Galak-Z: The Void Deluxe Edition – Review
Follow Genre: rogue-lite shoot ‘em up
Developer: 17-Bit
Publisher: Golem Consulting
Platform: Switch
Tested on: Switch

Galak-Z: The Void Deluxe Edition – Review

Site Score
7.5
Good: Great aesthetic
Bad: Hard to pick up
User Score
8.0
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.0/10 (3 votes cast)

In 2015, developer 17-Bit released Galak-Z: The Dimensional on PS4. Now, four years later, they have ported this much-loved game to the Switch in a Deluxe Edition, including both the base game and its DLC, The Void. Although the game’s anime style visuals might make the game seem easy to pick up, it is actually no breeze by far. So, how does this Deluxe Edition hold up on the Switch?

Story

The game has you playing as A-Tak, rookie flyer and sole survivor of his fighter squadron. After encountering the USS Axelios and its captain, Beam, he finds himself fighting off Imperials, bugs and pirates in an intergalactic war.

The story is told as if Galak-Z was a TV series. Instead of chapters, the game is divided into four “seasons”, each with five “episodes”. Each episode is presented with a title card.

The story itself is told via some short cutscenes, clearly inspired by Saturday morning cartoons of the 80s, including that era’s humour. This humour also comes back in the banter A-Tak has with Beam during his flights, as well as A-Tak’s quips during dog fights.

Graphics

Graphically the game is heavily inspired by cartoons and anime, which shows in the animation style of the cutscenes as well as the general art design of the characters, enemies, and ships. This design choice also shows in the game’s pause menu, when you are shown an authentic, VCR-style menu.

The episodes are beautifully crafted. When flying through the galaxy, there are beautiful backdrops of faraway planets. The levels consist mostly of flying through various fields, like asteroid fields or wreckages. They can sometimes feel like mazes, especially when some of the interiors overlap each other.

Each weapon seemingly has its own colour style, and sometimes these bolts of pink, green or orange energy, and the screen filling explosions, can sometimes feel overwhelming, but also make you feel all the more amazing when surviving these hectic dog battles.

Sound

The game’s episodes are accompanied by an 80s soundtrack of electronic synthesizer music, completing the feeling of it being a Saturday morning cartoon even more.

The blasts of the weapons fit the cartoon aesthetic as well. They are quick little laser blasts which feel lighter than what you would get in a regular science fiction-game.

The voice acting is good for the cutscenes, but a lot of quips A-Tak, and your enemies, spew during the dog fights can feel repetitive at times, especially after the umpteenth “For the Empire”, “My shields are blown” or “Damn you and your Empire” in just one battle.

Gameplay

Galak-Z is a roguelite shoot ‘em up, which plays mostly like a twin-stick shooter (left stick for moving, right stick for aiming). As stated earlier, its feel, and the fact that it looks like a cartoon, might give you the idea it is a very easy game. Yet nothing is further from the truth. The game is very trying, and the first couple of hours challenges you to get a hang of the controls, and the gameplay.

Looking at it, one might expect a simple twin-stick shooter like, for instance, Geometry Wars, but going into a fight guns blazing usually ends with you dead, and back at your ship. Because yes, there are no save points, so death will mean game over, and you having to replay the episode. And for the die-hards, the hard mode even transports you back to the beginning of the season, instead of the episode you last played.

So, instead of blasting through, one has to methodically make their way through each episode. Flying through space, there is a faint, blue barrier surrounding your ship, which indicates the sound your ship makes. Keep out of hearing and out of the line of sight of your enemies, and so, slowly, creep towards your target. At times, the enemies even engage each other, making this part a lot easier.

However, at times, discovery is inevitable, and you have to start shooting. At first, your ship is under-armed, but one can upgrade the ship with pick-ups in each episode, or between missions, by buying them from merchants. These consist of upgrades to your weaponry, but also your shields, health, and speed of your ship. By upgrading, you can also pick up some new moves, making fighting a lot easier.

The game is roguelite, because all stages are procedurally-generated. Although most missions have the same goal (‘collect X items’, or ‘destroy bad guy Y’), replaying an episode will bring you a new experience each time because of this.

There is also an endless mode, the Void. This game mode has you fighting wave after wave of increasingly difficult bad guys, chasing after that new high score. It is, as one can imagine, hellishly difficult, but that makes getting the next high score all the more rewarding.

Conlusion

Although it takes a long time getting used to the controls and the game’s pace, Galak-Z’s slow-paced exploration and survival, alternated by some very rewarding – but hard – space combat, offers a satisfying experience, especially presented in its Saturday morning cartoon aesthetic.

 

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Rating: 8.0/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Galak-Z: The Void Deluxe Edition - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Dutch Direwolf
Dutch Direwolf


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