Galak-Z: The Di­men­sional

PC, PS4, Vita


When we pre­vi­ously tuned in to Galak-Z, 17-Bit CEO and cre­ative direc­tor Jake Kaz­dal de­scribed his retro-themed space shooter as the mod­ern an­ti­dote to end­less twin-stick blast­ing and a thou­sand cir­cles of bul­let hell. Not that you’d know it just by look­ing. With its cel-shad­ing, pause screen drenched in VHS stutter and CRT fring­ing, tele­play cred­its be­fore ev­ery mission, and as­ter­oids that break into chunks at the mer­est brush of a hot-pink laser bolt, Galak-Z con­tin­ues to lean heav­ily on the vis­ual lan­guage of ’80s Satur­day morn­ing anime and ’70s ar­cade cabs. Af­ter over a year spent retrofitting Rogue­like el­e­ments into the game, noth­ing about Kaz­dal’s early mission state­ment has changed ei­ther, yet ev­ery­thing is sub­tly dif­fer­ent.

Where once freeform lev­els were the in­ter­mis­sions be­tween de­fined maps, now they are the norm. Lay­ered on top are sim­ple ob­jec­tives, de­liv­ered be­tween th­ese so-called episodes on­board your stricken moth­er­ship, the Ax­e­lios. What­ever task is at hand, it’s down to Battle-Of-The-Plan­ets-styled green­horn and last sur­viv­ing fighter pi­lot A-Tak to make it hap­pen. And while the mission tem­plates in Galak-Z’s in­creas­ingly tough sea­sons soon be­come familiar, the pro­ce­dural plan­e­toids and en­emy place­ments lend un­pre­dictabil­ity to ev­ery run. But even nav­i­gat­ing the tu­to­rial re­quires a remap­ping of in­stinct. In the void, there’s no air re­sis­tance to slow A-Tak’s snub-nosed fighter, so you’ll bar­rel on­wards un­til you hit some­thing or cor­rect your course. The craft car­ries plenty of mo­men­tum too; piv­ot­ing your prow with the left stick and fir­ing your thrusters – the left and right

ABOVE The en­emy counts es­ca­late quickly, de­mand­ing tac­tics as well as cock­pit skills to over­come. Once pulled, you’ll have a hard time shak­ing off ag­gres­sors.

LEFT An early cutscene dis­plays the dev­as­tat­ing power of mechs, and ham­mers home just how alone A-Tak is in his mission. But by the cli­max of even the first sea­son, they’ll seem com­par­a­tively tame

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