Galaxy on Fire MMO 'Alliances' begins closed beta testing

Mobile spin-off relies on coop to control the universe

The developer of my favourite space trading game and one of the best App Store sagas, Galaxy on Fire, has opened to the public the beta of its spinoff Alliances. German developer Fishlabs is accepting registrations to playtest its new massively multiplayer online game on iOS devices.

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For those of you not acquainted already with the bravado Keith T. Maxwell, Galaxy on Fire takes place in a universe where four different races are condemned to fight for territory, technology and eventually, to join forces to fight common alien threats. Galaxy on Fire: Alliances (GoFA for short) uses the same rich worlds familiar to fans of the series as a scenario for a real-time-strategy MMO for mobile.

The twist to a completely different genre will put players in the feet of commanders of either the human race Terran, sophisticated aliens Vossks or the industrial head Nivelians. The idea is that you set bases in small planets in a race for exploration and resource collection, creating a chain on outposts that characterised the maps of the earlier games. The multiplayer aspect relies on cooperation — hence the Alliances name — in order to sustain a strong empire that resists hostile attacks. GoFA will feature diplomacy, technology trees and resource management in ways that we haven't seen on the platform yet.

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The developer blog reveals early concept art for key items in the game such as artifacts, which act as power ups to improve your units; citadels as a source of artifact energy you harvest from individual planets; and renders of contractions for all the three factions. They all look superb. The huge maps will give players a share of the territory ready for colonisation on different layers — I imagine this is similar to systems with interlinked planets. As the balance of power shifts, different areas will need the attention of your fleet while you ensure strategic resources are not left defenceless while you send out reinforcements somewhere else.

If this is as enticing as it sounds for me, sign up now for the closed beta ahead of the official release of the game later this year. Players with anything up from an iPhone 4, iPad 2 and iPod touch 5G are invited!