Unlikely to set anything on fire.

Flying amongst the stars and dodging lasers, each of which could spell a quick trip to the cold embrace of the black infinite void sounds pretty romantic.

Horrifying, but romantic.

I think that’s one of the reasons that makes space combat seem so appealing. We’ve seen it in movies like Star Wars and other bits of sci-fi cinema, but as far as its representation in gaming, there honestly isn’t too much. The title that immediately comes to mind is Starfox. Regardless of its recent failings, it’s a series I have enjoyed in the past and would like to see on the Switch at some point, as there weren’t any games in the genre on that platform just yet.

Perhaps seeing this opportunity, the folks at Deep Silver have decided to port over their mobile game, “Manticore: Galaxy of Fire 3” to the Switch hoping to capitalize on this genre gap with less than favorable results.

The combat seems fine initially but gets old very quickly.

After a cataclysmic event referred to as the “Shattering”, the hierarchy of power throughout the galaxy is thrown into disarray, and as the newest addition to the mercenary band “Manticore”, the pilot finds his skills in high demand.

To call the overarching story in Galaxy on Fire would be putting it kindly but at the very least, it didn’t get in the way as it remained firmly rooted in the background with only minor bits of dialogue and infrequent in-game cutscenes to move things along.

Despite being retitled sans the number, this is still very much the third game in the series, which meant I was jumping in unfamiliar with its universe and characters, which didn’t help the narrative either. That goes doubly for the performances in the game, as the voice actors seem to have phoned in their work, and even though there were one or two characters that tried to show off something that resembled a personality, it came off as uninspired and a shallow imitation of a much better character in some other game.

As for the meat of the game, most of the time I was out there in the vacuum of space, generally doing one of two things, escorting/protecting something or hunting down a bounty. There were a few missions that tried to mix things up but those felt like half-baked ideas that seemed better in concept than in execution. While I certainly appreciate the attempt at trying to vary up the activities to stem the relentless tides of tedium of fighting the same kind of ships over and over, in this case, it only showed the shortcomings of the overly simplistic combat engine.

While in a ship, I had free reign to go where I pleased, given I pleased only to move within a relatively small battle arena with invisible boundaries that marked the mission area. Shooting down enemy combatants was as simple as shooting into a red circle associated with their positioning, and while the novelty of landing some good rockets and taking down one fighting after another was enjoyable, it quickly became tiresome as it lacked any real challenge.

I coasted through almost every mission with the plan of doing as much damage as I could and just doing evasive maneuvers until my shield charged back and repeating the process.

After completing a mission, I was free to roam the level I completed looking for collectibles, but the vast majority of the things to be found were intel fragments which felt as desirable to pick up as a old, rusted penny covered in sewage.

I don’t need or want it.

The good stuff like parts to a ship were limited to one a level and required that I collect way too many for me to actually get anything worthwhile.

Just imagine if you were playing a Zelda game and after finding your first piece of a heart container that you needed 11 more of them just to get one heart. It’s important to pace out the rewards in such a way that it feels exciting to track down these items.

I wonder who I’ll be escorting or hunting this time?!

Truly, I think the good folks at Deep Silver are a talented bunch, capable of making great games. Seeing them relegated to porting a mediocre game from the mobile devices instead of creating a new title that would better showcase their talent as well as the strength of the platform is a shame indeed. If you’ve been waiting for a quality game to fill that void until Star Fox makes a return on the Switch, you best keep waiting.

Fun Tidbit – There are certainly cases of mobile games making the transition to the other major platforms with success but I think there are certain qualifications that need to be met before considering whether or not such a port would be worth it.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Dogfights in space can be fun for a little while
  • Uninteresting story and lackluster performances
  • Gets repetitive extremely quickly
  • Slow sense of progression
Written by
Jae has been a gamer ever since he got a Nintendo when he was just a child. He has a passion for games and enjoys writing. While he worries about the direction gaming as a medium might be headed, he's too busy playing games to do anything about it.