Title: Nom Nom Galaxy

Platform: Steam, Windows, PS4

Reviewed on: Windows

Genre: Exploration, Base-building, Tower Defence, Sandbox

Players: Single player, Co Op (1-4 Online, Local)


Written by Bad Demoman 19th August 2015



















Q-Games is a developer most known for their Pixel Junk series, although the games in the series itself have little to do with each other. The newest entry in the series, Nom Nom Galaxy, is a pretty good representation of this. It's pretty distinct from the others in the series, and in fact most games in general. It’s a 2D exploration based game with a little bit of tower defence in there, some business management of sorts and a heavy emphasis on base building. So obviously, it's got quite a few different ideas packed in there. But do they all infuse into a pleasant broth of mechanics that work well together, or simply lump together in a muggy brew?


When any 2D game with exploration pops up, comparisons to Terraria are inevitable. I'd say your quest for new soup ingredients is quite different though. There's obvious, unavoidable similarities – mining and fighting. The overall focus is very different though. In Terraria, exploration can be taken quite slowly and focus is on finding ores and treasure. In Nom Nom Galaxy, it's a bit more tense, with multiple pressures weighing on you whenever you leave the safety of your base. Moving fast is advised, as your air supply is limited and every second you waste is a second your competitors are using to control the market on soup. Ingredients can be found either growing in the ground, or by slaying enemies. The actual slaying of enemies isn't too taxing of your skills or filled with strategy – I mostly found myself just mashing the attack button no matter what weapon I was using. Weapon variety seems fairly low, although I can only assume that either there are more to be discovered or to be added.

























Exploration of the world feels like it's lacking in depth. There's no excitement to it as there would be in Terraria where you’re always anticipating the next big upgrade to be found. As you explore further, you might find a new ingredient, which isn't very satisfying at all. It feels more like a means to an end (that end being more money) and the act of traipsing all the way back to your base with your ingredients in tow isn't an appealing one, especially early on when you can only carry a single ingredient. It feels like a chore, like a job. I guess that's the idea of the multiplayer – have each person performing a different role. But I couldn't get multiplayer to work with multiple different people, and I pity the person given one of the more tedious jobs.


Of course, in order for you to make use of all these ingredients you're going out to find, you need a base. Base building is probably the most important element of your expedition to worlds unknown. A well built base will make everything so much less frustrating. Unfortunately, the rules of base building aren't necessarily crystal clear, and so the building of a base can be frustrating in itself at first. Once you've got the rules down though, it’s pretty fun. The most important thing to note is that rooms need support – they can't just be free floating in mid-air, or even haphazardly tacked on to the side of another room hanging over a crevice. That's a quick way to lose your expensive soup rocket to the abyss. Automation is incredibly important to building an efficient base, and for this various robots are available to move soup and ingredients about your base. This is where things can get particularly tricky, because automation that's set up without a great deal of thought can end up harming you in the long run. Even the most thought out, efficient and infallible base can end up going wrong though, as over time you'll come under threat from various attacks.

























This is where the tower defence elements come from – you'll need to set up various turrets and patrolling robots to make sure everything stays pristine and functioning while you're scouring the world. Even if you happen to be present for an attack, your own efforts will likely not be enough to prevent damage, and a single destroyed room or robot can throw a wrench in your entire operation. So you'll need to find ingredients, build your base, maintain said base and fend off attackers, all the while controlling the market by coming up with a variety of different kinds of soup. Time management, in case you can't tell, becomes a very important skill. Unfortunately, the game seems to throw a lot of things your way to make time management an obnoxious task. In an almost Castlevania 2 ''horrible night to have a curse''-esque occurrence, you're frequently stopped for Break Time, in order to review the days sales. In fact, at one point Break Time interrupted me mid-air, so after my apparently gravity-halting break, I fell to my death. After all this you get the pleasure of moving on to the next planet, starting from the beginning and doing it all over again.


Nom Nom Galaxy is definitely a very different game from its constant subject of comparison, Terraria. A much faster, tenser game. However, its ultimately less focussed an experience, and a less enjoyable one for me. Rather than every ingredient being as high-quality as can be, instead there's a higher quantity to dilute the mix. I don't feel like any one part of this game could stand up on its own. Admittedly, I'm not the biggest fan of management games like Theme Hospital and Rollercoaster Tycoon. The elements of exploration and tower defence saved Nom Nom Galaxy for me, and allowed it to still be a fairly pleasant experience. Perhaps it’s not an exquisite, 5-star delicacy, but its not quite dirt soup either.



Pros:

Tense, frantic gameplay,

Decent variety.


Cons:

No single mechanic stands on its own,

Can be tedious at times.


Final Verdict,
Nom Nom Galaxy gets a lukewarm 6 out of 10.



    
















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