Dr. David's Indie Spotlight: Nom Nom Galaxy is more than just PixelJunk Terraria
Nom Nom Galaxy isn't the next Terraria — it's the first Nom Nom Galaxy. I mean, I get it. It's always pretty easy to draw comparisons between something new and whatever it reminds us of. Still, sometimes it's not that simple. Was Sonic the Hedgehog the Mario killer? Not necessarily. Did Saints Row overthrow Grand Theft Auto? No, it did its own thing. Is Nom Nom Galaxy just Terraria by the PixelJunk people? Absolutely not. And the sooner everyone gets that, the sooner they'll see that this is a magnificently jovial little game worthy of its own merit.
Nom Nom Galaxy is quite a departure from developer Q-Games' beloved PixelJunk series. While titles such as PixelJunk Racers, PixelJunk Monsters, and PixelJunk Shooter all went in clearly traditional gameplay directions, this latest endeavor offers a mish-mash of styles that actually work well together. The result is one of those games that you can either play in short bursts or sink big chunks of time into.
What Nom Nom Galaxy offers is an experience that can be considered survival/sandbox/business sim lite. Like Terraria, Minecraft, and Pixelated World Creator 4000 (warning: not a real game), Q-Games' latest does indeed deliver a nice dose of open world quirkiness. The survival and sandbox elements are obviously influenced by that style of game, and it's clear that several familiar tropes are being utilized to garner an even bigger fan base. You're dropped into a fairly sizable world, and it's up to you to discover ingredients and figure out how to make it on your own. That much can be considered Terraria-like.
Even then, there's something about Nom Nom Galaxy that helps it stand out from the rest of the pack. Quite frankly, I think it's that signature PixelJunk style. Q-Games has a decidedly stylish approach when making games, and it's something that's translated over exceptionally well to Nom Nom Galaxy. Despite the fact that it's entirely unlike any of its series brethren, this particular game still exudes that lovely, whimsical, jolly PixelJunk vibe, making it seem more in line with those games than with something like Terraria or Starbound.
In addition to its distinct style, the mechanics of Nom Nom Galaxy are also fairly fresh despite the misconceptions some folks may initially have. While Terraria is fairly easy to get into, Nom Nom Galaxy is even more accessible. That's not to say its an overly simplistic dud of a sandbox title. Quite the contrary — spend plenty of time with it, and you'll discover some incredible nuances that are surprisingly engaging and addictive. Concocting soup recipes, building a massive factory, and digging for ingredients are all great time sinks that keep you hooked.
That brings us to the third major element in Nom Nom Galaxy: the business sim part. Admittedly, calling this game a “business sim” might be slight hyperbole on my part, but there are plenty of factors to take into account the entire time you're playing. For starters, you're not just building a gargantuan soup empire — you're also dealing with competition from rival interstellar soup conglomerates. As a Soup Co. employee, you need to constantly come up with new soup recipes, ship out as much product as you can (via rocketship!), and deal with attacks from your rivals.
Dealing with attackers is yet another massive piece of the Nom Nom Galaxy puzzle. It's not enough that you're able to explore a fun world or create a growing soup corporation. And you've certainly got more to deal with than just aggressive (though relatively weak) wildlife that can be hunted to create even more kinds of soup. You also have to deal with those pesky competitors of yours, essentially turning Nom Nom Galaxy into a tower defense game at times. You have to watch your ass and keep your base safe from enemies, because they'll show up and raise hell without warning.
If you like Terraria (or others like it), you'll potentially enjoy Q-Games' take on the genre. But even if you've never played those other games, there's still a lot to love here. Nom Nom Galaxy will be compared to Terraria often, and that's fine. The important thing to understand, however, is that there's more to this game than just crafting, building, and exploring. Yes, that's a big part of the experience, but if you just think of Nom Nom Galaxy as a PixelJunk-esque Terraria, you'll be misconstruing what is essentially a wonderfully unique entry in the 2D sandbox genre.
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