles well; very well in fact! After taking out said mentioned grunts you’ll get a quick action freeze of a boss ship and then have to employ various tricks and maneuvers to even put a scratch on their shields. This brings me to the controls in the game. While playing it handheld doesn’t cost you in terms of graphics, you do lose out the mechanics. Go docked and take a joy-con into either hand and you get real sense of Manticore Galaxy On Fire is trying to replicate.
You’ll pilot with your left joy-con and shoot/dodge with the right. It took me a few attempts to get comfortable and find my space legs. However it became apparent that this was the right way to play. While you dodge incoming attacks, you’ll have to control your ship and time your bursts of speed and sudden stops to out-manoeuvre your enemies. Thankfully the game is forgiving and there’s a bumper car effect in place for when you crash into asteroids, bigger ships and space debris. You have plenty of room to fly around in but the illusion I mentioned above will see you getting plenty of flash warnings about running to the end of the map; space has limitations.
Space Is Finite
I was surprised by how much fun I was having with Manticore Galaxy On Fire. While I’m not the biggest fan of the genre, I took to space like a space duck to space water. At €19.99, it’s a pretty cheap trip for a lot of thrills. If you’re looking for an engaging storyline that unfolds in the dark drama of space then look elsewhere. If though you’re looking to whet your flight sim and space action appetite and you’ve been craving that Star Fox rush; this little morsel will satisfy your hunger. For now!