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In-Depth Review

Galaga Remix: Once More, With Feeling

If you grew up during the 1970s and 80s, as I did, you probably have fond memories of that era's arcades, and you're likely just as amused as I am by the fact that you can now cram most of yesteryear's machines in your pocket, thanks to the phenomenal success of the App Store. Once the nostalgia value wears off, though, you probably wish there was more, and that's where Namco's Remix series of games come through: you can choose either the original arcade game or a new version with souped-up graphics and sound, along with new wrinkles to the gameplay. The premise of the Remix versions seems to be: If this game was being developed today with the same concept, how would it turn out?

The classic game found in Galaga Remix is solid in all respects, except the control scheme: because the game must run vertically on your iPhone to recreate the dimensions of the arcade machine, you have to cram both thumbs into the space along the bottom. None of the three control schemes is perfect: the arrow keys are small, which means it's too easy for your thumb to slip off; the slider is better than the arrow keys, but you have to tap the screen to fire, which means your finger gets in the way of the action; and I'm not fond of using the accelerometer for most games, except racing titles. A virtual joystick, or at least larger arrow keys, would have been better.

The classic side

On the remix side, the action is presented horizontally, so the developers were able to fit a fire button next to the slider in that control scheme, making it the perfect way to play, at least for me. It's still too easy for your fingers to slip off the arrow keys in remix games, and the accelerometer is still an inadequate choice, in my view. If you like playing games with the accelerometer, though, Galaga Remix's control scheme issues will be nonexistent.

The Remix side

The remix of Galaga has a few things going for it that make it more enjoyable than the arcade version: the boss battles offer a new level of difficulty; you'll gain one of nine different power-ups when freeing a captured fighter, as opposed to just getting the dual-shot capability in the arcade game; and the overall gameplay is a bit easier, allowing those of us with diminished twitch skills to have more than a few minutes of fun at a time. However, both versions of the game allow you to continue where you left off when you run out of lives, so you don't have to start over at the first level, which is nice.

The Bottom Line

Overall, Galaga Remix is a solid shooter that offers new, exciting gameplay once the nostalgia value of the arcade original wears off.

Just The Facts

Galaga Remix from Namco

MSRP US$5.99

Pros:

  • The arcade side offers a nice nostalgia fix
  • The Remix side features new, exciting gameplay that builds on the original

Cons:

  • The arcade version's three control schemes are each imperfect

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