You could argue that smartphones and tablets have narrowed the scope of gaming.
A smaller screen calls for more focus, leaving the big-picture gameplay of certain genres feeling a little squashed. You're not staring into the vastness of space so much as squinting at a tiny corner of it.
That's certainly something that Galactic Conflict suffers from, but it's not its main problem. This tale of space-faring combat is, in the end, knee-capped by the battles that it wages. It's not about the tactics - it's about the numbers.Tute on
After a tutorial that lasts around an hour, the campaign throws you into a small section of the universe and gives you a planet to defend. You need to build mines, then use the deposits you dig up to create a space fleet.
To begin with you're restricted to small fighters and bombers. As the game progresses, though, you'll create bigger, stronger ships to combat the alien threat in your sector. A paper-thin narrative about personal vengeance holds these skirmishes together.
You'll spend most of your time with your head in a menu, watching your metal and crystal counts tick up and then spending them on more warships. And this is a game where having more ships is always the best way to win.
Tactics are limited to ship selection, and while there are reams of menus and statistics to wade through, in the end you just need to have more guns than the other side.
It's easy to get overwhelmed quickly if you focus on other areas. On the first level I managed to get entirely stuck, with all of my ships and mines destroyed and no way of getting any more ore to make new ones.
It's a trap
The controls work well. Button placement is sensible, and while the menus obscure the whole screen, this is a game that doesn't care about the small things like pilots dying. Battles often occur with no input from you, with your forces automatically striking at anything that comes too close.
For beginners, or those without a solid grounding in real-time strategy and management, the game is a slow-paced trudge through explanations and hefty difficulty spikes. There's a lot to remember, and when you're being rushed by a hundred star fighters it's likely you'll panic.
You never really feel like you're at the beginning of a galactic empire - more like the steward of a series of spaceship factories with a quota to meet. Get that part right and the galaxy belongs to you, but victories often feel hollow.
Add to all this a bland art-style and some odd dialogue choices and you're left with a game that lacks any real spark in single-player. The inevitable multiplayer mode is more enjoyable, as you'd imagine, but it still relies too heavily on the uninspiring combat.Not so hyper drive
Galactic Conflict's focus is on the brute strength aspect of real-time strategy, and because of that it feels flat. Controlling your armies with a series of taps and watching them fly off to death or victory while you scroll through menus and watch metal deposit numbers increase is both cold and uninteresting.
There's a solid game here somewhere, but in the end it turns in the wrong direction, leaving you dreaming of interstellar conflict and colonisation while you manage a sadly underwhelming inventory of rocks.