Galaga:TEKKEN 20th Anniversary Edition Review

Galaga:TEKKEN can’t exist — can it? Oh god, it does. At least it’s free.
I have to admit that when Galaga:TEKKEN 20th Anniversary Edition was first brought to my attention (blame Ausdroid’s Jason Murray for that one), I had two initial thoughts.
Firstly, I wondered if somebody had been slipping LSD into my coffee.
Then I wondered how I’d missed Namco Bandai putting out Galaga:TEKKEN games for twenty years, because you’d think that would be something that I’d notice.
In reality, they haven’t. This rather peculiar and thankfully free mashup of Galaga and TEKKEN (and a few other Namco mainstays) is apparently a celebration of TEKKEN’s 20th anniversary. My, how time flies. What does that have to do with Galaga, I hear you ask? Not much, except perhaps for the tenuous tie-in that Galaga was the loading screen game for the PS1 version of Tekken, maybe.

You may now feel old. I know I do.

Essentially speaking, Galaga:TEKKEN 20th Anniversary Edition is one big TEKKEN advertisement, wrapped up in a retro classic with some sprite swaps and just a touch of that LSD I mentioned earlier.
It’s an entirely free app, with the only caveats being all the TEKKEN links that pop up inbetween games, and the rather curiously broken EULA that I somehow agreed to. If my kids go missing, I figure Namco Bandai has claimed title to them.
Some proofreading -- and a terms of service button that worked -- would have been helpful here.
Some proofreading — and a terms of service button that worked — would have been helpful here.

That quirk aside, at first, Galaga:TEKKEN 20th Anniversary Edition appears to be not much more than a straight palette swap for actual Galaga, with Tekken characters in place of the classic fighters and Galaga aliens. To an extent that’s true, but there are a few twists to contend with.
Such as the fact that the whole thing is demonstrably insane.
Such as the fact that the whole thing is demonstrably insane.

You move and fire as you’ve always done in Galaga, but when you allow your ship… erm… character… to be captured and then get them back, aside from opening up the classic double firing capability, you also trigger a whole of screen smart bomb, which takes the form of a different classic Namco character, depending it seems on the combination of TEKKEN characters you’ve just created.

There are various unlockables for clearing specific waves, which gives it a certain amount of replayability if you’re a die-hard TEKKEN fanatic.
A NEW CHALLENGER APPEARS... no, wait, wrong franchise.
A NEW CHALLENGER APPEARS… no, wait, wrong franchise.

Galaga’s a great game, and Galaga for free, even with TEKKEN characters bolted onto it must be a good thing, right?
Not quite. For a start, there’s the whole of screen advertising that pops up between games.
We now interrupt this review for a brief commercial break.
We now interrupt this review for a brief commercial break.

Then there’s the fact that, sadly, Galaga:TEKKEN 20th Anniversary Edition just doesn’t play all that well. You can opt to either move and autofire, or move and not fire at all. It’s functional, but it’s not fun if you’ve played any Galaga at all, and chances are if you’re even vaguely interested you have.
It removes a lot of the challenge for the most part, because autofire can be very quick and some character missiles are massive, but at the same time, nuances like deliberately placing shots to bring down the boss enemies when they’ve captured your ships are also more or less impossible. I guess Namco Bandai wanted to go as wide market as possible with an “easy” game for the casual market, but would a couple of left/right direction buttons and an actual fire button really have broken the development budget?
Galaga:TEKKEN 20th Anniversary Edition is a free download for iOS or Android devices, and it’s an interesting marketing curiosity — but it’s not a terribly good game. If you’re simply curious to see how “zany” a TEKKEN and Galaga crossover could be, you can get that alone from the trailer.

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