Galaxy on Fire 3: Manticore is built around rewarding the player for almost every action they take. You’re constantly receiving perks as you complete levels and finish missions. They come in the form of experience, several types of currency, blueprints for your ship, intel, ship parts, and more.
What’s great about this freemium game is that it doesn’t feel like pay-to-win. You can enjoy the game without spending any real-life money. There are some games where you feel held back if you’re not spending money. Manticore avoids that type of frustration and is a better game for it.
So what is the game like?
You are the head pilot for a group of mercenaries (Manticore) taking contracts from various clients after the Shattering, an event which wiped out a whole fleet of ships and an entire planet. The story is pretty straightforward, but is a good setup for the gameplay. There are times when the dialogue does get awkward or repetitive, but overall it’s appropriate for the setting. The game begins by blasting you with story, but it quiets down after a while and comes to you in pieces. I would have preferred a balance, since the game does get a bit “story-lonely” later on.
The game is divided into two parts: the main story and contracts. The main quest is a decent size and is where the bulk of the story takes place. It mostly consists of finding and killing specific enemy bounties, both alien and human alike. This is the most fun part of the game because the missions are the most unique and paced the best. The main quest wouldn’t be that long if it weren’t for contracts, which extend the game’s length significantly.
Contracts are side missions that you complete in order to gain experience and upgrade your ship and its weapons. You’ll need to complete a lot of these if you’re going to progress in the main story. You’ll randomly find informants with intel that will help you unlock main quest levels. Contracts themselves consist of protecting friendly ships from enemy fire, taking out enemy ships, transmitting information by flying near satellites, and protecting cargo, among other things. My problem with contracts comes from the feeling that you’re being held back from the story. Contracts become repetitive after a couple dozen of them and begin to feel like chores you’re told to do rather than their own adventure. I feel like they’re not paced properly either as some contracts only take around 25 seconds to complete, while others may take several minutes.
You can also do recon missions, where you can scan a wide area for intel. These missions are by far the weakest part of the game. Most of these missions are spent flying around a section of space with nothing of importance taking place. You have to use a probe that has a type of “hot or cold” seeking system; it takes longer than it should to find packages and intel. I spent about 20 minutes cruising around one level looking for intel, I just wanted it to be over.
The graphics for Manticore are really nice, but can be a little bit generic at times. The music and sound effects do their job, but I wouldn’t say that they’re too special. I’d say that voice acting is well done and not awkward at all.
The controls are really simple, but work well: You use your left thumb to steer the ship while you use your right thumb to boost and slow down. Shooting is defaulted to automatic, which I find to be the best way to play. There are times when targeting enemy ships can get a little frustrating, but overall things run smoothly.
I enjoyed my time with Galaxy on Fire 3: Manticore. There are some flaws holding back the experience, but it’s a great way to pass the time if you’re looking for some quick, sci-fi action on iOS.
Galaxy on Fire 3: Manticore (Reviewed on iOS)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
There are some flaws holding back the experience, but it’s a great way to pass the time if you’re looking for some quick, sci-fi action on iOS.