In so many games today you are cast as the good guy.. Not in Galaxy Squad however, as you take a team of mercenaries across the galaxy on the run from the federation, to deliver the goods to a planet lightyears away. On your way you run into a plethora of other bandits, cyborgs and aliens that look to thwart your every move.
When first loading up Galaxy Squad you are greeted with solely the story mode option to play, but three other options are unlockable for extended gameplay. Whilst in story mode you have the option to select your group of three randomly generated bandits / soldiers which you will use on this mission across the galaxy. As the story progresses you can increase this to six from three classes to choose from: Assault, Shooter and Support.
Assault is your heavy weapon (tank) type character which is best used for close range to deal maximum damage. Shooter is a more ranged version of the Assault class and is effective in a supporting role helping to clean up bad guys from a safer distance. Support is your medic and light arms character. I didn’t see any of my support characters revive anyone while in a level but each time I started a new mission we had full health; so I assume they heal you when on the ship. The Support class is also useful for dealing with enemies at close quarters with your Assault character.
You explore by moving from system to system and are free to explore as much as you want, though the central story line must be followed for progression as the Federation chases you across the galaxy.
There is a selection of turn based battles which throws you into the main crux of the game. There are also space stations to explore where you can repair your ship and talk to locals to obtain side quests. Black holes are utilized to allow you to jump further and your choices made along the way help to keep the exploration aspect fun and engaging.
Once you enter the turn-based battles is when you are really tested. I enjoy how Galaxy Squad can be brutal if you don’t use your team wisely and plan ahead. Once you master that the game shows its cleverness and surprising ease in completing missions and defeating the foes that stand in your way. The turn-based movement can be used in two ways. Firstly, one long move to either run for a target / objective or to escape an area if you get bogged down. Or second, where two smaller moves which allow movement and then an action to attack, wait and attack the next moving enemy, reload, or defend. I found myself attacking the most and then defending to give my character a greater dodge chance for the incoming enemy attack.
To complete a level a your primary objective must be fulfilled, such as kill all enemies, save the people, or destroy an object. I like the variety and that it wasn’t just gung-ho kill everyone each time. You could look to skirt round enemies to rescue civilians to end the level sooner which allowed the gameplay to stay fresh and interesting where some turn-based games struggle after a while. There was always an element of caution in my play because losing all three members of your squad results in the end game and you are thrown back to the start of the story.
Galaxy Squad has a superb art style and excellent Cyberpunk meets space futuristic setting. The graphics are basic and crude in some places, but this adds to the charm and feel of the game and allowed me to be pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed my time playing. I love the electronic music soundtrack which changes from a title screen into battle music, which I felt added to the overall gameplay experience.
Camera angles are top down like most turn-based games giving you a view of the landscape around you but not the whole map which throws in an added surprise when you suddenly see your enemies emerging from the dark out of your field of vision.
My one issue was the tricky visuals when wanting to select a line of dialogue as the bar has a very subtle change in colour which took me a few attempts to notice it move, which sometimes resulted in me leaving dialogue early, missing out on quests or attacking when I wanted to run.
Overall, Galaxy Squad is a very enjoyable game if you like roguelike and turn-based games, the gameplay can be hard at the start but once mastered allows for some great gameplay. These types of games are always addictive, and Galaxy Squad is no different, with multiple ways to play the story by varying your characters on each playthrough and with a nice selection of different game modes like survival horde mode and conquest where your faction is aiming for all out giant war victory. There is plenty to keep fans of this genre coming back for more!
I score Galaxy Squad
7 / 10
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