Galak-Z: The Dimensional Hands-On Preview – PAX Prime 2013
Fans of the space shooter genre who have loved classic games like Asteroid, R-Type or even modern takes such as Super Stardust HD will have one more IP to look forward to with Galak-Z: The Dimensional. Set to release sometime in 2014 for the PS4, Galak-Z is being designed to bring the hardcore combat styling of games like Halo and Far Cry 3 to the side scroller, according to its developer, 17-Bit.
From just looking at the title, it is easy to see the cult-classic influence of 80s styled jet fighting animes like Robotech and Macross, as even the pilots are dressed up in brightly colored jumpsuits with giant helmets and colored visors. This isn’t to say the game looks at all like a classic throwback or rip off of another franchise, but that every bit of the title looks to be saturated in very vibrant and wonderfully textured models – making it look like the cartoons of my childhood.
Getting my hands on the game, it was easy to fly into a wall simply because the controls were incredibly complex, as you not only have thrusters to move you forward, you have them to move up, as well as an air break/reverse thruster and the ability to boost. After playing the game for a few minutes, I was able to fly around and eventually realized that the controls weren’t broken, but almost too perfect. They weren’t designed to be dumbed down, so that the play felt limited, it was designed to make you a top gun pilot if you could handle it.
Eventually, I ran into a number of other flying ships similar to my own and engaged in some dog-fighting and that was when things started to fall into place. Flying around, it was easy to gain momentum and almost go head first into an asteroid, but by using the alternate thrusters I narrowly missed them and maneuvered for a shot. Getting past them, giant robotic space creatures started to pop out of the rocks and hunt me down, boosting around to get out of their territory. Then I ran into a much larger creature. Not wanting to get into a fight in the corridor that I was flying through, I tried to bring the massive enemy into a bigger area, but trained it directly into another group of enemy jets.
At this moment, I thought I was doomed, but one of the developers at 17-Bit simply said, ‘just watch this,’ and instead of being horded, both groups of enemies started fighting among themselves. Galak-Z apparently has a built in AI that will cause differing types of enemies to fight amongst themselves, letting you use the world to your advantage.
By this time, I had gotten enough experience flying around,that I was able to boost into coves, apply the appropriate thrusters to spin a 180 and hover in place to take out anyone following me. The controls had become natural. Eventually, near the end of the demo, I was greeted by a gigantic monster that hunted me down as I tried to fly away. The crowd gathered around me while I dove between and around boulders, trying to get away and attack when I could, but I just couldn’t make it and was received with a resounding ‘aww’ from the crowd.
Galak-Z: The Dimensional looks to be a phenomenal space shooter in the making, but fans of FPS games like Halo or Far Cry 3 will still probably be fairly confused when they hear comparisons, as I still don’t quite understand the link. But, for what it is worth, 17-Bit have done a wonderful job up to this point and are looking to spend the extra development time making an already great space shooter even better.