Galaxy On Fire
| Galaxy on Fire

Socks inspire fickle friendships. When you've worn a thick cotton pair from Calvin Klein, for instance, it's mighty hard to go back to a poly-cotton three-pack from M&S.

We suspect we're going to have a similar problem playing mobile phone games now we've experienced Galaxy On Fire.

To say that it's a great mobile game is an understatement: we struggle to think of another that's as polished, accomplished and that has so successfully realised its potential.

Over the years we've come to expect that mobile games, while good, often have grander ambitions than they've ever got a hope of meeting. It's understandable given the limited hardware that mobile game designers have to work with and the fact that, when they make a game, they have to ensure it'll work on dozens, if not hundreds of different handsets.

This means that when we come across a driving game, it's more often a 2D effort. Or, if it's a platform game, it's a simple side-scrolling affair. Again, this doesn't make them bad, but you approach them with a different level of expectation than you would a game on a different platform, such as a PSP.

Galaxy On Fire is the first mobile game to take those expectations and throw them back in our faces. It is, quite simply, amazing.

Firstly, you've got visuals that, honestly, wouldn't look out of place on PSP. They are phenomenally detailed and smooth – there's none of that stop-frame jerkiness that sometimes dogs 3D games.

Granted, that's probably because there's relatively little scenery to be drawn on screen in the middle of space, but it's still a rich environment. Strapped into your space fighter, you'll be zipping through asteroid fields, buzzing around large freighters like a fly around an elephant and engaging in interstellar dogfights that are as fluid as 25-year-old scotch.

Then there are the controls, which are responsive and finely-tuned. Working best on phones with a thumbstick as opposed to a directional pad, Galaxy on Fire enables you to fly anywhere you want without ever making you feel as if you're not really a part of the directional process.

In those dogfights and bouts of laser-based space combat you'll be glad of this, because there's a lot of action on offer.

Playing a freelance fighter pilot on the outer fringes of human space, you're hired to fight off the invading enemies of Terran, as Earth is now known.

Starting out with a nippy, if under-armed, scout-class ship, you get money for completing missions. These usually involve combat as you join offensive sorties, escort freighters and fend off enemy incursions into your space. But there's also an element of trading involved as you can collect cargo when you're out and about, trading it when you get back to the mothership.

Your profits can then be spent on upgrading your ship or buying a new one altogether – just one of several reasons you'll return to Galaxy On Fire time and time again. The storyline is remarkably involving and the sense of progress is so tangible that you'll be dying to get stuck back in. (Veteran gamers, meanwhile, might be glad simply to be taken back to the classic Elite-style gameplay of their schooldays).

Yes, there are faults. The music is ear-cloggingly bad (but can be turned off) and it's hard to judge distance – you might think that you're much further away from that asteroid than you really are, leading to more than one unfortunate collision.

But these issues are like complaining about a speck of lint on your new suit. They're easily overlooked and don't spoil the overall effect.

If you have a mobile phone that's capable of playing Galaxy On Fire (and not the compensatory 2D version that's a poor alternative) then you should get it: it'll excite, amaze and entertain you like no other game before it.

Galaxy On Fire

Phenomenally good, this'll change the way you think about mobile phone games forever