Nom Nom Gal­axy

EDGE - - PLAY - Q-Games PC, PS4 (ver­sion tested) Out now

Nom Nom Gal­axy as a whole would ben­e­fit greatly from ex­er­cis­ing the same re­straint shown in the soup recipes at its core. Too many gen­res, to cor­rupt the old adage, spoil the broth. Yet lumped to­gether in Q-Games’ culi­nary-themed ad­mix­ture are el­e­ments of base build­ing, tower de­fence, plat­form­ing, ex­plo­ration, com­bat, re­source man­age­ment and soup cre­ation. Only a hand­ful hold to­gether well.

Nom Nom has a few com­mon­al­i­ties with Ter­raria, in that the game plays out in 2D and al­lows you to mine and move blocks around as you ter­raform the land. In Q-Games’ take, how­ever, you’re in the em­ploy of the in­ter­ga­lac­tic Soup Co, and each level be­gins as you crash-land on a planet or as­ter­oid in search of recipes. Once you’ve found a place to build your gen­er­a­tore­quipped of­fice, you can ex­pand from there, adding cor­ri­dor seg­ments, soup ma­chines, rock­ets (to send your prod­uct off-world), con­veyor belts and tur­rets.

The goal is to beat an un­seen com­peti­tor by ship­ping more soup, thus dom­i­nat­ing the mar­ket. Con­sumer whims ebb and flow, and you must keep an eye on which recipes are most pop­u­lar (and there­fore worth a greater slice of mar­ket share). At first, you’ll have to do ev­ery­thing by hand, dig­ging out ar­eas of land, col­lect­ing Fac­to­ries can be perched pre­car­i­ously, but must sit on enough solid ground to sup­port their weight. For­get to add sup­port­ing struts while hol­low­ing out a cave be­low your fa­cil­ity and whole chunks could fall into the abyss in­gre­di­ents to put in the soup ma­chines and then car­ry­ing the heavy tins to your launch­ers. As you make more money, you can in­vest it in hired help, which takes the form of robots that spe­cialise in var­i­ous tasks, such as cut­ting down tall crops, pass­ing tins up a lift shaft or car­ry­ing in­gre­di­ents to ma­chines.

While the drip feed of new tech and im­prove­ments is ag­o­nis­ingly slow, get­ting a base es­tab­lished and then grad­u­ally au­tomat­ing and stream­lin­ing your pro­cesses is ex­tremely sat­is­fy­ing, es­pe­cially in col­lab­o­ra­tion with friends. Un­for­tu­nately, we found lit­tle in the way of online games to pick from. Of the two we did man­age to join, one kept freez­ing for min­utes at a time be­fore re­set­ting our char­ac­ter’s po­si­tion, while the other crashed right be­fore we were about to snatch vic­tory.

Off­line, there’s still plenty to make you gri­mace. Plat­form­ing feels sticky, even af­ter you’ve gained a dou­ble-jump and jet­pack, and com­bat is frus­trat­ing, forced upon you by waves of at­tack­ing en­e­mies in­tent on un­do­ing your hard work. Start punch­ing and you’ll be stuck fac­ing that di­rec­tion un­til you stop and turn, giv­ing en­e­mies the op­por­tu­nity to land free hits.

De­spite all this, the con­struc­tion of a pro­duc­tion line re­mains ap­peal­ing, but it’s telling that the first time Q-Games chose Early Ac­cess de­vel­op­ment over its usual in­ter­nal process has re­sulted in an un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally wa­tered-down re­sult.

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