Game Reviews

Paper Galaxy

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First published: | Updated:

| Paper Galaxy
Paper Galaxy
| Paper Galaxy

Since the arrival of Temple Run, and the legion of copycats that trailed behind it like pilot fish on a shark, the endless-running genre has become all about the chase.

No longer is it enough to simply leap towards the heavens, Doodle Jump-style - now our virtual heroes won’t take a step unless there's something nasty hot on their heels.

Paper Galaxy might seem like a cuddly little highscore-chaser in which you bounce between grinning planets collecting tinkling stars, but dawdle too long and there's a giant space crab just waiting for the chance to show off his killer pincer move.

It's a good thing he's there, too, as the cranky crustacean adds a frisson of tension and a dash of urgency to a title that's otherwise all charm and little challenge.

Faster than light

You control Luna, a tiny lost moon trying to make it back to Earth before being turned into crab meat (that is, meat for a crab.)

Fortunately, and bizarrely, Luna also has a cold, and each sneeze flings her between the endless array of oddball planets that inhabit the galaxy.

Once she's in orbit around a planet, Luna spins in circles until you tap the screen at the right moment to bounce her to a nearby planet. It's an elegant one-touch, system that's perfect for casual gameplay.

If you miss, Luna just keeps floating in that direction until you hit another planet, although she loses momentum with each passing second. You'll soon realise that the secret to high scores is to constantly pick up and maintain speed by aiming for planets that spin you faster, or - a personal favourite - the planet that lifts his top hat to give you a quick boost.

There are hazards to avoid, too, like black holes that suck you in and speed up time (turbo-charging the crab in the process) and walls of ice that freeze Luna until you smash off the chill.

Intergalactic, planetary

Ostensibly, the goal is to beat your own highscore, but the real purpose of each run is to collect enough stars to unlock one of the staggering 120 upgrades that incrementally make Luna's job a little bit easier. These include Super Sneezes, which hurl you far ahead in the galaxy to extra planets that recharge powers, and meteors you can hitch a ride on.

Even though Paper Galaxy is a paid app, it also contains in-app purchases, letting you buy stars when the supply seems too stingy. This is all very well, but the game gives you very little incentive to fork out.

Without online leaderboards to showcase your planet-hopping skills on, Paper Galaxy fails to escape the orbit of its own repetitive gameplay. It's fun for a while, but when it comes to motivation an imaginary crab is simply no substitute for a few competitive humans.

Paper Galaxy

A family-friendly spin on the Temple Run formula that's quite gorgeous to watch, but desperately needs leaderboards to keep you space-hopping
Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
A newspaper reporter turned games journo, Paul's first ever console was an original white Game Boy (still in working order, albeit with a yellowing tinge and 30 second battery life). Now he writes about Android with a style positively dripping in Honeycomb, stuffed with Gingerbread and coated with Froyo