Its ugly presentation, poorly explained rules, short campaign and lack of difficulty make Galcon Labs vapid and unimpressive from beginning to end.
The PlayStation Minis program has always been about small and simple to understand titles and Galcon Labs is no exception to the rule. Sadly, its ugly presentation, poorly explained rules, short campaign and lack of difficulty make Galcon Labs vapid and unimpressive from beginning to end.
In Galcon Labs, you see a grid with several planets and you control a large celestial body of your own and your objective consists of invading all the nearby planets using a fleet of ships. Each planet has a number on it which indicates how many ships it contains (and as long as you’re in control of the planet, it keeps producing ships over time) or in case it’s a neutral, how many ships you need to send there to occupy it. Once you send enough ships, those planets become part of your team and will be able to produce ships for you.
The campaign has twenty different levels and as you progress through the game, the enemy becomes smarter and the number of enemy ships will no longer be displayed, so you need to rely on your intuition to complete some of the latter levels. There’s also a special modes called stealth mission where you can’t see enemy fleets, crash mission where enemy fleets can collide each other, assassin mission where you must conquer your target. Finally, fusion mode allows you to play different types of levels freely. This is a simple variation of the campaign that you unlock as you progress through the game and it won’t hold your attention for long. Regardless of the mode they belong to, most levels are extremely fast-paced and you can finish them in less than five minutes, but they are also simplistic and uninspired.
But this is a deceptively simple game. Although I plowed through the first half of the game, I got stuck in some of the latter levels and it wasn’t an issue of difficulty. The game does a poor job of explaining its objectives clearly, so I never realized why I was losing so often. Most of the times, I had more planets than my opponent, but I was still seeing the game over screen a few seconds after the match started. Unfortunately, the help tab on the main menu was too short and it omitted important information.
But that’s not the game’s only flaw. The presentation is lackluster to say the least and while most Minis make great use of their visuals and music, Galcon Labs just looks obtuse and rough around the edges. In other words, I don’t see anyone coming back just to see pretty visuals or hear its attractive music and the lack of depth and unexplained mechanics also doesn’t help. Some Minis are worth playing. Unfortunately, Galcon Labs doesn’t belong on that list.