Developer: 17 Bit Games
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux. PS4
I had been anticipating Galak-Z for a while. The fluid combat, the bright flashy visuals, mech mode, roguelike elements...all signs pointed towards a fast-paced frenetic dual-stick shooter with screen-filling missile barrages. And Galak-Z definitely has all those things and more, but what I wasn't expecting was a deliberately-paced shooter with a focus on stealth and cautious exploration. It was a welcome surprise.
Modulating your thrust is crucial, because despite its frenetic appearance, Galak-Z actually has a large focus on stealth. Reminiscent of Mark of the Ninja, enemy light of sight is visually represented on screen, and the sound of engines displayed as a circle around your ship. Enemies will investigate suspicious sounds, become alerted if they catch a glimpse of you. You only have a few health and shield points, and enemies attack relentlessly, so hiding and flanking and attacking when you have the advantage is key to surviving.
Sometimes your arsenal isn't enough and Galak-Z features emergent gameplay elements that allow for more strategic depth. Enemy factions fight each other, so leading a fleet of Empire ships into a nest of space bugs is always a viable tactic. The environments are filled with hazards that can be used against enemies, from lava pools and drifting debris to alien growths that unleash shield-draining spores. Choosing where you fight can be just as important as how you fight.
But no element is Galak-Z is as stylish as its seamless mech transformations, At the press of a button, your ship shifts into a sword and shield-wielding robot that can slash through a squadron, or grapple an enemy and fling it into an asteroid. Fluidly switching between ship and mech mode, along with stealth and environmental hazards and your arsenal, lets you turn the tides against the game's challenging enemies and bosses.
Galak-Z is available on Steam, as well as PS4