January 25, 2023

A Star is Born - Galacticon (Steam) Review

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A Star is Born - Galacticon (Steam) Review

By Joel | January 25, 2023
 Relive the glory days of arcade gaming with Galacticon, a new game that combines the look and feel of classic 80's games like Defender and Joust

In the very distant future, mankind has at last finished with Earth. The landscapes are leveled, the mountains filled in, and no flowing rivers are left to pollute. Everything is nice and sterile as nature originally intended. Man's domination has achieved its goal and is now threatening neighboring planets with the same fate.

Out around the edges of the galaxy, a secret committee is meeting to prevent the Humans from expanding their inherently destructive nature. They call upon an ancient being, a God-like creature, called the Galacticon, to eliminate the threat and to restore balance.

 Relive the glory days of arcade gaming with Galacticon, a new game that combines the look and feel of classic 80's games like Defender and Joust

In a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Galacticon, by developer Radin Games and published by Flynn's Arcade Publishing, transforms players back to a time where arcades and shopping malls were prevalent and before the sense of wonder was lost.

The title is a marvelous throwback to the days when lighted marquees, pixel graphics, and monotone voice synthesizers were as recognizable as Micky Mouse and the Coke trademark logo.

Paying tribute to classic titles like Defender and Joust, Galacticon's opening levels passages are intense but somewhat routine as they're out of the basic barrel of 'kill and rescue survivors' clichés.

You take control of Galacticon, and through a fixed screen, maneuver left and right, destroying enemies, rescuing the planet's inhabitants, and placing them in transport ships. Once the transports are filled, you'll be prompted to fly upwards to the mother ship to unload your cargo and move on to the next level.

 Relive the glory days of arcade gaming with Galacticon, a new game that combines the look and feel of classic 80's games like Defender and Joust

Peas in a Pod

The rescue elements might be enough to make Galacticon a super fun action game. But what makes it more than that are the intangible dynamics inside the gameplay. For example, placing all the inhabitants of the same color in the same pod earns you top points, while mixing them up will earn you half.

And because you are only given three lives to start, every point is vital since the next extra life bonus is around the 200,000 mark. This itself makes Galacticon more than a shooter, it's a thinking man's shooting game as well.

And just like games of the past, it does not have an ending per se, so once you've complete the 8+ levels and the final boss, you replay the entire thing over, but this time with the difficulty ramped up considerably.

The game is simple enough that there isn't a second that goes by that isn't easy to understand especially for gamers old enough to remember the classics. If anyone will have difficulty understanding what makes Galacticon fun, it will be the modern players that have been trained to look at graphics over gameplay.

Players nowadays are bludgeoned by the choices they make, the spells they cast, and the weapons they choose. This game respects the deliberate nature of a forgotten genre slipping slowly back into the future.

 Relive the glory days of arcade gaming with Galacticon, a new game that combines the look and feel of classic 80's games like Defender and Joust

A Star is Born

The weight of the game obviously falls on the shoulders of its gameplay, and this is where it simply shines. Galacticon, isn't, by any stretch, a very profound game, nor does it try to be.

It is basically about an uncomplicated protagonist faced with an awesome, but uncomplicated, situation. Given a choice between the lives of Humans and the survival of the universe, he decides on the latter. Thankfully, there are a lot of people left to rescue and even more fun and excitement left to experience.

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