“Better late than never”, the saying goes. In the fast-moving world of video games, though, that’s not always the case.
Very often a game will make an appearance on a new platform far too late, its thunder having been well and truly stolen by an opportunistic copycat.
Has Galcon, an innovative RTS that appeared on iPhone two years ago, left it too late to make an impact on Android?
Battle of the planets
It was beaten to the punch long ago, as it happens. Archipelago, which we reviewed last year, is a very similar slice of stripped back strategy. Very good it is, too.
Galcon is better. It’s got more modes - including multiplayer - and it’s better looking.
The game strips RTS conventions back to the core. You start with a collection of planets of various sizes. Most are a neutral grey colour, while the few planets under your control are green, and contain an ever increasing number denoting the forces at your command.
By selecting your planet(s) and then a neutral planet, half of your planet’s forces will embark on a colonising mission. As long as they outnumber the figure on the target planet, it’ll turn to your colour.
The trouble is, there’s an enemy doing the same thing. The goal is to colonise every enemy planet while protecting your own territory.Universe of possibilities
There are plenty of tactics that emerge from this, like selecting a number of your planets before attacking in order to amass a huge armada. This can take time, depending on distance, so a canny opponent will spot the fleet and reinforce the targeted planet with forces from their other planets.
You won’t get such sharp opposition on the lower difficulty levels, but on the tougher ones – and particularly in multiplayer – you’ll have to be on your toes.
That’s right: Galcon has real-time multiplayer, both locally and across the internet. The setup process remains the same hassle as it was when we reviewed the iPhone version, but once it’s done it’s quite straightforward. More importantly, though, it’s brilliant fun and well worth the effort.
Even if multiplayer’s not your thing, Galcon offers plenty to the solo player. As well as the four difficulty levels, there are five modes of play, each offering a considerably different take on the game. For example, Stealth doesn’t show any fleet movements, so the first you know of an enemy attack is when your troop numbers start ticking down.
It’s this variety on top of an already excellent core system that makes Galcon relevant even two years after its iPhone debut, and arguably the best strategy game on Android.