You've got to admire games that get straight to the point.
Deep Silver Fishlabs' Manticore: Galaxy on Fire, available now on Nintendo Switch, is one such game. Within minutes of initially pushing the A button to boot it up, you're thrust into action; while there is a story, it's never too intrusive.
You're our only hope
Finding yourself being attacked by space pirates, your Manticore: Galaxy of Fire journey begins. Saved by some fighter pilots who just happen to be in the area, you're taken to the Manticore, a mercenary carrier. Before you know it, you're one of their recruits. Though, its more a matter of necessity after the cataclysmic event you've just witnessed. Quickly becoming known as The Shattering, it was devastating.
Manticore: Galaxy on Fire's plot may be paper thin and cliched, but it really doesn't matter; this is a game focused on you shooting things in space. You start out with your bog-standard ship, a basic primary weapon and little else. But that's all you need to deal with the first few missions that only chuck small fry your way.
Give me more guns
As you undertake missions, completing objectives such as escorting transport ships and shooting down VIPs, you're granted rewards. New primary and secondary weapons can be acquired, as well as devices, upgrade materials and new ships. You always feel rewarded for your efforts, and as your armament and ship options increase, the gameplay becomes more strategic and engaging.
Missions don't have to be undertaken one after another until you've exhausted them all, either. You can freely explore any areas that you've unlocked, engaging in the odd skirmish while trying to locate intel fragments and maybe even the occasional ship upgrade. Each explorable location may only be small, but there are enough of them to break up the more action-focused missions quite nicely.
Manticore: Galaxy on Fire's bite-sized nature with regards to its short and snappy missions and small explorable locations hints as its mobile game origins. But don't be too quick to roll your eyes; it works in the game's favour just as much as it detracts from it. Sure, it lacks the depth of more developed space shooters, but its accessibility means it's perfect for those who do indeed like to play on the move. It's no slouch in the graphics department, either.
Every one of Manticore: Galaxy on Fire's ships is beautifully created, environments are inhabited with space structures and debris, and the backdrops are scenic and varied. Out of battle, it's easy to find yourself ogling your ship and its surroundings. You'll wonder just how the game manages to look so good and yet still turn in silky smooth performance. Even in handheld mode there are no blips.
Ultimately though, it's likely to be repetition that eventually turns some players off. Other minor issues such as clipping through bits of scenery can annoy, but in the long run it's Manticore: Galaxy on Fire's samey mission structure that grates. It's a game chock full of content, but it'll possibly feel like a grind to see it all. Those dipping into the game little but often may not find it to be an issue, but those who like to sink their teeth into games for hours at a time may find the experience turning into tedium.
So, Manticore: Galaxy on Fire is a solid but unspectacular space shooter. As the first (to my knowledge) of its kind on Nintendo Switch though, it's a worthy starting place. It'll provide a long-lasting experience for those who approach it like the mobile-focused title that it is, while those expecting a deeper console experience may unfortunately find it a bit lacking. Either way, no-one can deny that it performs well and looks pretty.