You could be forgiven for thinking that PlayStation Mobile games are simple, shallow affairs that last as long as an episode of Eastenders, or if your lucky the length of the Sunday omnibus. However there are plenty of games out there for PlayStation Mobile that require a bit more of your spare time and for the price you pay they seem like bargains worthy of a golden gavel.
Galatea definitely requires a good investment of your time as this is definitely not a quick 5 minute game. Developed by Satoshi Hamano for PlayStation Mobile, Galatea is an open world title of exploration and tense combat with enough depth to keep you interested from start to finish.
The game starts off with a little submarine seemingly in the middle of a sea nowhere in particular giving you complete freedom to roam around and get used to the controls in your own self-contained tutorial zone, I say that because the tutorial you will get from the game is poorly translated and most of the narrative will be hilariously bonkers because of that, but thankfully the main gist of how to play the game creeps through more often than not. So then back to the game and initially you will notice that your craft is surrounded by ‘fog of war’. Thankfully your craft is equipped with a light that removes this fog and allows you to see the real environment. Using this light you will quickly realise that you are not alone in this ‘safezone’ as it houses one of the largest enemies you will come across. This also means that as soon as it finds you it’s time to make like Monty Python’s King Arthur and ‘Run Away’.
Finding the exit from your learner pool will be your first objective and from there your first camp all before your O2 gauge depletes. Once you have found camp, you will automatically restock your O2 ready for your next jaunt. Your O2 gauge depletes over time but can be restocked at any camp you have found at any time throughout the world. Camps also allow you to equip any weapons that you have picked up along your way. Weapons can be equipped in any of 4 slots, however the more weapons you stock up on reduces the amount of O2 you can carry and thus a balancing act needs to be struck when you are exploring deeper waters with no known camps around you. Weapons can be found from defeated enemies and chests that lie around your world. These weapons are colour coded and vary from simple rockets to homing missiles, mines and burst missiles. Ammo can be found from dead enemies with the corresponding colour restocking your ammo straight away rather than waiting for a camp, but finding the right coloured ammo from fallen enemies is not always simple as enemies only drop 1 or 2 types of ammo so you can never be sure what ammo you’ll get. Enemies also drop a small amount of O2 to give you a little boost to your gauge and allow for further exploration.
Enemies are one of Galatea’s strongest suits as there are many varied enemies scattered throughout the world and most are based on creatures that live under the sea as well as some more unique characters. The really impressive thing about your enemies is that they all need different strategies to find and defeat, for example 1 enemy will not be visible unless you turn off your light and move slowly until they reveal themselves, another enemy will shoot at you from a distance and you will need to find it before it takes you out. This variety in enemy behaviour really brings to life the whole world around you and complements the exploration. Speaking of exploration, there is plenty of it here as the map is full of snaking and branching paths that offer plenty of items, enemies and weapons for you to find as well as the game’s collectibles which include music tracks, story snippets and even extra health bars! These collectibles can be found in a round about way using your radar found in the top right hand corner of the screen which bleeps more rapidly the closer you are to the collectible which is a good thing as the map you use only shows where you have been and the camps that you have found, it doesn’t even show where you currently are and with the size of the overall map and the amount of tunnels there are it is hugely difficult to find yourself the further you go.
The control scheme is easy and intuitive as both the Vita’s analogue sticks are used for controlling your craft while the d-pad is used to select your current weapon from the ones you have stocked up on from camp. The Right shoulder button is used to fire whatever weapon you have selected and the left shoulder button is used to give you a little boost, although be aware that using boost drains your O2 gauge quicker. The X button slows your sub down to a crawl, while circle toggles your light on/off. Triangle as well as Start brings up your pause menu while the square button allows you to change your background music through any that you have collected. Select brings up the map of the environment for all the good it is. Although the game does not support any touch screen features it is still easy to maneaveur your sub with just the two sticks and using the right shoulder button to fire. The only thing I had to get used to is that the circle button is used as the action button rather than X. It is a small niggle but nothing major in the grand scheme of things
My experience of Galatea was extremely positive. After some initial confusion regarding what and where I should go I was able to move and explore the map quickly and with great ease. The varied enemies and their attack patterns keep things fresh, and you on edge, as you dive deeper into the unknown. The game’s selection of collectibles gave me a reason to explore every nook and cranny and I was impressed with the overall scale of the game, especially as it’s a mobile title.
In summary then, Galatea offers up an extremely enjoyable experience. Easy to pick up and hard to put down once you dive beneath the surface. The poor translation and map design are the only negatives keeping this from a perfect score but it still looks to be one of, if not, the best open world experience currently available through PSM.
At A Glance
- Title: Galatea
- Publisher: Satoshi Hamano
- System: PlayStation Mobile
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: No
- Cross Save: No
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Local Multiplayer: No
- PlayStation TV Compatible: No
- Memory Card Space Needed: 62Mb