The days of screaming top-down shooters are fading fast. Ikaruga just shipped for the GameCube--hopefully, it will serve as a wake-up call rather than a dying gasp. For many though, the granddaddy of all top-down shooters in Namco's classic Galaxian, a space bug blaster than practically ate quarters out of your pocket in the 80s. The game is back, and it's ready to infest your cellphone as Galaxian Mini.


  • Classic Galaxian gameplay
  • High score board

    Galaxian was a wicked hard shooter, as you faced off against an oncoming horde of orbital insects. Wave after wave of the nasties would descend upon your ship, and if you were skilled enough to blow 'em out of the cosmos, you were treated to an even more menacing group of aliens. It's still a fun game, and is currently available on the eight-bazillion editions of the Namco Museums floating around at retail and on eBay.

    We recommend you hunt one of those classic collections down, because Galaxian Mini is, despite being just a cellphone game, a pale retread of the original. Sure, the visuals are roughly the same, but the action is so slow and the control so laborious, that you'll curse at the game for completely different reasons than you did in 1982.

    Your ship is grossly out of proportion to the alien craft. Sitting above the dead bottom of the screen, it takes up way too much space. And because the playing field is so limited--this is on a celly screen, after all--very rarely do more than four enemies attack at a time. That's what made the original such a frantic blast, you were under assault from over two dozen clever spacebugs. Where's the excitement in staring down an armada of three?

    Control is a serious issue. Using the N400's joystick, moving left to right is painless. It even works okay on the A500's touchpad. You press "0" to shoot, and that wouldn't be so bad if you didn't have to bring your ship to a complete stop to fire. That's right. Apparently, moving and firing together are far to complex for Galaxian Mini to handle. So, what's the strategy at this point? Hope to come to a stop in just the right place to blast one of the three scary aliens before it starts its swoop downwards?

    In its favor, Galaxian Mini sounds fairly decent. Most of the sounds from the original have been mimicked solidly in Galaxian Mini, sans the ship explosion, which is sorely lacking. The opening theme is present, as it the sound of the dropping aliens. These effects are certainly appreciated, but by no means do they overcome the ill-will you'll feel over the shoddy gameplay.

  • Closing Comments
    Galaxian was such a fave of mine when I was a kid, and I still drop a nostalgic quarter in any cabinet I happen across. Too bad this pocket edition is such a let-down. The controls are horrid and the lack of on-screen aliens just renders it completely un-fun. It's a shame that Namco didn't give Galaxian Mini the same TLC it showered on the cellphone versions of Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man.
    IGN Ratings for Galaxian Mini (Cell)
    Rating Description
    out of 10 Click here for ratings guide
    5.0 Presentation
    The interface is simple to understand, but it's doubtful you play long enough to use the high score board.
    5.0 Graphics
    The ship and aliens look pretty much the same as the arcade, although the starfield in pretty anemic.
    5.0 Sound
    The theme and alien effects are nice, but the lack of the shooting sound or the underwhelming explosions are sad
    2.0 Gameplay
    As Fred Willard might say: Wha' happened? Nothing like the original, and the control is awful.
    2.5 Lasting Appeal
    A decent Galaxian coulda been enjoyed for months, but there's just no reason to keep this one around.
    (out of 10)
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