On July 23, 1981, Galaga, one of the most well-loved scrolling shooters of all time, made its arcade debut. In celebration of its coming 30-year anniversary, Namco has released the Galaga 30th Collection [App Store], which brings Galaxian, Galaga, Gaplus (aka Galaga 3), and Galaga '88 to iOS.

The collection is a free Universal download (for iPhone and iPad) that includes Galaxian (which is actually the first game in the Galaga series) and offers the other aforementioned titles as in-app purchases individually ($9.97 combined) or as a discounted single game-pack download at a price of $7.99. Each of the titles features reworked graphics that lend a more modern feel to the retro and an optional scan-line filter and score-tracking HUD.

There's not a whole lot to say about the gameplay that hasn't been said for the past 30 years. These are all highly enjoyable and well-loved shooters that feature excellent balance and white-knuckle action. The iOS adaptations of these games, of course, feature iOS-style controls, and of several sorts. There is a mode with two left / right sliders at the bottom of the screen, one for movement and one for movement plus autofire; a left / right slider mode with a tap to the game screen to fire, and a control mode featuring a left / right virtual stick and a fire button along the bottom. The virtual stick mode moves your ship at a speed similar to the arcade originals, while the slider modes move your ship as fast as your finger can zip back and forth across the screen.

An accumulating / depleting fast-fire battery has been added to the games in the collection, which heighten the pace of the game. It's an addition that actually feels pretty nice. I warmed up to it quickly.

Galaga, Gaplus and Galaga '88 all feature a Score Attack mode that is a race against the clock to see how high a score you can achieve, in addition to the Normal Game mode. Another enhancement found in the iOS ports is the ability to supercharge your ship by buying upgrades with Galaga Points earned as you play. All of the titles in the collection feature Game Center achievements and rankings.

Galaga 30th Collection includes a pretty epic intro movie sequence that will have longtime fans smiling, but sadly it adds some real bulk to the download, which weighs in at a hefty 135MB.

My only real gripe with the title is the total absence of the original arcade graphics as a settings option. As a huge retro fan, I would definitely be playing with the original graphics, were they available. (It's worth noting that Namco's Galaga REMIX for iPhone includes the original Galaga with original graphics.)

The star of this collection is definitely the highly acclaimed Galaga '88, but none of the games in the Galaga series disappoint in the least -- in the arcade or under iOS. The touch control options presented here are some of the best I've seen for an iOS arcade conversion, and Galaga 30th Collection really is worth a spot on any arcade shooter fan's iOS device.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Anonymous

    Galaga is by far my favorite arcade game of all time, really hope they add some iCade support and retro mode! Either way I'm loving this collection!

    • bigrand1

      Yeah, I want the retro version! 

    • Anonymous

      The problem with that idea is that this game uses a new control scheme where you have trackpad-like control. It lets you move much faster and smoother and makes the game a lot easier. On the iCade you'd be back to digital control which will be a lot harder. Of course, maybe that's not such a bad thing, but I wouldn't expect to be able to compete with the people using the touch controls.

  • Macaroon

    As a complete Galaga novice, are there huge differences between all four games? Have I experienced the basic nuts and bolts having played the free one, or is there significantly more going on in the other games to warrant buying one or more of them? Thanks.

    • Anonymous

      Galaga is quite a bit different. You can let your ship be captured, then shoot the ship holding it back down and you end up with two ships side-by-side instead of one. And you especially want to do that for the challenge rounds where having two ships is key. Mind you, I haven't played the version of Galaga in this game, only the real one. I don't remember what Gaplus is like, nor how Galaga '88 differs.

      I like this revamped Galaxians, but it's a *ton* easier then the original due to the new control scheme and rapid fire. I'm not entirely sure I like the change, but then again I suppose I don't really need to play the original again. I'm definitely considering buying the set of games.

    • Soul of Wit

      I would recommend Galaga '88 for a Galaga novice. Galaxian is quite a bit different than the other three.

      • Macaroon

        Thanks guys: ) I bought '88 in the end. It was worth it! The problem is, now I feel the itch to see what the other two are like....

