Thousands of years ago, someone looked up in the night sky and created the constellations, joining up stars to make arbitrary shapes and implying that a 'w' was really a woman called Cassiopeia. Now you too can join up stars with 'Galaxy' on your Windows Phone, but you have to join up all the stars with a single line in order to pass through each level in this brightly coloured puzzle game from Magma Mobile.
Version Reviewed: 188.8.131.52
Galaxy takes the constellations of the stars as the inspiration. Each level has a collection of stars on display, and your job is to link them all up with a single line - don't take your finger off the touch screen if you can help it as you trace out the level's star shape.
It's not as easy as just drawing all over the screen with your finger, because you are given guide lines to follow. The solid lines are fixed, so you must trace this line out with your finger, while the dotted lines are optional. They'll help you solve the level, but you don't have to use them. And if the stars have no lines between them, then you're out of luck.
Galaxy runs on a 'three stars' policy (like most level based puzzle games just now) where you get the full three rewards for completing each level in the shortest amount of time and in a single continuous line. You can take your finger off the screen to look at the whole level without your hand getting in the way, and you can also undo moves and step back, but these reduce your potential haul of the rewards.
With short levels that always taunt you if you haven't managed to ace them, I found myself striving to get the three stars. That's not something that I look to achieve in every puzzle game that I play, so congratulations to the Galaxy team for implementing this in such an appealing way.
Controlling the game is straightforward, just draw between the stars with your finger. It's actually a touch sluggish in operation though, and I had a number of issues when drawing two lines that came together at an acute angle. Mapping the start and end points of a line seems a little bit hit and miss. I found that doing a little loop at the end so I passed cleanly through the stars at the end of a line and started the next line helped. I'd rather have a more accurate and intelligent input system than having to do some hieroglyphics when I'm trying to draw the shapes as quickly as possible, so this is a 'must improve' note for the developers.
Nevertheless, Galaxy is still very accessible control-wise, which is a good thing. I think most people will skip over the control issue, because the issue with the level design is likely to have more impact on the user-base of the game.
The initial experience of Galaxy is of a game that looks incredibly simple. The difficulty level is kept low for the first few challenges, before a very slow ramp up in the difficulty. Because this accompanies your brain working out the first tricks of the trade, progressing through the levels feels more like hard work at a boring job than successful use of your leisure time.
Stick with it though, because one you hit the twentieth level, everything start to ramp up in difficulty and complexity and the real challenge of Galaxy kicks in. Lots of options offered by the various paths, a number of optional paths added to the fixed paths, and the introduction of a 'one way' path that you can only follow in the direction of the arrows.
Not so easy now, but far more rewarding.
I just worry that people who do not persevere though the first ten or fifteen minutes are going to be missing out on a fun, albeit challenging, little puzzle game. It deserves to be seen by more than the hardcore puzzlers (like myself) who pounce on everything. By removing the majority of the challenge on the first levels (presumably to make the game more accessible), developer Magma Mobile has actually stripped away the core feature, and I fear that this will diminish the number of users who will stick with this game.
Galaxy relies on in-app advertising as a revenue generator. Unlike other titles, there doesn't seem to be a way to pay to remove the adverts, nor is there a 'Pro' version without advertising in the Windows Phone Store. That means the developers will only get money if they can generate enough clicks and views of the adverts in-game. I feel the shallow difficulty will put a lot of potential players off, and that is going to reduce Magma Mobile's income.
There's a good game under here, but the user input and level design have some small issues that will hold back the title from greatness. Definitely worth a look (and it is a free download) but prepare for the feeling that there is more in this concept than Galaxy currently offers.
Reviewed by Ewan Spence at