I am pretty stoked about a new addition to my iPad, Galaxy on Fire: Alliances.
Basically, we are looking at a RTS version of the Galaxy on Fire Sci-Fi RPG (which has two versions now and several expansions). Alliances just released in the US App store this week, and I have been playing since it released.
GOFA tells the story of a commander (you) who is given the rare opportunity to use a JumpGate to explore a mysterious area of the galaxy, the once impenetrable Shroud Nebula. As you begin your mission to Shroud, you first come to a choice will you be Terran (with a 5% boost to production/extraction), Vossk (with a boost decreasing ship costs and build time), or Nivelian (XXX). You will need to pick between your favorite races from GOF2 with the exception of the not-so-technologically-advanced Midorians. When the app launches for the first time (which can take a few minutes), you start as the Commander of a small isolated system within the mysterious Shroud Nebula.
The System that you initially start in is protected, allowing you to grow and expand your colony without the threats posed by the larger players and alliances. The tutorial missions do a great job of walking you through how to create your first colony and get you off of the ground with the general gameplay mechanics (see the youtube video below for a walkthrough on the first hour or so of gameplay). All of the tutorial missions are skippable, if you choose you can immediately jump off of the beaten path and start colonizing. As with most RTS Games, I strongly suggest that you go through the tutorial the because it gives you a large amount of free resources, experience, and credits.
Mining and building is where you will spend the majority of your time. Everything that you do to create your empire is centered around the mining of three resources: metal, crystal, and gas. As you level up your extractors on each planet that you control, you will increase the per hour collection rate. With one level four extractor, you can expect to get about 1.1k/h of each resource (you can boost that with several of the Technologies in the Laboratory). You cannot have enough resources! By level four, you will need to produce a large amount of these resources to move forward in the game (upgrading your HQ to Level Five costs: 32928 of each resource).
Gameplay is centered around creating and developing the strongest empire. The best way to do that is to join and be an active part in an active Alliance. Now, the alliances are full of strife and turmoil at the moment. With recent changes in the game, the alliance size has been voluntarily limited to 50 members – a change and significant issue for alliances that formerly had 700+ members. Current strategy is to have the smallest group that can compete in the challenges offered by Big Fish.
In App Purchases
The best way to win in this game, is to pay for it. You can purchase everything from in game credits to blue-prints and artifacts with real world currency. I am all about getting the best bang for your buck, and that comes as the $1.99 experience doubler. This makes you able to compete with those players that spend all of their hard earned dollars on virtual currency.
GOFA continues to be a welcome addition to the games I play everyday. While it is lacking on some strategy, it is definitely a worthy RTS game. For those that are a fan of Sci-Fi RTS games, this will definitely fill the void. If you are more into action, I would suggest you look elsewhere.