In the pantheon of awesome business cards it would be hard to top this one: Captain Galactic, “Super Space Hero”. You could flash it around when you were not busy knocking out aliens and saving innocent civilians. In this game you will get to knock out plenty of aliens and save plenty of civilians. Unfortunately, this turns out to be a lot more monotonous and frustrating than it sounds.
Captain Galactic: Super Space Hero is a 2D game where you fly around planets collecting coins, powerups, and rescuing survivors who have been abducted by aliens. The game is controlled with a slider and a button. The slider makes you run left or right on the planet and the button makes you fly into orbit around the planet that you are on. If you release the button while in flight you slingshot away from the planet and either fly to a neighboring one or come smashing back down. So far, so good.
Eat fist, Pac Man!
Each level is timed, so you have to find a way to collect all of the survivors on a map and get them to your ship before time runs out. Slowing you down are a handful of enemies. Some can simply be kicked off of the planet while others need to be smashed with your slingshot attack. Getting hit by an enemy causes you to be temporarily stunned and spills all of the survivors you have collected around the level, which ends up being both time-consuming and annoying.
We have seen physics-based games such as Kamikaze Robots which simplify movement to one button, and more complicated ones such as Sway which gives you total control over all aspects of your movement. Captain Galactic falls somewhere in between.
It doesn’t feel like you have exact control over your character, or that it has been simplified enough that you can stay in control at all times. This becomes apparent in levels with a lot of planets that are close together. We found that it was often hard to predict how the gravity of the planets would interact and as a result we went careening wildly into some enemy, ruining our progress.
Another issue with the game is the lack of interesting variety in the levels. Though the game does add a few new types of planets that mix up the game slightly, they don’t really alter the gameplay enough to keep it feeling fresh. The handful of boss levels are all quite similar and are seldom very difficult. You would be hard-pressed to be able to distinguish between most of the levels throughout the game.
If you do end up enjoying the game enough to play through the levels again, you can go for a three star rating by completing them quickly and getting a majority of the collectibles on each level, though we found that we often got the maximum rating on our first play through.
Captain Galaxy smash!
The presentation of the game is pretty good. It has a cartoonish look and, despite some occasional hiccups on our 3GS, moves well. The music is also appropriate, being an approximate mix of the score of a Superman and Star Trek movie. If you get tired of the game tracks, it also has an iPod option so you can choose your own tunes.
There is a perfunctory story, usually presented via dialog with your robot companion, that is not bad, but also does not add dramatically to the game since most of the levels are so similar. We would have liked to see some more variety or real puzzle solving to mix things up.
Despite it not have any single glaring flaw, we feel that Digital Chocolate did not take advantage of the cool concept behind Captain Galactic: Super Space Hero. The controls are neither tight enough to execute what you want to do consistently nor loose enough to give us the liberating feeling of flying around. This combined with the repetitive nature of the levels sucked a lot of the fun out of the game for us. Some people might find the gameplay satisfying, but without a lite version to try, we recommend that you consider some of the other excellent action titles on the App Store.