Android Game Review – Spotlight: Galaxy Defenders

Galaxy Defenders SixDead Entertainment

Free (Ads)

Galaxy Defenders is the first game on the Android Market from another new kid on the block, SixDead Entertainment (very cool logo).  I heard about this game, like so many other things, in a thread on reddit where the developer had posted it looking to promote it.

Level 1

Initial impressions are very good; right off the bat I felt that this game was very good value for being free.  You guide your ship freely through the entire playing area by touch, auto-firing as long as your finger is on the screen, through waves of enemies and random meteors that fly through the board.  From time to time your finger may block things you want to see as you move around, but you can simply press anywhere else on the screen and it becomes the anchor for your controls (you don’t actually have to touch your ship) – a nice touch.  The graphics are fluid for the moving parts, the game is intuitive yet challenging, and the ads that support the developers are well-placed as to not interfere with operations.

Galaxy Defenders features a nifty upgrades system, where you can increase your firepower, defense, and utilize energy boosts.  Unlike other fledgling games on the market, the upgrades are actually relevant as you go on, because the waves of baddies and meteors get faster and more uh… furious-er.  You’re going to need to upgrade if you want to power your way through the levels, otherwise you better be one bitchin’ laser dodger.

The first 3 levels are practically a tutorial. Get ready for a challenge once you enter the 4th stage!

When the game ramps up in difficulty, there are more enemies more frequently, and more inconvenient meteors hurtling towards your face.  I played up to Level 35 for the purposes of this review, but initially only to level 11… and it was no cake walk; I probably died a dozen times on the way.  It got easier again once I started piling on the upgrades.

Multiple games so your you can let others play, or build up your upgrades differently; another very nice touch.

Here comes the constructive criticism.  Allow me to disclaimer what follows with this: I really enjoy this game, and look forward to its further development.  I do think however that this should be considered a beta release, even though it isn’t labeled as such.  With some elbow grease, these guys can make a real contender.  Right now, though…

This is entirely too ambitious for this title in its current incarnation.

Level 31. Compare to Level 1 above. Same, same, same... every board is the exact same, with a few more enemies spawned - that's it.

The background is the same for every board I’ve played.  The music is exactly the same for every board, with the exception of boss fights.  There are 3 enemies, meteors, and a boss every ten levels.  That’s it.  The background also doesn’t move at all, which can be somewhat disorienting considering you’re piloting a starship.  This can be somewhat justified by the premise of being a ‘defender’, I suppose… but it is still a mark against the game.  Also, what am I defending?

There’s no plot built into the game – I have no idea whether the planet in the background is where I’m from, I have no representation of what is at stake for my pilot, aside from fighting for its life; there’s no substance.

Some little details need to be addressed as well.  When a stage ends, it just dims slightly and says ‘Stage Cleared’ – sometimes it will do this while there are still enemies on the screen attacking you.  There’s also no indication aside from your health bar dropping for when you’re hit.  Some haptic feedback or edge-of-the-screen coloring to show when you’re taking damage would be very helpful.  When a kamikaze ship crashes into my hull, I expect to have more indication than a little explosion animation at the impact point.

At this point in time, there is absolutely nothing about the game that would inspire you to spend money on their in-app purchases.  The additional planets aren’t ready yet, and there’s nothing to show that they’ll be worth it when they are.  Will they be the same repetitive game with a different wallpaper?  The ability to purchase gold is a little offensive; the developer is essentially turning on easy mode for cash.  It’s not as bad as say, charging money for something that the game needs to be fun, or something in a multiplayer game that gave paying users an unfair advantage, but it sticks in the craw somewhat.  I’m not a fan of the in-app purchase for removing ads, either; I’d much rather download a separate version or a ‘pro unlock key’ or something similarly seperate in the market – that way I don’t lose my ads-free if I switch phones or do a factory reset (I’d back mine up with Titanium Backup and keep them, but it’s a point for Billy Every-User).  Frankly, the ads aren’t annoying enough and the game not good enough to pay money to remove them just yet.

THE TL;DR:

  • A great little time waster, well worth trying out for the price of non-intrusive ads free.
  • Has a cash shop that is more ambitious than the current version of the game warrants.  SixDead should remove it for now and focus on content.
  • Monotonous, repetitive boards, enemies, and music.
  • Big potential for improvement if the developers put their minds to it.

Supporting developers doesn’t just mean giving them money – it also means providing solid criticism so that they can improve their apps and games.  I hope SixDead Entertainment remembers that I said I liked their game, despite having outlined what I view as several flaws. 

If anybody reading has a game they’d like to see reviewed, or are developers looking for a review, drop me a comment or hit my contact link!

 

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