Galak-Z: The Dimensional, Retro shooter aims to be a priority target - Games Weekly

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Galak-Z: The Dimensional, Retro shooter aims to be a priority target

 “Over a million BattleStar galactica viper fantasies will soon Be realiSed.”
Quite a lot of games not-so-secretly want to be movies, but this gem isn’t one of them. In the VHS wobble of the pause menu and the teleplay credits before each mission, 17-Bit’s latest retro homage shows it would much rather dress up like an ’80s Saturday morning anime.

Even that’s only half the story, because what Galak-Z plays like is an arcade cabinet that’s fallen through time from an alternate 1979. It’s like Asteroids made with the kind of RAM that used to cost the annual GDP of Cuba. You are A-Tak, the last fighter pilot on board the Axelios, stranded deep in procedurally generated space after an attack by the Imperials. Your mission: patch up your mothership and race home to save Earthican lives.

Roguelike Squadron
Doing that means completing episodic missions, which from the very beginning requires serious piloting skill. Without air resistance to slow you down, you’ll careen on through space unless you use your front and aft thrusters to change course, the left stick only pivoting you about. It’s a control scheme of uncommon fluidity in the right hands, and a million Battlestar Viper fantasies are about to be realised as you flip your ship and jet backwards while pumping out bolts of neon pink laser fire.

But it’s the enemies who are the real stars. Blessed with Cyntient AI, they’ll give chase once roused, hunt you down, or back off when hurt. You better do the latter, too, because the final thing Galak-Z stirs into its explosive fuel mix is a dash of roguelike. While shields recharge, hull damage is persistent, and death means starting missions again. Gear upgrades improve everything from shield capacity to your engine noise so you can more readily avoid detection.

You do have an ace up your sleeve, though: a Macross-inspired multi-lock missile system, which unleashes a swarm of warheads after a short lock-on period. It’s a devastating parting shot, and our hands-on definitely leaves us on a cliffhanger. Hopefully, it shouldn’t be long before 17-Bit announces its air date.

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