We've seen a wide variety of shoot 'em ups on the DSiWare service, some obviously better than others. Galaxy Saver is the newest entry and takes quite a few influences from early arcade shooters, while tossing in a few twists in an effort to make the experience stand out. So while there might not be a lot of originality when it comes to individual gameplay mechanics, the overall experience is still something a bit different that might make it worthy of a look for fans of the genre.
Galaxy Saver doesn't try to re-invent the shooter, but what it does do is take a host of influences from classic arcade titles and combine these elements into a rather unique experience. Your ultimate goal is to protect the mother ship; since your ship can move around the top of the mother ship on a 360 degree axis, you have all the range you need to take on enemy ships and other hazards. There's a radar on the top screen that will always show you the exact position of the enemies, though reaching and destroying these targets will get gradually more difficult. And since you're mother ship takes damage with each enemy hit, you're going to have to make sure you know where and when to go after enemies.
You have several weapons at your disposal. Your main cannon fire will be used primarily, but you will need the barrier to protect your ship and the smart bomb to use when things get too overwhelming. Of course it's this balance between when to use these amenities that plays a key role in your strategy.
Moving around the mother ship requires nothing more than the left and right directions on the d-pad, or the Circle Pad is an option for 3DS owners. Since the hazards are coming fast and furious in later levels, you'll soon find the radar screen quite imperative to your survival. As you complete missions you'll be awarded points and medals based upon your performance in each section of the game, as well as points for your performance.
There are two modes to choose from, a single and multiplayer option. Single player allows you to either take each mission on individually or go for a high score attack in Challenge mode. The same goes for the multiplayer missions, although you will have the option of bringing in a second player via the local wireless function to help you out in your quests. Again, both Arcade and Challenge modes are available in multiplayer just as they are in the Single player mode.
Galaxy Saver keeps it simple when it comes to the visual presentation, instead choosing to focus on individual sprites. There's nothing to write home about, but the game does do a nice job of offering up the same unique graphical flavour that fans of early 80's arcade titles will fondly remember. That includes static backgrounds and simple visuals, but it seems to work for the type of visual presentation the developers were going for.
Much like the visuals, the musical production isn't going to blow you away, but it still seems to get the job done by creating a few interesting compositions and some fairly decent sound effects to go along with it. While not as creative as some arcade titles from the early 80's it's still good enough to compliment the levels and maintain the shooting intensity of the experience.
Galaxy Saver might not set the world on fire, but it's an interesting twist on the genre. And at only 200 Nintendo Points it's difficult to not recommend that shooter fans at least take a chance on a game that will offer a few hours of shooting fun, with some unique arcade twists that fans perhaps haven't seen. It's easy to wish for more, but from an inexpensive DSiWare title that is quite fun to play, it's difficult to be too critical.