EA's missing link between Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 popped up on the App Store this evening, promising a gripping storyline, the ability to unleash a torrent of firepower, and insider information information on upcoming characters in the Mass Effect universe.
Mass Effect Galaxy [App Store] is a game with two parts, arcade style combat and multiple choice conversations. During combat, your character is moved using the accelerometer. Tapping enemies on screens locks on to them and you auto-fire until your target is dead. Enemies return fire with slow moving laser beams, which I found to be fairly easy to avoid in the combat encounters I've played so far.
The right side of the screen is lined with buttons that freeze enemies, launch grenades, and disable shields. Overall, the combat isn't very much fun, mostly because of how little control you have of what's going on. It feels like the game is on auto-pilot, and you're just tilting to get your character in range to automatically shoot something. Even "boss" encounters have been fairly simple, largely in part to a generous supply of health and shield power ups and slow moving, easily avoidable enemy fire.
The second part of the game consists of cut scenes and dialog. When speaking to characters in game, you generally have multiple choices similar to the other Mass Effect games. The problem is, your available options are fairly narrow, and generally all say the same thing. The only realy choice is if you're going to respond as if you're a benevolent space hero or a mischevious prankster.
To make things worse, these choices haven't had an effect on the outcome of any of the dialog portions I've replayed with opposite responses, making the entire exercise fairly pointless. In the E3 video below, the EA representative walking us through the game explains that in some later conversations there are choices that affect the outcome, but always having multiple options available earlier even when they do nothing seems like a waste of time.
I'm sure hardcore fans of the Mass Effect universe will enjoy getting a head start on the plot of Mass Effect 2, but for players like myself who didn't make it too far into Mass Effect (or haven't played it at all), Mass Effect Galaxy doesn't bring much to the table.
App Store Link: Mass Effect Galaxy, $4.99