Wednesday, April 3

Review: Galak-Z - The Void [Nintendo Switch eShop]

I remember when I was younger watching the cartoon Robotech and being in awe of the incredibly cool design and insane abilities of its Veritech fighters. Capable of dogfighting, converting into full-on badass robot, and in a pinch able to fire off an impressive barrage of missiles, it was fun to watch them in action and dream of taking control of one someday. Enter Galak-Z: The Void (the good one, not the mostly-crippled mobile variant), a side-scrolling space shooter that will have you exploring, taking on aliens and enemy ships, and blowing things up with heaps of style.

You’ll play the game as A-Tak, a daring and somewhat brash fighter pilot with plenty in common with Robotech’s Rick Hunter. In particular, an ability to get his way out of sticky situations. Piloting his ship early on you’ll be stuck in fighter mode, taking on new enhancements one by one to allow you to get used to them. In particular your ability to quickly dodge will be essential to your survival, though effective strafing can also be handy depending on how you like to do your dogfighting. Eventually earning the ability to convert into robot mode, you’ll lose your ability to fire your lasers or missiles, but you’ll gain the use of an ability to grapple and grab objects as well as an energy shield and laser sword.

Learning when it’s most advantageous to be in either mode ends up being the cornerstone of the gameplay as each has its strengths and weaknesses. To help you out you’ll work with the somewhat shady Crash to heal up, replenish your missiles, or buy upgrades to your weapons. If you’re a determined explorer your efforts to explore each level to the fullest will be rewarded with additional gear, but you’ll always need to be cautious not to push yourself too hard and risk being destroyed.

Especially as you get to the game’s later episodes (each has multiple chapters and they play out roughly like a television show in terms of the plot) trying to get everything is a matter of risk and reward, especially if you’re playing in the game’s all-or-nothing roguelike mode. Your first time through I’d suggest the Arcade mode instead, which has the same content, just not the touch consequences of being destroyed.

With its exploration focus, diverse combat options, and pretty unique gameplay Galak-Z is a favorite indie of mine that has finally come home to the Switch and it feels like home. Beware, the bigger aliens and enemy mechs you’ll encounter along the way will make for quite a challenge, but if you make effective use of your ship’s abilities and arsenal (and maybe a little bit of luck) you can do quite well. Definitely worth a look for fans of classic sci-fi anime, laser fire, and big-ass robots.

Score: 8

  • For classic sci-fi anime fans it’s like playing one of those iconic cartoons
  • Your ship’s nimble moves and weaponry are complimented by your mech’s slashing and grappling abilities, often giving you a variety of combat options
  • As you get further along the number of upgrades and experimenting to combine them in different ways can give the battles some variety

  • Especially as you’re getting the hang of everything the degree of challenge in the game can be aggravating
  • Luck can play a pretty big part in your success when it comes to which upgrades you get when given the game’s roguelike roots, even when playing in Arcade mode