Following up on our brief profile of developer Phil Hassey yesterday, we thought we’d review his flagship application for the iPhone, Galcon.
Galcon is a simple real time strategy game. The player player starts out controlling a single planet and a number of fleets on that planet. The rest of the play surface is covered by planets of varying sizes with different numbers assigned to them representing the number of fleet attacks it will take to take control of the various planets.
Each planet a player controls will generate additional fleets for as long as the planet is under the player’s control. The bigger a planet, the more fleets the planet will generate. Players are pitted against one to three other players in their quest to take over planets and eliminate all the enemy fleets on the screen. Featuring five game modes (classic, stealth, vacuum, beast, and 3-way) and 10 difficulty levels, Galcon is accessible to beginners while promising hours upon hours of challenging gameplay for experts.
While based on a simple concept, the strategy of Galcon can become highly complex at higher difficulty levels. Should you build your empire slowly by taking over nearby planets, or risk an immediate all-out strike at the enemy’s home planet? Should you take the time to issue orders to each individual planet under your control, or issue less precise, but quicker, mass orders to all planets by double tapping the screen? Time to break out your game theory textbooks.
The best part of the application is the multi-player mode. Galcon allows you to play online against one to three other players. While the one-player version is great, playing against real human opponents adds substantially to the fun.
The only problem I have with Galcon is that the multi-player mode is frequently not available. More often than not when I try to play multi-player, I’m confronted with a “error fetching list” message. I haven’t been able to play multi-player since yesterday.
Galcon is without a question one of the best games for the iPhone, and represents the best multi-player gaming experience available on the iPhone today (when it’s available). AppCraver gives Galcon a 9/10, and may kick it up to 10/10 once the multiplayer works consistently.