You may have guessed that I enjoy a good platformer. The likes of Sonic and Mario were always really big things for me as a kid… But to be honest, out of the two, Sonic would always win simply because of the speed element of it.
There was just something inherently fun about going really, really fast!
Well, GalactaGirl is an indy retro style platformer that aims to recapture that supercharged magic, even adding in a “best time” counter to make you want to go faster. The question is, is it up to speed, or does GalactaGirl stall at the lights? Let’s take a look.
Whilst I’ve only been able to play the Alpha demo, we do get hints of the story right at the beginning. And you know what, the developers have been rather smart to keep the plot basic. You see, whilst there is an overarching storyline, the main focus of GalactaGirl (at least to me) appears to be more about the fun and the gameplay, rather than a novel-esque plot with tragedies and twists and whatnot.
The basic plot is that a clan of machines, known as the Robot Racers, are trying to take of the galaxy, and only GalactaGirl can stop them. It is a simple premise, yes… But really, it’s all the game needs.
This isn’t supposed to be heavily story-driven, so well done to the developers for recognising how much is needed to make the game enjoyable, without overdoing it (or not doing enough). The balance feels just right for the game.
As I mentioned earlier, GalactaGirl is a definite retro style game. The graphics are entirely reminiscent of the 16-bit platformer era, with level elements that would be right at home in a Sonic or Mario game. It’s actually quite astounding how well the developers have recreated the visuals.
Even some of the animations feel very much like an old Sonic game, especially when doing the lock-on attacks or going through loops. It is very clear where the developers’ inspiration came from, and to be honest, that’s not a bad thing at all. If anything, it shows you that they are real fans of the retro platforming genre, and real fans make the best indy games!
The enemies are interesting and unique, and the menu system is easy to understand and navigate. For a game trying to recapture the retro platformer style, GalactaGirl really does a great job. Plus, the addition of visual story elements, and the animation of the robot and scenery parts as they bounce along the ground really add to the excitement of an already exhilarating game.
Now, this is where the meat of GalactaGirl really is. It is very obvious where the developers have put their time and energy, and it has definitely paid off. For a game that is reliant on gameplay and speed, both have been put together very well, even for an Alpha build!
There are a few bugs… Like when I managed to fall through the floor and out of the map. But then, again, this is the Alpha demo. Development is still in the very, very early stages and bugs like this are bound to happen. The most important thing is that, when found, they are fixed. For now, though, the Alpha build is incredibly fun to play! And that is the single most important thing for a platformer of any style or era.
The action is very fast paced, with combinations of attack types actually helping you to move through the level quicker. You can reflect ranged attacks, and grind on certain types of terrain. Basically, it has everything you need in place to make an awesome platformer!
It is worth stating that I, personally, didn’t get on with the default keyboard mapping. However, that’s not an issue as you can customise the buttons from the menu in a very quick and easy key assignment wizard, of sorts.
The inclusion of homing attacks like the later Sonic games was a great idea, and gave the developers the ability to create multiple paths through each level. The enemies are spaced out enough that it doesn’t drive you crazy, but close enough that you can use the homing attack to chain together strikes and move through the level faster.
And again, this game emphasises speed, so any gameplay elements that help you go faster is a great addition.
And That’s All Folks
If you’re looking for a modern game that can help you relive memories from those classic platformers, you could a whole lot worse than GalactaGirl! It is probably one of the most promising retro-style platformers I have seen come to light recently.
The graphics are awesome, and the storyline is balanced with the utterly amazing gameplay, which is what really pushes GalactaGirl straight into the limelight for me. I had a lot of fun playing the Alpha, and I’ll definitely be following this game’s progress.