Getting started with Galaxy on Fire 2 Supernova

Choosing the right version, saved game and settings

Galaxy on Fire is the best representative of the space trading genre in iOS and almost in every mobile and desktop platform you can imagine. The work that has gone into optimising its latest add-on, Supernova, also means there are several versions of the game you can install and play.

If you're like me, a big fan of the franchise, you've probably bought the original game and bought Valkyrie (the first add-on) within the app. I know; it's difficult to keep track of these things. Just remember that like Valkyrie, the second add-on Supernova is available to purchase — only — when you launch the Galaxy on Fire 2 app.

What version should you get?

The first thing you will notice is that there are two versions of the same game on the App Store. This is done to cater to every device running iOS. As you can expect, the version labelled with a HD is aimed at more modern iPhones and iPads, although the content, gameplay and story are the same. This is merely a matter of resolutions.

If you're thinking of getting the standard version (labelled as SD) think again. Owners of an iPhone 4S upwards and anything above an iPad 2 will reap incredible graphic performance from the HD version. In this post I talk about the differences between both versions. To spare you the reading: yes, go for the HD version hands down.

So now that there isn't any doubt about the version you want to be running, launch GOF2 HD and do some testing of your own. Right in the main menu to the Options menu and go to the bottom where it says graphics. Notice how you can adjust the quality from 1024x768, 1440x1080 and all the way up to 2048x1536. You can click for a larger view.

I have played both in an iPad 3 and iPad 4 and the differences are evident. On 'the new iPad' the maximum resolution is a delight, but when there's a lot of action in battles with more than half a dozen ships you can notice some performance issues. This is an extent that was confirmed by fellow gamers on the TouchArcade forums, so my recommendation is tweaking the resolution quality until the game is snappy enough for your taste.

Retrieving your old save game

Not for romanticism but for practical terms. The new add-on Supernova follows the events of Valkyrie so you need to have completed the first one to play the second. Nobody would complain about this is it wasn't for the fact that many players would have deleted the app and its saved content with it forever.

The developer has simplified things removing the support of OpenFeint in favour for iCloud — not that they had a choice with the service closing down. When Supernova was announced I realised I never used OpenFeint to save the games on the cloud anyway. If you have, please transfer the save game before installing the current update. My solution, despite the kind offer from the developer giving a 'testing' account with the content unlocked, I decided to play through Valkyrie again. I've never had the chance to play the HD version of Valkyrie in the first place.

Note: there's probably a way to recover this if you were synching your iOS device with iTunes prior to iOS 5 and its wireless sync.

Getting the additional content

The in-app purchases available are the add-ons themselves (available in a cheaper pack) and the DLC per se. These are the Kaamo Club, the decommissioned Midorian station that you can purchase for your own purposes. Mainly storing cargo and ships. This is nothing new, as we already enjoyed the safety of our Kaamo Club in Valkyrie.

The difference in Supernova is that the Space Lounge attracts merchants with limited edition items that you would never find in far away systems. The second in-app-purchase is called the Kaamo Club VIP Card, which isn't anything else than a 'coin-doubler', in our case, a 50% discount pass.

Supernova also allows players to purchase in-game currency, which I haven't tried myself. The special edition ships are quite pricy, but the rest of the items in the game a very reasonable to spend any more money on it. What I'm anticipating here is that the trading system has undergone some serious changes to make it more balanced, closing those trade routes of human organs that seasoned players surely know about.