It's super space puzzle action! In space! And, you get to be a delivery boy! In space! How could life get any more exciting than that? How about pirates, a snarky robot companion, a boss with an attitude to match his mustache, black holes, portals, and bombs? There, that should do it. The comedy-laden puzzle game Galaxy Express for iOS devices is all about twisting your brain while making you laugh, and it does so while looking spectacular!
Fresh from your two week vacation, you play as Johnny, delivery boy and "expert" pilot. Making deliveries and hitting waypoints is no easy task, as space flight is a complex feat. Fortunately you can accomplish marvelous things with nothing more than a few directional arrows in your inventory. The ship flies in a straight line, turning each time it encounters an obstacle or a wall. By placing arrows on the grid, you can affect where it goes, sending it all sorts of places before finally arriving at the planet/goal. Easy, right? And before you think it, yes, it's a bit like ChuChu Rocket.
Galaxy Express only gets better as the levels progress, and there are around 100 of them to keep you quite busy. New elements are introduced at a nice pace, allowing you the privilege of contending with enemy space pirate ships, cannons, black holes, bombs, and wormholes. Bombs add layers of puzzles to levels, forcing you to think about what will be in their vicinity when they go boom. Will it be your enemies in pieces? Asteroids? Your own ship? Plan ahead and use those arrows wisely. Wormholes are portals that send you to other parts of the level, adding a bit of trickery where you can get to different areas by entering a portal via a different direction. Sneaky!
Analysis: Simple on the surface but with layers of complexity, that's exactly what you want in a mobile puzzle game. Galaxy Express embodies a smart balance of challenge, off-beat humor, and creative level design. Frustration never really enters the equation, even though you'll get stumped more than once. It's just pure puzzle solving, pirate avoiding, package delivering fun!
The extras in Galaxy Express really round out the experience, adding things like bonus levels and neat achievements you can work towards. A level editor is in the works and should release soon, which will really open the game up for some wild times. The story, too, adds to the experience, introducing some characters who are one or two quarks short of a proton. Your mechanical companion Kim-bot accompanies you, and she's as full of sarcasm as she is metal. Every time you complete a level she seems completely shocked, which doesn't exactly help your morale. But hey, she has lovely eyes, doesn't she?
Frugality is greatly rewarded in this mobile game, and the fewer arrows you manage to use in each level, the better. Scores are saved locally so you can try to best your own solutions, and the top online scores are shown right beside your own, allowing you to see how good you are compared to other Galaxy Express players. Many games of the "place stuff on a grid to direct other stuff around" genre tend to go overboard with puzzle pieces, but this one keeps things basic, and for that it's a hundred times as rewarding.
A near-perfect puzzle game with great visual effects and plenty of content to keep you coming back for more. Plus, that music playing on the title screen is way too catchy!