Mass Effect Galaxy

Mass Effect Galaxy is a game from , originally released 31st December, 1969

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Mass Effect Galaxy Review

Mass Effect Galaxy, from Bioware and Electronic Arts, was one of the bigger games we saw at E3 a few weeks ago. Billed as a sort of teaser for the upcoming Mass Effect 2, this game introduces you to some of the new console game’s major characters as they fight through a side story.

If that exposition was all we cared about, we’d be pretty satisfied with Mass Effect Galaxy. But we paid our $4.99 expecting to play a video game of some kind, too–and that’s where this app falls flat on its face. You’ll need one of those faster-than-light accelerators to bridge the gulf between its quality and the high expectations attached to its name.

Biotics in his left hand, Tech in his right.

Jacob Taylor, formerly one of the Human Systems Alliance’s crack super-soldiers, has been yanked out of retirement to save humanity once again. The vaguely Wookie-ish Batarians don’t play nice with the rest of the galaxy; now they’re plotting to sabotage a peace conference on the giant Citadel space station with a biological weapon. Punks!

The plot runs deeper than that, of course. There are some nice twists and turns in there, and the dialog is the same top-shelf stuff that we’ve come to expect from Mass Effect. Understandably, there’s not the same abundance of things to say–but you do get to experiment a little with “good cop vs. bad cop” choices, even if they usually come to the same outcome and don’t affect your character’s rep.

The problem is that the cool animated cutscenes and interesting conversations are bridged by an incredibly janky top-down shooter. You’re literally rolling Jacob around like a marble using tilt controls, mowing down room after room of generic mooks with auto-targeted fire. There are only three special powers (down from dozens in the console game), and they’re really not that useful anyways.

In addition to being boring, all this has next to nothing to do with Mass Effect, which was built on equipment upgrades, character-building, and sophisticated, strategic combat.

But even if those features had made it into the game in some fashion, Mass Effect Galaxy still wouldn’t be any good, because it runs terribly. Combat slows to a crawl whenever there are too many sprites on the screen at once, or if you use a special ability. The game plays like it’s half-broken, and resetting the phone doesn’t make a difference.

Mass Effect Galaxy is a thin layer of franchise floating on top of a big bucket of yuck. As it stands right now, the best things about this game are its attractive cartoon cutscenes, the kick-ass techno soundtrack, and the passable story. Nothing else is remotely worth buying.

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Mass Effect Galaxy Hands-On

We found a bank of iPhones tucked away in a corner of EA’s massive booth with some serious goodies on them. One big name was Command & Conquer: Red Alert, which we will be writing up and filming tomorrow. Another was Mass Effect Galaxy, a kind of bite-sized introduction to some of the characters that will factor heavily into Mass Effect 2. Details and video after the jump!

The star of Mass Effect Galaxy is Jacob Taylor, one mean hombre who’s equipped with powerful psionic abilities (known as “Biotics” in the ME universe) and all kinds of guns too.

Mass Effect is known for two things: real-time gunplay and lengthy conversations. Mass Effect Galaxy has a little bit of both. Combat is simple. You tilt the phone around to run around the level, while your gun auto-targets the nearest enemy. Biotic powers are accessed via touch buttons.

Dialog is handled via a scrolling menu on the right-hand side of the screen. Instead of the console game’s radial menus, various icons indicate your possible responses to whatever you just heard–thumbs up for positive, thumbs down for negative, and so on.

Although Galaxy’s art style and gameplay are very different, it still feels very much like Mass Effect. Part of that is due to distinctive little touches from the console game, like the red, triangular targeting reticles. The pulsating techno soundtrack also made the jump from console to iPhone intact.

Mass Effect Galaxy should be out sometime this summer.

Screenshots Surface For Mass Effect: Jacob’s Story

Gaming site Joystiq is reporting an apparent leak of screenshots from what appears to be a Mass Effect title for the iPhone. Reportedly a bridge between the original Mass Effect and the upcoming sequel, the story delves into the background of Jacob Taylor, “a biotic-powered super-soldier who stumbles across a plot to terrorize civilization’s greatest beacon of hope.”

Joystiq says it got the tip when a “reader recently took a survey about an upcoming Mass Effect app for the iPhone/iPod Touch,” but we at Slide To Play have been unable to track down the survey or verify its authenticity. We’ve been sitting on this for a bit, trying to follow up with Electronic Arts, but our contacts there declined comment, neither confirming nor denying the existence of the game.

Mass Effect: Jacob’s Story is a departure from the decision tree-based console RPG, instead featuring “top-down shooter combat and a stylized, cartoonish look,” according to Joystiq. The title would feature 2 hours of gameplay for a cost of $2.99.

We recognize that there is a lot of missing information surrounding this leak, and the fact that the story is attributed to a single Joystiq reader certainly raises red flags over here. We’re not ready to jump on the fanboy bandwagon for this quite yet, so keep your eyes on Slide To Play as we try to dig up more details on this.

And of course, if you have any tips, by all means send them our way.

[from Joystiq]