By – Callan MacKinlay
Tales of Another Galaxy is not a game. It is at best an exercise in frustration and at worst a total shambles. You should not play this or purchase it. Many people talk about “supporting indie developers” and I agree that it is important to help those out who are trying to break new ground or provide interesting experiences. Tales of Another Galaxy does not break new ground, nor should you support it.
The game’s campaign is a story-less jumble where you play as an unnamed soldier who keeps getting ordered by your superior officer (of unknown rank) to clean up messes on a spaceship. These issues involve fixing the ship, killing space vermin and defending yourself against space pirate or space ninja attacks. While some of these tasks sound funny and quirky at first, they are in essence just search and destroy or fetch quests. So simple and mindless are these tasks that you quickly want to be doing anything other than play this game.
Of course, if you quit and ever decide to come back to the game, there is a chance that your progress will not be saved, a serious bug that was known and unfixed by the developer. Also, each mission ranges in difficulty from insanely easy to ridiculously impossible, not including the instances of game-breaking bugs. Your character dies with one hit from any weapon or hazard which is problematic when there aren’t any checkpoints in the missions. Without a mini-map, a lot of the missions end up hinging on whether or not you find the right pathway quickly enough. The enemies that you must fight often have cones of vision that exceed half the screen, turn 90-180 degrees in an instant and are also modern-day Annie Oakleys with their weapons.
The enemies’ accuracy would be less problematic if you also could shoot well, but the controls leave much to be desired. Limiting you to the directional keys and the z, x and c keys, the controls feel like they have come back from the 80s. If you want to shoot on a diagonal, you have to be moving in that direction while you shoot, moving you closer to the enemy you are aiming at and leaving you open to a blaster in the face. While you can change this scheme slightly, I have always been a purist who believes that if a designer made the controls a certain way, there was a reason for it and you shouldn’t change them.
I just wish they had used the mouse in some way to make shooting more fun and less annoying. I am assuming it wouldn’t have been too hard to have your character aim in the direction of the mouse cursor while you move around with the keys. And since there are only three weapons in the game, I am sure the two main ones (a flamethrower and a laser) could have been mapped to the mouse and the sentry gun could have been put on the keyboard. I am also surprised that the sentry gun doesn’t automatically aim in the direction you are facing. Instead, it always faces right and you have to change its direction every time. If you make a mistake, you can’t pick the sentry back up to reorient it and you will almost certainly fail. This is especially problematic on the mission where you have to defend scientists against a horde of zombies using only sentries.
Tales of Another Galaxy is also ugly; the textures look like they were made for Windows 3.1, the animations are simplistic, and the character models are brightly-colored clowns. Numerous complaints exist right now on the game’s Greenlight page about its graphics and the developer’s response to this is that you can change them. So, it is our job to fix the ugly parts of your game? That is the definition of apathy. You are also forced to fight the most nonsensical creatures in a space setting, like dragons, dinosaurs and ninjas. Why they didn’t make up cool alien types for you to fight since the game takes place in another galaxy leaves me feeling that there was a lack of creativity in its development.
I had hoped for the missions where you fly around in an actual spaceship to be a highlight but you only get to do this three times. Even with so small a sample size, I quickly realized that they are just as underwhelming as the rest of the game. During one of these outer space missions, you have to fight an armada of ships with your own squadron of wingmen but you soon find out that your fellow fighters are useless and only fire at the same time you do. This makes it seem like the mission is more about tricks than actual strategy; a feeling which pervades the entire game.
The only thing that was actually good about this game is the music (but not the sound effects). It seems like the developer hired someone good to make solid spacey music that goes well with what I originally hoped this game would be about. Suitably electronic, I would play the soundtrack at home. But I will not play this game just to listen to the soundtrack.
Is It Worth Your Money?
No. Do not buy this game. Do not play this game. Do not vote for this game on Greenlight. Support indie developers that make good games. Do not support this game.