Being the Mass Effect fan that I am, I had to try the new Mass Effect game exclusive to iPhone/iPod Touch. If you’ve been following my (somewhat inconsistently updated) blog, then you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Mass Effect, despite not having quite finished the first game, although I did end up going on YouTube and watching what happens from beginning to end in the game!
Mass Effect Galaxy takes place between the first Mass Effect game and the upcoming sequel. You don’t play as Commander Shepard, the main character in the Mass Effect games, but as a new character called Jacob, who will play a big role in Mass Effect 2. This game doesn’t feature Shepard at all, and is a complete side story away from the main plot of Mass Effect 1 and 2.
After the events of Mass Effect, the Alliance are gaining more power in Citadel Space, and more of a reputation amongst the Council races. As was hinted in the first game, the Batarian race don’t like this at all, and have taken it amongst themselves to try do something about it! As Jacob, you’re on some spaceship when Batarian terrorists attack.
Being an iPhone game, there’s only so much that can be done. I rather liked the conversation choices. Similar to the elder sibling on Xbox, ME Galaxy gives you the option to choose your answers to questions and give different statements in conversations, altering the path you take. In ME Galaxy, the effect it has on the game is fairly minimal, simply avoiding certain combats or not.
The combat is pretty straightforward and nothing like the console version. You simple use the iPhone accelerometer to move your character around from a birds-eye view, with your character automatically doing the shooting. You have a few extra attacks available on the right hand side of the screen, and you tap on an enemy to target them. The combat doesn’t really play particularly well, and becomes far too repetitive early on.
The redeeming feature of this game is the colourful almost anime-style artwork used. Think of the game as having two ‘modes’, one where you are in conversation and the other in combat. In conversation, everything is well drawn and the background environments are given nice details, similar to Mass Effect on 360. The combat on the other hand looks like sprites running around on a pre-rendered background, nothing spectacular.
A major flaw with the game is its inability to run on a first generation iPhone. Sure, you can go and download it, only to be hit with excruciating loading times and completely unplayable combat. There is no reason for this game to run so appallingly on the first generation iPhone, since it does nothing spectacular technically at all. It really must be coded inefficiently to run so poorly. It’s rumoured that a patch is on its way to fix this flaw.
Having said that, it does run perfectly fine on a second generation iPod Touch, which have faster processors. I haven’t tried it on an iPhone 3G, although I assume it will run fine, as well as the new iPhone 3G S.
On the whole, it’s difficult to rate Mass Effect Galaxy. On one hand, it’s a very nice side quest for Mass Effect fans, giving you a taste of the environment once again and a couple of new characters from the upcoming Mass Effect 2. On the other hand, it’s short, it took about 3 hours max, going slow, for me to complete it. The combat isn’t great either and pretty repetitive. Therefore, it becomes an interactive storybook. Think wisely before paying, although it’s only a couple of pounds at the moment.