Nom Nom Galaxy
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.