Manticore Galaxy on Fire
Author: Sam Tree
| Posted: 28 April 2018, 08:03
With three games in the series to date, Deep Silver has brought the third entry in the Galaxy on Fire series to Nintendo’s hybrid console. Not only is it one of the few space shooters on the console but as it turns out, a very good port for a mobile title.
Manticore’s story mode is based on a number of strike missions where players are tasked with escorting and protecting large battleships, hunting down smaller fighters and exploring various sectors of space. Each mission usually ends with taking down a pirate warlord which is required to advance; unlike most of the run-of-the-mill enemies, these warlords are a lot stronger, faster and require a bit of skill to take out.
Controls are fairly simple and didn’t take too long to get used too. The left stick controls the direction of your craft while the right stick allows you to boost, slow down and barrel roll. The ZR button fires your primary weapon while ZL fires the limited secondary weapon. The options menu allows you to alter the defaults to a degree but feels somewhat restrictive. I did find myself hitting the boost accidentally a number of times mid-combat which rarely turned out for the best.
On the mission selection screen, players are able to gather a bit of intel on the mission. Usually, the focus of the mission is to eliminate a space pirate warlord using the weapons available – in some cases, the game may stipulate that a laser weapon is required, or rockets, as an example. Using the right weapon for the job will make taking out the scourge of the universe that much easier; that’s not to say it’s smooth sailing from there, however. Players will still need to master the art of in-space dog fights – chasing down the enemy and knowing when to pull out of the fight to allow the ship’s shields to regenerate. Many a time I’ve been overconfident in my skill only to find my ship crash and burn.
And this is perhaps where one of my major bugbears lie with Manticore Galaxy on Fire. While the missions are fairly short there is an element of skill needed to take out the warlords; getting destroyed in the final moments of a mission makes you start again from the beginning. Granted, this provides an incentive to not bite the proverbial bullet but at the same time, it can be frustrating, especially if you’ve failed a mission a few times.
During the course of each mission, players are able to collect upgrades to their ships as well as blueprints for new spacecraft. Each with their own strengths and weaknesses. One ship, for example, may excel in manoeuvrability, while underperforming in the weapons department. Choosing the ship that best fits the mission – from a fighter, scout or gunship – while not compulsory, will have a bearing on how well you perform. The ships are divided into three main categories, with nine to unlock in total.
What strikes me about Manticore is the high quality of the game. Originally a mobile game for Android and iOS devices the game has been ported to the Nintendo Switch incredibly well. Featuring full voice acting that consists of some stellar performances from the cast (let’s not forget some fantastic one-liners from the ships AI) as well as some superb visuals; I was genuinely impressed with what I was presented with. More importantly, the game runs well in both handheld and docked mode. Over the course of my time with Manticore, I’ve not noticed any slowdowns or drop in framerate.
Likewise the same can be said for the soundtrack and audio effects. The in-mission music is adequately epic while exploration yields a more melodic sci-fi track; all that’s missing is a theremin. Lasers sound just like lasers should do and ships exploding all around is satisfying to hear. It all does a great job of pulling you into the game.
Though, it does seem with the Switch that quality oft comes hand-in-hand with long loading times. Loading the game from the home menu screen faces you with a loading bar. Moving into a mission faces you with another lengthy loading bar. Coming out of a mission, you guessed it, another lengthy loading bar. It’s not a major issue and isn’t something I would ever mark the game down for – seeing as it doesn’t take away from the in-game experience – but I felt it was something of note to mention.
Perhaps though, the one main downfall of Manticore Galaxy on Fire is the repetitive nature of the levels. While the dev team has done a phenomenal job in porting the game it’s clear that the mission structure was built around a mobile device. While the Switch also possesses that on-the-go feeling, it’s a more immersive experience. While there is some variance, ultimately it’s a lot of the same thing.
Despite this, however, Manticore Galaxy on Fire is a solid space arcade shooter and it’s easy to see why it was so popular on other devices. It may not work well with long gaming sessions but as a pickup and play for 20 to 30 minutes at a time it’s perfect and it fits the Switch’s handheld nature for gaming on the go. It both looks and sounds fantastic and it’s clear the developers have worked hard to make it run well on Nintendo’s hardware. If you’re a fan of space shooters then I can highly recommend Manticore Galaxy on Fire.
This review is based on playing the
Nintendo Switch version of Manticore Galaxy on Fire that was kindly provided for review purposes by Deepsilver.
A solid sace shooter which shows off what the Switch can do, though the levels can be a little bit repetitive if played for long periods of time
Looks and sounds fantastic
Runs great on the Switch hardware
Voice acting is above parr
Levels can be repetitive and not geard towards long gaming sessions