In a somewhat surprising move, Gameloft released its space combat game Star Battalion [$6.99] to the App Store earlier today. While Sunday releases aren't generally common, another interesting thing about Star Battalion is that it is the first game that I know of to offer online co-op using either Apple's Game Center or Gameloft's own Gameloft Live! service. Strangely, the local and online multiplayer options only extend to co-op play, as there is no option for head-to-head battles in Star Battalion.

The single player campaign features multiple missions of interstellar conflict, all of which can be played online with another player. When playing by yourself, two AI controlled wingmen play through the game with you. The usual gamut of Gameloft features have made their way into Star Battalion, including Retina Display graphics and gyroscope-enabled controls for 4th generation devices. Onscreen gestures perform barrel rolls and backflips while in the midst of battle, and there is an option for virtual control stick controls if you're not a big fan of tilting.

This lengthy preview video of the Japanese version of the game from AppBank gives you a great idea of the kind of gameplay found in Star Battalion:

Lots of player impressions have been pouring into our forums throughout the day. So far the major points covered are that the actual combat in the game is really fun and feels a little bit like Starfox (though not on-rails); the online co-op is cool but the lack of a versus mode is disappointing; the voice acting is painfully bad; and the overall game is fairly short clocking in at about 3.5 hours in one gamer's experience. However, the replayability is naturally a bit higher than this due to the online multiplayer, achievements, and leaderboards. If you're in the mood for a new space combat game with impressive graphics, and an interesting online cooperative component, then take a look at Star Battalion and be sure to share your thoughts in our forums.

  • Anonymous

    Looks pretty fun. I miss Descent :(

  • iphone jim

    So is this the first gameloft game that isn't some other better IP?

  • Collin

    sweet - looks right up my alley, but is an iPad port in the works?

  • http://twitter.com/BulkSlash BulkSlash

    A bit like Starfox? Sold!

  • EastsideStompers

    This is insane amounts of fun! I've only played the first part of the campaign, but so far brilliant! The tilt is perfect. Great graphics too. Loads of geeky background info to read on characters/ships/planets as well, to get you in the mood. Who needs a decent Star Wars game on the iDevice anyway? : )

  • Rasmus

    It's sad that Gameloft release new games before releasing old ones on iPad. Still waiting for Modern Combat 2 which Gameloft said would be released for all iOS devices early October.

    Makes me sad and feel forgotten, really.

  • Rob

    Is there an ipad version?

  • Alx

    also interested in an ipad version

  • araczynski

    ditto, might care when it hits the ipad.

  • Anonymous

    I would be tempted by this as I find the gyro based controls to be really responsive in other games, and the gesture based evasion sounds fun. But Galaxy on Fire 2 should be out soonish?

    Gonna wait for a sale on this one I think, not that the price seems unreasonable, just, how much space combat does one man need? :)

  • Alex 837

    I don't know why when I saw this it seemed to me a take on the Galaxy On Fire. Have you guys heard from it? I thought it was coming in October too, and as a universal app anyone heard anything?

  • Archimedes

    iPHONE4 USERS BEWARE! READ THIS FIRST BEFORE BUYING!!

    There was a slight slip-up in the preview from Touch Arcade. This game DOES NOT currently support Gyro controls. It's accelerometer control. Purchased this because I love Gyro but, alas, it's accel. Just a heads up. Still a decent game.

    • superninja

      Gryo Controls are used in the Cockpit View you have to press a button on the left hand side to look around

      • Archimedes

        Brilliant, sir. Absolutely brilliant. You are quite correct.

  • Ergastull

    http://www.galaxy-on-fire.com/

    Took a look at the trailer.

    I'm gonna wait 8 days more.

    • NightHawk64345

      I can't wait for GoF2. One thing I can't figure out from the trailer though, is if it is free/semi free roaming (do you only actually control your ship when you receive a mission, or can you fly between worlds if their in the same solar system).

      • http://twitter.com/Alienmario Alienmario

        as soon as you complete first missions, you can leave solar system and accept other missions (be free)gof2

  • Archimedes

    Not Galaxy on Fire Clone

    This game looks and sounds like a Galaxy on Fire clone but it really isn't. This game is much closer to, say, Warhawk on the PS2 or Starfox. Much more arcade and mostly within a planets gravity. I don't see it's likeness on the appstore. It's kinda it's own thing which is new for Gameloft.

    • http://www.appfreakblog.com appfreak

      I'm also a big fan of Galaxy on Fire and think it will be a blast. I thought it was another rip-off from the screenshots, but it reminds me more of... Rogue Squadron

      • Archimedes

        Very much like Rogue Squadron and Warhawk. If you liked either one, I'd recommend this.

  • Buklau

    Been waiting for this kind of games on the iPhone.

  • Anonymous

    Dont know why lucasarts dont put out a x-wing fighter game like this. oh well cannot wait for galaxy on fire 2

    • benj

      couldn't agree more... this just demonstrates how good x-wing or tie fighter would be on the platform!

  • Howard

    This plays EXACTLY like 'Rogue Squadron', which is a very good thing indeed. I'd love to see Rogue Squadron on iPhone!

  • Howard

    This plays EXACTLY like 'Rogue Squadron', which is a very good thing indeed. I'd love to see Rogue Squadron on iPhone!