Galaxy Storm, a space invaders re-enactment for Android
In 1978 a Japanese video game developer created a game that would make history, Space Invaders. It quickly became very popular in Japan as people started playing it on Arcade cabinets, to the point where legend says that there was a shortage of yen coins due to the popularity of the game. Then the game was brought into US and its popularity exploded, especially after Atari made a console for it and sold millions of copies.
Space Invaders became popular for its simplicity and also for the fact that it was one of the first games to introduce accompanying music that changed based on the actions of the player. It is one of the earliest games where you had to shoot up at alien ships descending in waves, while hiding under destroy-able shelters when enemy brigades attacked. If you’re older than 20 and had access to computers it’s impossible not to have played and enjoy it. Space Invaders is one of those games that it’s worthy paying thousands of dollars for a vintage Arcade cabinet and play until you get trigger fingers. Unless you play an alternative, such as one for Android devices.
Galaxy Storm is a shoot’em up Android game inspired by the Arcade classics, Space Invaders and Galaxian. Your goal is to defend Earth from waves of alien ships that descend rapidly and attack you. The game has a retro look and you can even have it display some scan lines that improve its classic look. Gameplay is very easy, you have 2 controls for direction (left and right) and a fire button. You have to control your ship (that is placed at the bottom of the screen and cannot go up) in such a way that you dodge the falling alien ships and their bombs, while shooting as accurate as possible at the waves of aliens. You can watch the video below to see how Galaxy Storm is played:
As the video reveals Galaxy Storm has very few options, which is a good thing as it reminds of the simplicity of the original Arcade game. All you can set when the game is opened is the visibility of the scan lines (on by default), that’s it. Next is just starting up the game and playing it until you get shot down (or go up a level). Galaxy Storm plays smooth on both phones and tablets and is ad-free, which improves the usability of the game. Here’s some of its main features:
- Simple, retro-style. Galaxy Storm’s best feature in my opinion is its simplicity and resemblance to the classic Arcade space invaders game. The game’s rule is simple, shoot or be shot. The waves of alien ships descend towards you and from time to time a group of ships start charging you and get very close – when you shoot those you get an extra bonus, but careful since they also shoot back and move fast. The rule is to shoot at every alien ship by estimating where it will be when your ammo reaches the upper lines – it won’t do you any good to shoot continuously as accuracy is a factor in the score you receive.
- CRT scan lines. Retro gamers remember the scanlines that were shown on old CRT screens and help inspire you that feeling you had back then. It’s very difficult to obtain an effect similar to that on modern screens (the “disadvantage” of 4k monitors), but Galaxy Storm’s developer thought of that and included an option to add these scanlines automatically if you want to. They’re easy to disable too, but retro gamers won’t even consider that.
- Powerups and bosses. From time to time in each level you’ll see a ship that moves out of the lines and looks different than the others. It’s a powerup ship and if you destroy it you get a bonus, though it won’t be an easy task especially in the beginning of each level when you have a lot of alien ships between you and the powerup. Some of the bonuses that you get when you destroy power-up ships are: blaster (rapid fire shooting), plasma (beam to destroy multiple enemies), side guns (extra gun on either side on the ship), thrust (speed-up left / right movement), shield (protection from collisions and enemy fire).
At the end of each level you’ll also have to fight against a boss ship, which you’ll recognize as it shoots faster, is bigger and more difficult to destroy.
- Sound effects. The original Space Invaders game was one of the first to synchronize the player actions with the sound and might have been just the cue to entice users into re-playing the game. Galaxy Storm has custom sound effects too and it’s nice to be accompanied by action sounds during the play.
- Easy controls. While my demo above is a bit clumsy in handling the controls of the game, that’s due to the fact that I created that demo on an emulator where you have to click with your mouse to move the ship. However when I played it on a smartphone, the controls are very responsive and easy to work with since moving left/right is done with your big thumb from the left hand, while shooting is done with your right one.
- Score bonuses. During the play you’ll see how your score increases with every ship that you destroy, with special bonuses for when you hit charging enemies and bosses. It even includes the tricky “alien-dodge” movement from a classic game plus the “chase the flagship” option – hardcore gamers understand the references.
- Free to play. Galaxy Storm is free to play and doesn’t display advertisements at all. It does offer you the option to unlock a full version, which basically gives you 3 lives instead of a single one per level.
I enjoyed playing Galaxy Storm for it reminded me of Space Invaders and Galaxian, one of my favorite childhood games (who am I kidding, childhood/teenage/mature years too). It does give you that retro feeling due to the graphics and gameplay, bonus being the CRT scanline emulator. Since it’s free, if you’re a fan of retro Arcade games you can give it a try and install it directly from Google Play here: Download Galaxy Storm