Mass Effect: Galaxy – A Mobile Scratch for the Mass Effect Itch
Written by Colby Sorensen Wednesday, 30 November 2011 12:00
If you’re like me you were probably greatly disappointed by the delay of Bioware’s grand finally of the Mass Effect trilogy, especially considering the fact that an additional multiplayer layer is the reason for the delay. I’ve long since forgiven Bioware and EA seeing how there are more games out this holiday season than any reasonable human being can play over the stretch of a couple months. That being said, a recent EA sale on the iTunes App Store brought the gem Mass Effect: Galaxy for iPhone to the top of the charts again and to my attention.
Mass Effect: Galaxy was published in 2009 between the first two Mass Effect games and includes some of the characters from ME2, but it is by no means essential to the Mass Effect canon. You play as Jacob Taylor, a soldier who’s hung up his proverbial soldiering boots only to be once again dragged into intergalactic warfare while on vacation. The plot is singular and straight forward, no side quests or universe affecting choices here, I’m afraid. There are a wide variety of characters, from a plethora of the species that inhabit the Mass Effect galaxy, but none are particularly memorable, including Jacob. The story has Jacob racing across the universe shooting dudes in the face and selecting things to say in order to foil a planned attack on the Citadel.
The gameplay is best described as a top down twin-stick shooter, only without the sticks. You tilt the device to control the direction that Jacob moves in and you tap any enemy to select him as your target. Whenever there is a clear line of fire, Jacob will automatically fire at his enemies. There are pickups, powerups and three special powers – biotic, engineering, and a powershot that are also a part of your arsenal. The combat is easy, I never had to replay a room more than once, but it is also satisfying. The only other interactivity involved is selecting dialogue options for Jacob as he encounters others along his path. I am still not sure if my dialogue choices had any affect on the game, except for the very end, which takes away almost all value for these sections. The most important aspect of both the combat and dialogue are that they’re bite-size, each room only has a couple enemies and then it’s over, you save and move on to a new room, great for if you only have a few moments to play. It takes longer to watch the opening animation and get your game loaded than to play through a few rooms, so I would recommend not multi-tasking while playing this game, because every time you leave to another application and then return the game makes you re-watch the opening.
My favorite part was just being in the Mass Effect universe. The sound design is amazing, the music and sound effects made me feel like I was playing a fully-fledged Mass Effect game. The dialogue sequences are not voice acted, it’s all text, but some of the cut scenes are voice acted and they are amazing. It made me feel like I was watching a Mass Effect version of the Star Wars: Clone Wars cartoon series. They are beautifully done. This game does gut out almost all of what makes the Mass Effect games great – the RPG elements, the interactions with other members of your team, and making decisions that actually affect how the game plays out, and it is only a couple hours long, but it just may aid in holding you over until March 6, 2012.