[July 13, 2016 Update: Online multiplayer has been restored.]
Welcome to the Galaxy of Trian where, as you guessed it, they like things in threes. More precisely, all the game tiles are triangles. The basic premise is to place the three sided game tiles on the field to close areas of space with nebulae and string planets together, connected by ethereal wisps of something or other.
You are playing against the AI of the game in the 10-mission single player campaign, and on some levels against two of the AI opponents. Hey, three “players,” get it? Three! (insert smirk here). Galaxy of Trian also allows for online multiplayer and hotseat play, but the multiplayer servers have been down and weren’t available at press time. Hopefully they get that corrected quickly, as those used to the tabletop version will definitely want to play this against friends instead of the AI opponents.
Placing the tiles is as easy as tapping to select a random tile from one of the piles and dragging it onto the playing field. There is a bit of a catch though with this process in that the game pieces will connect only like sides; if you have a piece with three ethereal wisps of stuff you can’t place it adjacent to a tile with no wisps of stuff. In this regard it’s a bit like a puzzle.
Most of the strategy of the game is to build strings of planets and closing off areas of space with nebulae. The game also throws in other things you can use to upgrade your turf: Emissaries, Research Stations, etc. These increase the point value for the stuff you can string together and, as expected, the player with the most points when all the tiles have been played wins.
The game starts you out with a ten match tutorial that introduces you to the game’s features and the benefits of using them. Unfortunately, the tutorial in which the notes appear don’t seem to help explain how to use the features during game play. You can learn all about how a mining station in a nebula will help you mine more minerals and do more stuff, but the match immediately following doesn’t help you use this wonderful new information.
There has been one update already which seems to have fixed a bug in the Replay function, so good response/fix time for issues from the developers.
The game is actually pretty fun. It requires some planning and strategy as well a little “luck of the draw.” It’s a bit more like Go than chess (territory acquisition vs. direct confrontation). The graphics are appealing and the background sound is relaxing and unobtrusive. The visuals also lend themselves well to the small format of the iPhone/iPod Touch screen; some of the text is a bit small but the gameplay is pretty easy.
All things taken together, Galaxy of Trian is an interesting game to while away a few minutes at a time, and hopefully much more once multiplayer is restored. No need to wait for that, though. Grab it now and get some practice in before challenging your friends.