We like to play games with personality, and while the names of the characters in Galactic Gunner are uninspiring (it’s just you and Captain, Wingman A, and Wingman B), their voices alone carry a lot of charm.
Captain is a catchphrase-blurting Aussie, a sort of Steve Irwin in space, who even makes wisecracks on the level select screen. Wingman A is a Gomer Pyle dunce, constantly flying in front of your view. And Wingman B plays it totally straight, in a supporting role that could just as easily be Red 6 from Star Wars.
These screenshots haven’t learned humility.
And speaking of Star Wars, the gameplay in Galactic Gunner is just like the on-rail shooting we remember from the Rebel Assault games of the early 90s, except with Trepidoids instead of TIE fighters. You just tap the screen to fire your ship’s lasers at asteroids and enemies, and we had no issues with the game registering our accuracy.
A few levels also have you skimming the surface of massive space structures. In Galactic Gunner they’re a space station called Colossal 4 and the Trepidoid Mothership, but they might as well be Star Destroyers.
This is a good thing’”instead of waiting for a proper licensed Star Wars shooter on the handheld, the Edis brothers have gone ahead and made their own homage. Even the music is appropriately Williams-esque, although we don’t think the hilarious closing credits song by the band “Puke In Your Spacesuit” will be Oscar-nominated any time soon. Sample lyrics: “He’s a galactic gunner/ Space has never been funner.”
As much fun as it is, Galactic Gunner is a bit on the short side. It contains just six main missions and one bonus mission. The game forces you to replay each level until you have a high enough score to proceed, and you’ll probably play each mission at least twice to get a high enough accuracy and percentage of targets destroyed. At least you can skip ahead temporarily if you end up dying too many times in one session.
For a buck, Galactic Gunner is a solid buy. It’s a tightly focused and memorable shooter with a lot of clever humor. This game owes a lot to Star Wars, but then again, what sci-fi action entertainment doesn’t?