Space exploration, interstellar adventure, and, obviously, friggin' aliens are the building blocks of what makes up the beloved genre of science fiction. In addition to Asimov's robotic tomes and George Lucas' epic films, the mother of all classic space-based videogames in our geek history is Space Invaders.
Lucky for us, these days there's no need to hunt for yet another quarter upon being prompted yet again to "Insert Coin". We can geek out to zillions of the best space games directly in the palms of our hands.
If you're the type that daydreams of getting your capable hands all over the control panel of your very own spaceship to blast aliens out of the sky, have we got some apps for you. These iPhone spaceship games are for every type of gamer, from action-centric arcade games to simulation and management classics.
Ready? 3... 2... 1... LIFTOFF!!
Sky Force 2014
Let's begin with the most classic of the space-themed genres: the arcade-style shoot-em-up. Sky Force 2014 from Infinite Dreams is, of course, inspired by Space Invaders, but it favors the 90's spin-offs within that vein (titles like HotDog Storm or even R-Type). In fact, Sky Force can be considered a classic itself on mobile: it was launched more than 10 years ago for Symbian, Pocket PC, and Palm OS, then ported to Android and iPhone when these relatively baby platforms came onto the scene a few years later.
Without losing any of the retro essence of the original, Sky Force 2014 adds high-quality visual effects, perfectly synchronized with the frenetic rhythm of the game. If you like spaceship games where you never stop shooting, including badass final bosses and tens of missions to complete, Sky Force 2014 is undoubtedly one of the best options.
If Sky Force isn't quite retro enough for your taste, Radiant from Hexage will teletransport you directly to the eighties with its pixelated and vector graphics. It's a shoot-'em-up arcade game that doesn't hide its intention to replicate the feel of Space Invaders, yet at the same time it takes direct advantage of the peculiarities and rhythm we've gotten used to on mobile.
Radiant maintains the retro feel in its graphics, but adds way more power-ups and ship upgrades. The rhythm of the game gradually accelerates, just like in the old stand-up arcade machines. That means that killing aliens, dodging asteroids, and finishing off the final bosses of each level ends up being a serious test of lightning reflexes.
Let's leave the arcades behind for the moment and dive into a first-person shooter in deep space, featuring impressive 3D graphics and a rich sci-fi plot.
In Galaxy On Fire 2 HD from devs Deep Silver, you'll end up feeling like you're in a flight simulator decked out with planets, asteroids, and enemy space stations. Blast your way through missions replete with flying action and combat, plus others more geared towards freeform exploration. Turn off the lights, plug in your headphones, and enjoy the experience of playing a PC- or console-worthy title right on your iPhone.
We could never leave Out There from Mi-Clos Studio off any collection of spaceship games. You won't find any action or even laser beams here. Rather, Out There is a unique mash-up between space adventure and resource management.
In Out There: Ω Edition, you're an astronaut who's been shot into outer space on a mission that's quickly forgotten once you lose touch with the mother ship, effectively being cut off and cast away into the deep. You'll have to seek out natural resources and friendly planets totally on your own accord, attempting not to run out of your very limited oxygen or fuel in the process. Upgrade your ship with whatever you can find floating through space and learn to speak alien languages along the way.
The comic-book graphics and the background music are hypnotic.
Last but not least, we've got a multiplayer strategy game that combines action with resource management. In KIXEYE's VEGA Conflict, you control a control station in space, and your objective is to protect it from any attacks from other users (yup, real live competitors online), upgrading your structures and putting up your best strategic fight.
The graphics, the sound design, and especially the effects during battles will hook you in from the first minutes of play. Gather more resources, buy better shiPs, improve your gear, and, finally, alley with other players to survive in a true War of the Worlds.