Pirate Galaxy Overview
Pirate Galaxy is a visually impressive science fiction game built using Java. It can be played on a web browser or run as a stand alone program after a small download. Pirate Galaxy does an excellent job translating the classic, quest-driven MMORPG experience into an action packed browser game. Players control spaceships and gain ranks by destroying droids that belong to the evil Mantis race. Complete missions to earn crystals, and use them to purchase new parts and ships at space stations scattered across the galaxy. PvP is entirely optional, but players who turn their PvP flag on are rewarded with increased experience off NPCs. Late game PvP content includes clan wars in which large numbers of gamers fight for control over planets.
There are dozens of ships available that can be roughly categorized into 6 groups:
Newbie Ships - Available to players below rank 10.
Damage Dealing Ships - Specialized in dealing heavy damage, includes the powerful STAM S-Lightning Storm
Tanking Ships - Includes vessels equipped with heavy armor that can absorb lots of hits, useful in squad and clan battles. The STAM S-Mega Armor is an example.
Speed Ships - Ideal scouting vessels that specialize in hit-and-run tactics. Includes the STAM S-Thunder Shock.
Engineer Ships - The supportive ships of Pirate Galaxy. Engineering ships focus on healing and repairs. Includes the STAM S-Stellar Engineer.
General Ships - Multipurpose ships without a specialization. Can’t be classified as ‘newbie ships’ due to high rank requirements. Includes the Anin-12 Parsec
Pirate Galaxy Screenshots
Pirate Galaxy Featured Video
Pirate Galaxy Full Review
By, Erhan Altay
Pirate Galaxy is a spaced theme browser MMORPG developed by the Germany based Splitscreen Studios. Available through many channels, including the Gamigo gaming portal, Pirate Galaxy offers stellar graphics and out of this world gameplay. Defend humanity from the tyrannical Mantis race while exploring the galaxy. The Pirate Galaxy engine uses Java to produce some of the best looking visuals seen in browser gaming, and the ability to download a small client allows for even better graphic options.
The game’s lore portrays the human race in a sorry state. The insect-like Mantis have dominion over the supply of cryonite, a valuable mineral that is required for nearly all aspects of space travel. Humans are reduced to scavenging for this resource by secretly mining Mantis-controlled planets. Mantis drones and ships continuously raid these miners, and it falls on players to join armed pirate organizations to help reclaim humanity’s lost pride and liberty. Compelling stuff, but it can be dull at first. New players start by running through a short tutorial, movement and the basics of combat are explained. The incredible graphics quality is made evident during this tutorial and the option to move with either WASD or the mouse came as a relief. The tutorial goes on to explain how to attack and how to harvest energy before allowing players to move on. The next step is to select a server. There is currently only a single American server along with five European ones. There’s no character creation in Pirate Galaxy, all players simply start with the same beginner ship. Players cannot get off their ships and there’s no avatar to create. Simply chose a name for your pilot and you’re good to go.
Viva la Vega 2
Players start their journey near the mining colony on Vega 2. The area is infested by Mantis drones that must be destroyed. A series of NPC prompts instruct the player on what to do. These instructions serve as the first mission line and introduce players to the game’s interface. MMORPG veterans shouldn’t have much difficulty figuring it out, especially since the interface is similar to those found in most other games. A hotkey bar stores the character’s skills and abilities, a minimap can be opened by clicking the right panel, and the act or targeting involves a simple mouse click. Gameplay feels real-time, players must click to fire and there’s a short cool down between shots. Aiming and switching targets feel very fluid. The problem, however, is the complete lack of challenge during these early stages. The Mantis drones don’t even fight back. Worse still, the next AI target players are asked to fight, Mantis Scouts, actually run away when fired on! Another let down is the limited degree of movement. Rather than flying freely around a planet, players basically hover above the ground and can only move in four directions (forward, back, left, right.) This makes the gameplay experience more similar to a classic MMORPG rather than to a free-roam game like Ace Online. The restrictive movement is not so much a flaw as it is as a failure to live up to my inflated expectations. Is it just me or are sci-fi games held to a much higher standard in terms of features?
