Simple, fast, and incredibly effective, Switch Galaxy is a thoroughly fun entry to the PlayStation Mobile library since it has a premise that is perfect for short gameplay bursts. Easy to control yet filled with depth due to the way tracks are presented, Atomicom has done a wonderful job at doing something different within the arcade racing genre and in turn have delivered one of the must-own games for the PlayStation Mobile platform.
+ Gameplay is tight, fast, and fun.
+ Music has a nice collection of subdued yet futuristic sounding buttery beats.
+ A surprising amount of depth is provided thanks to tracks with multiple paths to take and ship upgrades to acquire.
+ Visuals are consistent and look incredibly smooth.
- Art direction could’ve used some more variety.
A new old-school arcade inspired racing game has arrived on the PlayStation Mobile service which thankfully isn’t mediocre or almost perfect – instead it’s simply addicting. Developed by the team at Atomicom, which comprises of former veterans of the classic UK studio Psygnosis, Switch Galaxy is a simple title at its core, but the gameplay featured in it is what makes games with an arcade edge so addicting.
Drawing upon the expertise Atomicom has from making games under the Psynogsis label, which includes the classic game Wipeout, Switch Galaxy is a fast racing title with the reflex oriented action one would expect from a title whose premise involves controlling ships in the future. Not a traditional racing game as was the case with the Wipeout franchise, Switch Galaxy didn’t have me competing against other opponents in a standard track as it instead had me racing against the clock as I sped down an intergalactic highway.
It’s this premise which sets Switch Galaxy apart as it not only makes for a game that has a bit of levity in it thanks to a premise that is actually fleshed out, but makes for a terrific gameplay experience as well. With the action set on a high speed highway of sorts that connects planets to each other, the goal of Switch Galaxy is to acquire a much sought after mineral that can only be obtained when going faster than the speed of sound in a prototype vehicle.
An arcade game at its finest, Switch galaxy does ramp up the difficulty since obtaining the mineral isn’t that easy for a few reasons, the biggest of which are barriers and multiple paths that are present on each course. With accelerating the vehicle out of my control, pressing the Cross button does nothing, the main goal of Switch Galaxy is to avoid all the main obstacles by switching between lanes, rack up as many points as I could, and accomplish all of that within the span of a minute or a minute and a half tops.
The premise of Switch Galaxy may sound overly simple as it likely should on paper, but the game is far from an utter cakewalk to play. Featuring an almost rhythmic nature to it when it comes to hopping between lanes in a track, somewhat akin to the game Frequency minus the musical gems, in part due to using the Left and Right shoulder buttons to switch lanes, Switch Galaxy is a game that requires both a lot of patience and good timing in order to succeed. A few times I did find myself having a bad lap within a stage having run through a few gates, but even then I found myself hopping right back into the game to have another go at it and hopefully succeed in the process.
Things did get progressively harder as I proceeded through the main campaign as I encountered opponents who sought to block my progress on a track, and of course the arrival of more gates that I had to avoid otherwise my momentum would be entirely lost. Atomicom didn’t just throw in a base premise for Switch Galaxy and call it a day since there are quite a bit of bonus items throughout stages such as those that allowed me to pass through barriers of a particular color, entirely blow up everything within my vicinity, or gain a much needed speed boost to reach my goal. I will admit that the game does get incredibly challenging in the later stages, but even then nothing ever felt like it wasn’t feasible as far as the time limit that was given or how many challenges I had to deal with.
It’s somewhat amazing that Switch Galaxy is the first PlayStation Mobile game for Atomicom since it’s easily one of the best looking games to arrive on the platform. Filled with fully polygonal 3D models, there may not be a whole host of fancy effects or stages that bare an absolutely stunning design presence, but the game is technically smooth and it’s impressive what Atomicom was able to squeeze out of the game on their first go. The far off sci-fi nature of the game does lend itself to some interesting stages in which planets can be seen in the far off distance, though I did wish that the game had a more unique identity in certain stages, whether it’s throwing in a more diverse color palette or simply making things seem more alien in nature to reflect the planets that I found myself traveling to.
As a simple mobile game Switch Galaxy absolutely succeeds at what it sets out to do: provide an entertaining experience that has a hearty amount of depth to it. With brilliant gameplay that actually made me feel tense as I played, and production values that are exceedingly high compared to what we’re used to seeing on the PlayStation Mobile platform, Switch Galaxy easily finds itself in the must have category for those who are seeking a new mobile game or an arcade racer that actually does something different.