The notion of ruling an entire universe may be reserved solely for Sci Fi movies and comics, but with Galcon you get to gain a sense of what it must be like to hold countless planets under your command.
This fast-paced real-time strategy game is all about overwhelming nearby worlds with your fleet of ships until the entire solar system falls under your control. Naturally, you’re not alone with your ambitions of supremacy. You’ll find that other budding interstellar dictators have equally bold plans and will fight to the death in order to stake their claim.
Galcon’s controls are fairly simple but the gameplay is tremendously addictive. You start out with a handful of planets, each one coloured to illustrate your ownership. You’ll also notice that your worlds have a number on top of them – this displays how many attack craft are currently available. This slowly builds over time, with the larger planets generating more ships.
Assuming control of a neutral or hostile world is merely a matter of battering it with ships until its own stock is reduced to zero. When initiating an attack, you launch half of a planet’s current stock of ships. This means that for an invasion to be successful, you need to ensure that the world staging the assault has at least double the number of ships as the planet you intend to claim.
Although the mechanics are straightforward, Galcon becomes incredibly taxing once the action builds up because it’s possible to launch offensives from multiple planets, turning the screen into a cacophony of colour. By double-tapping on a planet you immediately highlight all of your available worlds, and tapping a target launches half of your fleet at it in a devastating swarm of laser death.
You can tinker with the percentage of ships launched by tapping the number in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. It’s possible to toggle between sending between 25% to 100% of your ships, although messing around with this figure is only advisable if you’re totally sure of your tactics, as sending too many ships can leave your precious worlds hopelessly exposed.
Galcon comes with a plethora of modes, including Stealth (where enemy units are hidden), Three-way (where you face off against two rivals) and Vacuum (where you’re not competing against a rival but instead have to gain control of every planet as quickly as possible).
There’s also a massive range of different difficulty levels, ranging from Cabin Boy to Grand Admiral, but sadly there’s no progression through the game. Once you complete a level it merely generates another one randomly. It’s a shame that there’s no structure to the Galcon because the gameplay is near-perfect.
Thankfully, the inclusion of an online multilayer mode removes some of this disappointment. You’re assigned a player ID and can track your progress again thousands of other participants via the online leaderboards. Because the single-player portion of Galcon is so limited, you’ll find that you soon become addicted to the online component, purely because it grants a brilliant sense of development and achievement.
Galcon isn’t the only game of this type currently available on Android – Galapagos and Castle Warriors both use the same general gameplay – but it’s arguably the best. It’s blisteringly fast, incredibly involving and painfully addictive, providing you make sure you play it online as much as possible.