After the first series of missions, players can leave the surface of Vega 2 and enter orbit around it. Each planet in Pirate Galaxy that is explorable will have a station around which players can use as a docking base. It is in orbit that players receive additional missions which give the game direction. More importantly, these missions are the best way for players to earn cryonite crystals which are used to purchase new ships and ship parts. Players are taught how to purchase and install components like boosters to their ships. While the customization is no where near the same level as Eve Online or Black Prophecy, it does allow a degree of specialization. Progression is generally pretty slow in Pirate Galaxy. Levels are referred to as ‘ranks’ and players will spend their first play session hovering around rank 3-6. The current cap seems to be around 60 and new ships become available along the way. Ships come in various types that generally fall into the classic RPG archetypes. Some ships are designed to take hits, others to deal damage, and others serve the supportive healing role. Unlike most games, the map in each area doesn’t start revealed. Instead, each area is charted as players explore it. The urge to discover 100% of each planet is irresistible to completionists and should provide another timesink. A much less optional timesink is the game’s energy system…
As players fire their weapons, activate their boosters, or perform most other activities, their energy will be depleted. Recovering this energy involves steering towards floating blue balls and harvesting it. Collectors are used to harvest energy, and the speed at which they harvest depends on their quality. The collector players start with is rather slow at the task, so players will have to spend a great deal of time monotonously harvesting energy. The game does offer a shortcut, players can purchase instant energy from the cash shop using the premium currency, gold. Gold is available in four packages with the cheapest being $4.99 for 2500. Replenishing 336 energy instantly costs 300. Not being a fan of division, I’ll let you do the math. There are many other advantages for sale at the item shop. Players can purchase temporary experience boosts, speed boosts, and increased item drop rates. Weaponry and Armor boosts are also available, but these only apply when attacking or taking hits from Mantis ships, so PvP remains balanced. There are also three tiers of 30 membership up for sale including Standard, Enhanced, and Elite. Each offers increases in energy caps, buddy list size, clan size, and even gives ships the member controls a special glow! The cash shop certainly offers plenty of progression shortcuts, but doesn’t seem to imbalance player vs player gameplay.
Like BigPoint’s similarly themed Dark Orbit, Pirate Galaxy relies on PvP as its main gameplay hook. Players are encouraged to turn on ‘Pirate Mode’ which is the game’s PvP flag. While in Pirate Mode, players can attack and be attacked by other pilots that have it activated. While in this mode, players are granted additional experience off the NPC Mantis drones and ships they destroy. This system incentivizes risk taking and leads to many small-scale PvP encounters. For larger, more organized PvP, players can turn to the game’s clan-based planetary conquest system. Player-run clans can wage war for control of certain planets by purchasing Conquest Ships and racing to activate all beacons on that planet before rival clans can. Each star system has at least one planet up for grabs, though the beginner ones are off limits. Being effective at PvP requires having a powerful ship, but its also necessary to have the right ship parts. Most new parts can’t just be purchased at a hanger, players must farm Mantis NPCs for special blueprints which unlock the manufacturing of a particular part. The blueprint and Pirate Mode features force players to experience the PvE and PvP elements Pirate Galaxy offers simultaneously. The game is still quite new and additional content and features will undoubtedly be added in the months ahead, but Pirate Galaxy already has enough worth checking out.
Final Verdict: Great
Despite being a browser game, Pirate Galaxy offers a complete MMORPG experience. Missions are always available to give players direction and there are plenty of PvE and PvP elements to explore. The graphics are very impressive and an optional download allows players to play in full screen on the resolution of their choice. Play Pirate Galaxy as a casual web game, or full-screen space MMORPG.
Pirate Galaxy Articles
- Bigpoint Celebrates 300 Million Registered Users Worldwide - Posted on December 5, 2012
Bigpoint has announced today that it has exceeded 300 million registered players on its gaming site, Bigpoint.com.