3D space trader game done right

Galaxy on Fire 2 is a fully 3D space trader game with sleek graphics, fun missions, and an engrossing storyline--as long as you can stomach the less-than-stellar voice acting.

Galaxy on Fire 2 is a fully 3D space trader game with sleek graphics, fun missions, and an engrossing storyline--as long as you can stomach the less-than-stellar voice acting. Cut scenes early in the game explain your situation: a malfunction in your hyperdrive has somehow managed to warp your ship across the galaxy and 30 years into the future. With only your basic ship and the help of friendly people at various space stations you visit, you'll slowly learn the ins and outs of equipping your ship, buying and selling commodities for cash, mining for minerals, and how to acquire side quests in space station lounges. This latest installment comes with a lot more polish than the original Galaxy on Fire, sporting smooth, beautiful graphics on the iPhone 4 Retina Display. There is an enormous amount of content to explore as you upgrade your ship and go on missions throughout the galaxy visiting over 100 different space stations.

Galaxy on Fire 2 has several cut scenes as you play, but there's plenty of shoot-'em-up action as well. You get a couple of control options for steering your ship, but I found the accelerometer-based controls to be much more responsive than the onscreen joypad. I also like how the game forces you to experiment with equipment--certain situations require you to use an EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) missile, for example, which requires you to learn how to unequip other ship parts, buy EMP missiles from a space station hanger, then equip your EMP missiles as a secondary weapon. Similarly, you'll quickly learn that you can't loot an enemy ship without first equipping a tractor beam, forcing you to go through the process of earning the money, then buying and equipping that. These experiences make it easy to understand the whole interface because the game cleverly requires you to learn the process for upgrades. Even with the smart way the game teaches you how to play, my only complaint is that you can't look at a map while in flight, but I quickly learned to check the map before leaving space stations.

Overall, Galaxy on Fire 2 is an excellent space exploration and trading game that looks and feels like a console or desktop game. If you have the time for an involved game on your iPhone or iPod Touch, Galaxy on Fire 2 has plenty of content, shockingly good visuals and audio, and support for both OpenFeint and Apple's Game Center to keep you coming back for more.

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