DSiWare | G-STYLE | 1-2 Players (co-operative play) | Out Now (North America) | 200 Nintendo Points
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17th January 2013; By KnucklesSonic8
Well-complemented characteristics don't necessarily guarantee an outcome bearing lasting effects. Sadly, even with near-perfect pacing, a sense of challenge diluted for the mass market and the weeding of distancing effects, some games still never take flight. For all the refinement the execution sees to, when all seems to be going upward, cared-for elements are squandered on a concept that lacks intrinsic qualities or some other source for elevation. Extracting that principle, the mileage you may seek in connection with Galaxy Saver may not stand to reach sky-high levels. But underneath the categorical exterior lies a spark that achieves quite well.
Fashioned in a true arcade format, Galaxy Saver is simple in premise: control a ship fixed just outside a space station, defending and outlasting the storms of threats that besiege your territory. The station is protected by a barrier that will gradually fade as it sustains more damage, but that's no reason to expect it will absorb all blows dealt by enemies. Equipped with a temporary shield of your own, much depends on the player to cancel any enemy fire from infiltrating, moving left and right with the D-Pad to survey the surrounding area and using fire coming from the front of your ship (A Button) or a charged bomb wave (X Button) to eliminate anything in sight. Involving a mission progression that's reminiscent of Star Fox 64, a series of endurance tests are put out before you where points and weaponry boosts carry over to successive stages. The difficulty of an individual event only becomes clear after making your selection for the first time, and by then you're stuck with the choice until you advance or get a Game Over.
Governed by more variables than what might be initially supposed, enemies seen here demonstrate different behaviours and, similar to Pac-Man ghosts, are defined by singular, descriptive titles. To list a few: Tricky fires laser beams at regular intervals; Tackle employs ramming tactics; Lucky will drop a power boost item when hit; Capture uses a tractor beam to steal those boosts; and Traitor launches multiple rockets at one time. As units make their approach, they appear as red shapes on the top screen's radar. Often coming in packs, if left alone, these units will briefly retreat off the screen before returning once again to engage with their specific pattern of attack. When not simply using a grab bag of enemies, some missions involve defending against a belligerent asteroid shower, a particular enemy type, or defeating a hulking boss unit.
In the free-for-all contexts, a phase known as Rush Attack will sometimes initiate with alerted warning, causing any enemies in the present vicinity to disperse and instead have swarms bombard you with attacks. When being attacked on two sides at the same time, the process can seem a little unfair, but even on a general level, the situation can prove disadvantageous just trying to get into position for the attack -- of which only a small window exists to prepare you for the otherwise unpredictable. With this being the case, the game would've really benefited from an intuitive ability to whip around the station at a faster clip using the unused L and R Buttons.
Stylistically, Galaxy Saver and all its principles heavily call for rapidity on the part of the player, with there being no time to lose and hesitation only adding to the situation that might perhaps prove too much to handle from the start. Just in saying that, it should be pointed out that individuals who don't actively consider this type of play might feel a little uncomfortable. But in forcing yourself to adapt in spite of the rough welcome, you'll discover there's a surprising strategic layer being leveraged amidst the sometimes-unforgiving onslaught.
Stages that differ from the norm actually have deliberate executions in how certain elements play into the mix. In one mission dedicated to Tricky units that appear with synchronicity, Lucky ships will try to lure you away under the spell of a possible power boost at the risk of injuring your chances of survival. In another, wasting your limited-use bomb or not holding on to your boosted strength will prove costly at the very end when a startling surprise pops up.
Regardless of the mission directive, though, the game is at its best when the overwhelming hordes don't overshadow the thrill. Players will find themselves learning how to use their shields to disrupt enemy fire, using it to get past walls of fire, or go so far as to take the fall (due to the wise, connected design decision of having unlimited lives) if it means the space station can last a few seconds longer to clinch victory. It certainly takes a good measure of skill, one that is developed with continued play time. And as the suspense of the clock sets in, being able to take control of the situation feels great.
Another positive to Galaxy Saver is its replay value, much of which stems from the game's adopting a branching style in the mission paths that can be undertaken. While not exactly littered to the extreme with bonuses and the like, the case is supported rather nicely with a military rank that is improved by continuous play, a few secret unlockables, two-player co-op play, and a range of achievements (totaling 50 in all). Finally, without going into too much detail, the game's presentation is entirely average in both look and sound, with no highlights to take note of.
It may not have much pizzazz or iterate to an exemplary standard, but there's quite a bit to Galaxy Saver that shows more than just regenerated circumstances are at work here. While the design could've seen to improvement here and there, what exists is still rather careful in its design and can be easily accepted as such. Fitting right in with other games of its kind on this platform, Galaxy Saver is a stable execution that's easy to recommend.
22/30 - Good
Gameplay 7/10 - Behaviours unique to specific enemy types, elements present strategic risk factor, room for improvement with control of the space
Presentation 6/10 - Functional with not much to discuss, has an average quality both in its visuals and audio, displayed in an organized fashion
Enjoyment 4/5 - Well-tailored challenge that produces a thrill, applied strategy in bomb and shield usage, must manage items and abilities effectively
Extra Content 5/5 - Multiple mission paths to follow in the progression, gameplay expands with more play, co-op, achievements and unlockables
Equivalent to a score of 73% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System