Pirate Galaxy

Developer: Splitscreen Studios gmbh
Publisher: Gamigo
Date Published: 25.04.2009
Format: PC, either directly from the browser or by downloading and installing a client. (Only windows is officially supported)
Site: http://pirate-galaxy.gamigo.com
Price: f2p with an ingame shop.

Pirate Galaxy is a space combat mmorpg set in a distant future where an alien race, the Mantis, are at war with humanity, it offers the chance to dogfight against both npc and other players on exotic planets, while it's small learning curve and engaging storyline means everyone interested in space combat can enjoy this game.

The basis of Pirate Galaxy is that you are piloting a space ship, equipped with various types of equipment ranging from simple lasers too shields or afterburners. All the equipment on your ship is powered by energy which you can gain from collecting energy orbs from the surface of planets. Once you have energy, you can use this to fire your lasers at mantis ships, which (if your lucky) will explode after a while, dropping crystals or a blueprint, which you can then collect. If you rather try your wits against other players, you can toggle your pirate mode on and attack other pirates on sight. The surface is also the only game mode where you can steer your ship or use equipment, so the you can only fight here.

Once you have collected some energy, crystals and blueprints, you might want a change of scenery, equipment or mission, so you can leave the surface and inject into orbit. Here you see the other pilots in orbit flying next to you, but it's mainly the menu that makes it worth hanging around. The menu offers missions to do, player squads to do them with, clans for if your really feeling lonely and the rankings too stroke your ego. From orbit you can also enter all the different game modes like the surface below or if your lucky, the station orbiting nearby.

If you dock with the station, you can get a good look at your fancy ship, from the menu there you can also repair your hull with energy or your heat shield (which only gets destroyed if your ship gets wrecked) with crystals. On the ships menu, you can buy any ships the station sells and you have a high enough level for, to fill that ship, you can build equipment from the items menu, the item types you can mount depend on the ship, for example a 'tank' ship can fit a shield but not rockets, for the types you can then build the ones you have a blueprint and sufficient crystals for. Next to that you can also paint and rename your ship for a small fee in the body shop.

If there isn't a station orbiting the planet your hanging at, you can open up the star map mode, from there you can send probes out to the various other planets or star gates in the solar system, once the probe has reached it's destination, the route is mapped and you can warp across it whenever you want. However due to the limits of warp speed and the rotating planets, you will occasionally have to wait a few minutes to get to your destination, as the planets might have rotated to the opposite sides of the map.

Those four game modes together make up the Pirate Galaxy game, thanks to a good ingame tutorial and the limited complexity, they make it so that everyone with an interest in space based combat, a computer and a few minutes of spare time can jump in and enjoy themselves.

The main downside however is that while it's free, it still needs to generate revenue. Due to that, some area's of the game have turned into a serious grind, the most noted example is collecting energy. Remember that activating equipment in Pirate Galaxy consumes energy and while the starter equipment only consume 1 or 2 units, at level 10 your average equipment might consume between 5 and 25 units per activation, so for every shot you fire, it costs you 5 energy while activating a shield to take some of the enemy's shots will cost around 25 units. Add to that that when you suck up an energy orb, you have to wait for your sucking equipment to charge and then cool down, with only giving you limited amounts of energy in return (~10/orb on the starting planet, ~35/orb on the highest planet you can survive around lvl10). This usually means that you will spend half an hour to an hour sucking up energy orbs and then spend 10 minutes to use it up again.
All this leads to the ingame shop, where you can buy thousands of energy for a few euros, most likely the reason why gaining energy is so slow.

Still, Pirate Galaxy does have a slight addictive effect to it like most mmorpgs, and the fact that it's free and barely takes up any space (or none if you use the web client), means that it's a great game to keep around to fill up bored moments or just have some fun over the weekend.

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