Galak-Z: The Dimensional Review: The Other Side
Kalvin Martinez / Aug 12th, 2015 No Comments
The eternal plight of indie game development is showing off a game years before the final product will release. Between the numerous conventions and events, players see, hear and play a game throughout many stages of its development. But games change and evolve over time. While people may have played a game once, by the time they see it again it might be something entirely different. Gamers have a tendency only to want to see new stuff and anything they’ve seen before they write off ass as a known quantity.
If there is one thing Galak-Z: The Dimensions isn’t, it would be a known quantity. From its major gameplay twist to its procedurally generated missions, there is plenty to discover in the game.
Experimental Ship Down
It was a rotten trick the Imperials played. Everything is in disarray; the Earth’s forces are decimated. Hope seemed lost until the Axelios discovered a lone pilot in a Galak-S ship drifting through space. The pilot, A-Tak, managed to survive the Imperial attack, and he is the singular person who can help the Axelios return home and warn Earth.
A-Tak’s mission is to help gather materials for the Axelios while improving his ship to face the dangers of deep space. By fighting enemy factions like the Void Raiders, Imperials and mindless Bugs, A-Tak might be able to make it out of space. Through his missions, A-Tak learns the truth of his ship and its experimental nature, allowing him to turn his ship into a deadly mech. With the Galak-Z, A-Tak and the Axelios have a good shot at returning home safely.
Unlike your average roguelite, Galak-Z has a tight narrative structure and thrust. It makes completing a season successfully and unlocking a new one all the more sweet. Finding out what’s in store next for A-Tak, Beam and the Axelios is a treat. The increasing threats A-Tak faces make the stakes increasingly higher as you get deeper in the game. The situation is dire, but the delightful dialogue and interplay between Beam and A-Tak keeps players consistently entertained.
The anime influences and aesthetic seeps through both the presentation and the story. Playing through Galak-Z’s five seasons feels like playing through a 1980s childhood. It is a feeling of waking up in the morning on Saturday, grabbing a big bowl of cereal, and hunkering down right in front of the TV to catch your favorite space anime. The end credits following each season help complete the illusion of playing through a television show.
Deep Space Grind
On the surface, Galak-Z might seem like a regular old space shoot ‘em up. It can certainly be played like that in certain situations, but that is a losing strategy. Truthfully, there is much more going on in Galak-Z. One of the most obvious wrinkles to the SHUMP strategy is the Galak-Z’s ability to transform into a mech after Season 1. If you get too comfortable in any one form, your time in the game will be exceedingly difficult. There is a huge layer of strategy to discover and employ when tackling the challenges of the game.
Levels in each season are procedurally generated, meaning you’ll never know what a mission will be like until you get into it. This means the map, enemy types and upgrades are all variable. Success requires a cultivation of basic skills like learning to juke, parry and transform on a dime. Mastering basic skills will give pilots a solid foundation to deal with what comes their way.
While everything is procedurally generated, that doesn’t mean you won’t make progress in Galak-Z. As you go about completing missions, you discover and find immediate upgrades for your lasers and ships that get applied immediately, along with supplies and salvage crates. Each season also features a number of blueprint crates, which when enough are collected permanently unlock an upgrade for purchase in Crash’s store. These permanent upgrades don’t all automatically show up in Crash’s store all the time, so there is always a random element to missions and how to spec out your ship. However, it doesn’t make runs completely ephemeral.
Galak-Z constantly keeps players guessing and from ever getting too comfortable. Complacency is death in space, and you’ll be constantly reminded of this fact if you underestimate the dangers ahead of you. Knowing when to run is as important as having a precise trigger finger or expert maneuvers because sometimes there are battles that are just a losing proposition. While gathering resources, upgrades and Crash coins is very important, survival is key — once you’re shot down, it’s over. The key to a good run is striking a balance between gathering materials, upgrading the Galak-Z, lucking out on Crash coins and ultimately surviving the mission.
Galak-Z constantly keeps players guessing and from ever getting too comfortable. Its gameplay demands you to make adjustments on the reg, to use the environment and enemy AI to get out of difficult situations, and to learn when a fight is unwinnable. The persistent upgrade unlocks combined with the roguelite and procedural gameplay opens up a huge amount of replayability. Galak-Z is one of the coolest games in a while, and a must buy for PS4 owners (and PC when it eventually releases).
Galak-Z: The Dimensional was reviewed on PS4 using a code for the game provided by the developer.
tags: 17-BIT , 17bit , Galak Z Review , Galak-Z , Galak-Z: The Dimensional , review