        Did anyone try Warblade, an app store game I bought ages ago. I remember enjoying the hell out of it. I'm sure the dev of Warblade was influenced by Galaga somehow. Anyway, one to check out if you haven't already.

  • Skye629

    OMG I played this every time I went to a eat at a restuarant which had this must download!

  • bigrand1

    So, this isn't the original Galaga? It's modernised with different controls? I dunno. The useless movie cranks this up to 135mb! Why, oh why did they do this? I don't want that! These games shouldn't take up so much space! I just want the retro version with better controls than Galaga Remix that had terribly sluggish controls and too small of buttons!   

    • Anonymous

      It's modernized, but it's amazing. This isn't like SIIG, this is more or less the exact same game, just sharper and more fluid. Excellent homage to the original and the controls are spot on.

  • bennehftw

    so does anyone have a review of dream:scape yet? its been out since forever!

    • bigrand1

      The one using the Unreal Engine? Yes, there's a bunch of reviews here on this site to the right up above under the iphone Game Releases heading! FYI-please read it before purchasing it. There's issues with it! 

    • http://twitter.com/mikeyCAPS michael c.

      Slide to Play gave their review: http://www.slidetoplay.com/story/dreamscape-review

  • http://twitter.com/teknikal69 P Allen

    I already have Galaga Remix so I'll be skipping this. Galaga Remix has the original Arcade mode as well for people that want it that's the only reason I picked it up.

  • http://www.mc-safety.de Rettungszeichen

    Galaga is one of my all time favourites!

  • mnemo

    OMG! Galaga '88! The best shooter EVER. But where's an Xbox 360 version?? :-(

  • shadowarachh

    you left out whether or not it's iCade compatible.

    • DotComCTO

      +1. I'd like to know about this as well.

    • http://twitter.com/stickyicky97 stickyicky97

      This would seem like a no-brainer.  Come on guys, we need iCade support!  

    • Anonymous

      Indeed. I'll buy this if and when it gets iCade support.

  • fock namco

    2.99 each for galaga games!? what a joke! especially when the best games on ios can be had for 99 cents.

    • Anonymous

      Get a job.

  • http://twitter.com/drelbs drelbs

    Actually, the video is only 33.8 MB, what's taking up the most space in this app are full-screen background PNGs, especially for the shop (multiple languages)

    • Anonymous

      I knew the video wouldn't be the case. The only reason I didn't bring it up was I had no proof. There you have it folks, the size is due to the quality of the UI and accessibility to people of other cultures. Can't really moan about that.

  • professionalbum

    I as others has stated that I own already Galaga REMIX; but I am very very interested in Galaga '88.  Worth 4 bucks?  I'll wait...

  • http://www.facebook.com/PixelShock Stephen Harrell

    Let me get this straight: They took one of the arguably top 3 greatest classic arcade games and changed the controls up so you can move instantly around the bottom with a slider? Hell. No. That's like taking Ms. PacMan and adding a teleport touch feature. What on earth are they thinking?!

    • Anonymous

      You haven't played it, have you.

    • http://toucharcade.com blakespot

      As I indicated in the review, the optional virtual stick controls appear to move the ship about at the same speed as the arcade versions.

  • MichaelB

    That graphics are completely lame (why exactly did they not keep the classic feel?) and you don't even GET Galaga!  How that particular scam doesn't violate Apple's TOS is beyond me.

  • Murderin Murphy

    Sweet lord, YES!!!

    The "G" stands for "goodness".

  • Johnzootsuiter

    They've really stuffed the games right up. Especially Galaga.  Its all about squeezing maximum $$$...  Sorry Namco.. massive fail.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aaron.ardiri Aaron Ardiri

    is it me; or does that screenshot show galaxian, and not galaga? no mention of galaxian in the article - but as a retro die hard, i just wanted to point it out.

    • Mgoblin

      The article clearly says galaxian is included.

  • Alex Goodwin

    I may get flamed for this but it would be nice to see this ported to Android sometime soon.

Galaga 30th Collection Reviewed by Blake Patterson on . Rating: 4