Enjoying iPad game Acheron Prime

In addition to playing LOTRO and STO, I’ve been playing a fun iPad space RPG called Acheron Prime.

Like Egosoft’s X* games, it’s clear that this game was not created by native English speakers, as the voice acting and spelling are terrible, but, as with the X* games, it doesn’t take much away from the game. (For the two of you who aren’t familiar with regular expressions, X* means games like X2, X3, XTension, etc.)

In Acheron Prime, you play a space pilot flying in a 3rd person view from just above and behind your ship. In the game, you must fight pirates and mercenaries, mine asteroids (actually, mineral or gas pockets), and trade so you can buy bigger and better ships and equipment. You equip your ship with weapons that do various types of damage, sensors, mining lasers, missiles, salvage or repair drones, exploration drones, and armor plate, in order to handle bigger threats. Then you explore the solar system in order to figure out why you have no memory and what you were trying to do when you were attacked, causing your memory loss.

The game is pretty, as the image below shows, and it has surprising depth, both in the plot and the side-quests that make you explore and fight.

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The controls are very good, and, in my opinion, much better than Galaxy On Fire 2, which had controls that made it hard to hit anything. Here, the stick on the left side controls your ship’s turn, while the large thrust button controls whether you move or stop (yes, there are only those two options). The A, B, and C buttons control weapons or other equipment in your ship. Up to 5 buttons can be enabled, and each has context sensitive rules which allow you to, for example, not fire a missile if the enemy is too close or is very damaged. These rules are pretty flexible, and you can define ones that suit your needs. I use A for most weapons, B for mining, and C for missiles.

There are a few bugs and issues. The biggest issue/bug is that finger registration is poor in the lists for buying and selling stuff. It is very hard to select the right item. An annoying issue is that the game only saves when you dock at a space station, so if you push the home button to check your mail and the app gets purged from memory, then you lose your progress unless you just docked. That should be fixed in any game for a mobile platform. It is crazy to assume we can always spend the time to get back to the space station to save.

All in all, it’s a terrific game, and I’m only part way through. I have no idea how far along I am, but I’m level 39 (lower center of the picture) and I’ve seen people in forums that are in the high 60s! So there is a lot of game here, making it a good deal if you like space games. If you like Galaxy on Fire, try this one. Killing targets is actually possible here, though they aren’t always pushovers. I’ve died a few times. Even my battlecruiser has had its shields knocked down before I destroyed the pirates attacking me.

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