This past June, a refreshed take on the arcade classic Galaga was soft-launched by Bandai Namco in select countries with surprisingly little fanfare, given how beloved the Galaga series is. In a similarly low-key fashion, that game, called Galaga Wars (Free), has exited its soft-launch period and is now available worldwide. At least I think it’s worldwide, I can’t go around checking every country or anything you know, but it’s definitely out in the US App Store because I just downloaded it! And let me just say that this game is freaking fantastic. The original Galaga is perhaps my favorite classic arcade game, and there’s nothing scarier than seeing a company trying to “improve" one of its classic franchises for a modern audience. There’s just so much potential to sully the good name of such a beloved game, but that’s definitely not the case in Galaga Wars.
In Galaga Wars you’ll face off against endless waves of baddies across multiple sectors, which include some pretty epic boss fights. The graphics are colorful and in 3D now, but they retain the essence of the originals, as does the remixed soundtrack. There’s some new power-ups to obtain and use, and there’s multiple playable ships which include the iconic spacecrafts from other Namco classics like Galaxian, Starblade, and Xevious. Oh, and you can most definitely still do the “rescue a ship and connect to it to create a double ship of death" that Galaga is most famous for. Most importantly of all, though, is that Galaga Wars feels like Galaga when you play. I mean, a Galaga where you can move your ship anywhere on the screen as opposed to being confined to just the bottom, but Galaga nonetheless. It’s a blast.
While they nailed the look and feel of Galaga Wars, that free with ads and IAP pay model can also be quite scary, but it actually seems surprisingly even-handed. You earn coins during play which you can use to upgrade each ship’s special abilities, or to continue a game (once) after dying. Coins come in at a decent clip, but there’s a $2.99 coin doubler you can buy if you want to speed up progression. The 3 additional ships can also be purchased for 99¢ each, and for the first 48 hours after you first launch the game there’s a special Welcome Package that gives you the Starblade ship AND 1000 coins for that same 99¢. Oh, and any purchase removes the static ads but retains the opt-in video ads which you can watch to continue a game or earn extra bonuses. There ARE timers associated with upgrades, which is slightly annoying, but there’s nothing that actually hinders you from playing at any time, so I can deal. It really feels like they hit the sweet spot here in terms of pay model.
So Galaga fans old and new, don’t let Galaga Wars slip under your radar. Download it for free and check it out, and then drop by our forums to let the rest of the community know what you think.