Galak-Z: The Dimensional Review
*Disclaimer* 17-Bit provided the reviewer with a press review code. This did not affect the reviewer’s judgment
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC (TBA)
-This is how anime games should be done-
I don’t think it was a coincidence that I dreamt of Amuro Ray fighting Voltron, while I piloted a Gundam throughout the battle this morning. Maybe it’s because Galak-Z: The Dimensionalhas absorbed so much of my time and strongly reminded me of the old anime shows I used to watch growing up as a kid. Galak-Z has the charm and vibe of those old school mecha anime shows that came out during the 80’s/90’s. I would be hard pressed not to bring up Mobile Suit Gundam or Voltron as I describe this game to people in all honesty. I’ve waiting three years for Galak-Z to finally fall into my lap and even after such a long waiting period, this game exceeded my high expectations.
The game begins with Atak, apparent sole survivor of a failed attack against the evil Empire, fending off an assault but finding himself stranded in space. From here, Atak meets Beam, another survivor and his commander who guides him through missions. In terms of story, Galak-Z offers very little but the lack of overall plot is compensated by the charm between characters. Even during gameplay, Atak is vocal and so are his enemies. It’s sometimes the little details that shine; having a screen pop up, showing the enemy talking smack to Atak or uttering a final speech before their ship explodes was a truly nice touch.
The one issue I must warn people about first is the difficult of the game. If it’s one thing I wasn’t expecting, it was how quickly enemies would send me to the game over screen. Galak-Z may not seem the type but tough doesn’t even describe the insanity of some encounters. I’ve had plenty of moments where my hands would practically start screaming at me to stop playing and my eyes would become dry from not blinking properly. And why was this? Because not only is this game super addictive but the dogfights requires such concentration and skill that players can’t take their eyes off the screen.
So is the insane difficulty a real issue? Not for me it isn’t– I personally like the thrill and satisfying feeling of completing a grueling mission. Not many games these days make players have to earn their victories rather than simply handing it to us. So while I do get that some may not like how hard Galak- Z can be, I still respect 17-Bit’s decision to keep the game from holding our hands.
What’s also surprising is how smooth and responsive the controls are as well. Watch a few videos and the same conclusion should reveal itself: Galak-Z has truly frantic/frightening combat. I’m talking tight grip, wide eyes and maybe some teeth grinding experiences here folks. And yet, the ship players control operates without a hitch; showing that time and effort was put into this project. Any time I died or screwed up, I recognized that it wasn’t the game’s fault for being too cheap or difficult but rather, my own fault for not being skillful enough. It’s a rare occurrence when a gamer can say “I need to up my skills” as opposed to saying “this game is BS”. That should serve as a crucial point concerning how great of a title Galak-Z is.
While space dogfights may be incredible difficult at times, there’s a surprising amount of depth that goes along with combat and if mastered, players should have no trouble dealing with enemies. While piloting the GZ-1 fighter, players may noticed a faint blue aura bubble surrounding the spacecraft. This is the range in which enemy pilots or bugs can hear you. Let a foe cross over into the blue aura and they’ll hear your ship via the thrusters. By taking note of enemy placement and the ship’s aura, sneaking around for a preemptive attack becomes very possible. Doing so will surely cut down the rate of death, which is extremely crucial if players seek to complete Galak-Z.
Galak-Z contains five seasons or chapters, which includes five episodes to complete. The tricky part is that all five episodes must be beaten without dying to move on. Fail and the entire season must be played from the beginning. There are moments however, where players can pick up at the same level even after death. Special items known as Crash Coins are used to gain salvage (in-game currency) and function as a extra life. Five or more Crash Coins must be in the player’s possession in order to replay the same level after dying. All upgrade items are lost when having to start over but at least when retrying a level, upgrades can be found again at no extra cost.
During each season, players can upgrade their ship how they see fit, within the confines of the upgrades presented. Plenty of these are extremely helpful to completing a season such as my favorite upgrade: the bounce shot. The best upgrade around though is the one 17-Bit held back until Galak-Z was practically ready to launch. Yes that’s right… I’m talking about the transformation into a beam sword wielding mech! Atak’s ship gains the ability to transform at some point in the game, effectively changing how the game is played.
While the ship is good for close encounters sometimes, it’s mostly effectively as a mid to long range fighter. The mech on the other hand, is all about getting up in your enemy’s face and doing some heavy damage. The beam sword can be used to knock enemies into objects with its charge up attack. Enemies and objects can also be grappled to either be punched or thrown into other enemies and/or objects. Between the ship and mech transformation, Galak-Z offers way more to the player than the average space shooter.
+ Anime visuals are a throw back to older anime shows
+ Tough but satisfying difficulty
+ Frantic combat
+ Controls & Physics are spot on
– Galak- Z may be TOO difficult for some
I don’t think I could recommend Galak-Z enough. This game handles all of its mechanics perfectly and is a true test of skill for players. I know a couple of people who haven’t even gotten past season 1 yet but still praise the game; despite getting obliterated by the factions of enemies. Honestly, I think it’ll be quite some time before we see another high caliber title such as Galak-Z in this genre. Anime games don’t all have to be mediocre or straight up bad because Galak-Z has proven this to be quite opposite. It takes a team full of pride, dedication and heart to create a truly memorable experience… something in which 17-Bit has just accomplished.
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