Galcon Legends PC and mobile Developed by Hassey Released in 2014
When you get down to it, all real-time strategy is about is clicking your dudes and sending them to the right locations. Of course there are many layers of gameplay around it most of the time, you got unit production, tech trees, and building management to account for in most games. Still, it can’t hurt to take a few steps back and look at the core of a genre. This is what Galcon Legends sets out to do, except it’s not very good at playing its own game.
Even in space
The story is kind of mediocre. You play as Buck, a debt collector in space whose debtors tend to be aggressive and eccentric. While you just start off harassing random people, you soon have to deal with an alien invasion, super weapons, and all sorts of madness. The game has about 23 levels, all of which have one or two lines of wacky dialogue to start them off. I’ll admit effort was put into it, but the “crazy” personalities come off as forced and unfunny.
Story score: 2/10
The bigger, the better
Gameplay has more of a priority for Galcon Legends and the concept I actually find rather appealing. The game is all about taking over planets while the enemy attempts to do the same. Each planet has a number on it, representing the amount of troops present, and by clicking on any of your planets and then selecting another, a portion of the troops on yours will start a siege. You’ll burn through a lot of those units, but with some perseverance and strength in numbers you can take over the planet, after which the remains will automatically be stationed there.
The strategy here is that the enemy will be doing the same, assaulting your planets with their own troops or taking over neutral ones to expand their reach. Planets that have been taken over will start generating new troops at a pace and maximum capacity decided by the size of the planet. Mega-planets may house hundreds of spacecraft and generate them at a steady pace, whereas many smaller planets may just be fodder. As such it’s often worthwhile to seek out larger, less defended planets instead of burning your troops on taking over small rocks with way too many dudes on them.
The fact that this is all in real-time makes it a frantic experience though. You can click planets one at a time or click & drag a box around a number of them to organize larger assaults. Trying to keep an eye on where all your troops are, where the enemy is going, where available planets are, and what positions are under attack gets really tricky, and that is what I liked most about this game. Battles had a lot of dynamic to them as enemies bounced back or I somehow missed a small planet where hundreds of troops where being transported to in order to assault my flank.
It’s simplistic yet really entertaining, with many of the enemies throughout the story having gimmicks to them that make them trickier opponents. One may destroy random planets, instantly evaporating any troops left on them, whereas another may produce troops much quicker, but have a predictable pattern to its strategies. Still, with only 23 levels I burned through the game in an hour and not helping was the AI’s baffling tendencies to mess up. Sometimes it would send its entire starting army on death marches against high-risk planets and I could just move in and take their starting position, ending matches in under 15 seconds.
On top of that it was hard to find a difficulty setting that was consistently challenging. Many battles spread throughout the entire campaign I’d steamroll with no problem, whereas some others gave me the hardest time. Some of the stages just have really overpowered AI that can command troops infinitely faster than a player and these were a real nightmare to play through. The moment I got to the first stage where you have a two-way battle I immediately remembered why I dropped this game years ago. I had to lower the difficulty all the way to ensign to even stand a chance at beating it.
Gameplay score: 6.5/10
Rough like an asteroid
The actual battle map looks fine, even if planets are just a bunch of differently-scaled circles. It’s the pre-battle cutscenes I found really unappealing. The character art has a cartoon style to it, but poor proportions and just lackluster design leaves them unappealing to look at. These scenes may be short, but they do appear constantly and clash with the style of the actual game. You see, the character art uses rather washed out colors, whereas the actual game is vibrant, with planets getting bright pink, green, and other colors with matching ships. It really demands something more lively than these static pictures.
Presentation score: 3/10
Galcon Legends has a nice idea for a strategy game here and with some tweaking I feel it could be a great game. If the AI was made more consistent and there was more content than the handful of levels available here, then it would be a blast. Even then, the story and art that was made to supplement the gameplay is definitely an issue and could do with an overhaul.