"It's the perfect game for fans of 80's anime," 17-Bit's Raj Joshi told me about Galak-Z before I was given a chance to play it. Admittedly, it seemed like a weird statement at the time. At first glance, the Asteroids-esque space shooter looks relatively run-of-the-mill. Upon a bit of inspection, it's easy to tell where Galak-Z draws inspiration from.
As a character named A-Tak, you control a lone, small spaceship in an attempt to escape the alien territory that you're trapped in. A-Tak looks and speaks very much like a typical anime protagonist, but I think you need not worry if that's not your cup of tea; it's hard to imagine that he'll be around too much. Galak-Z seems as if it'll put a fleeting emphasis on narrative, and focus mostly on the action.
The gameplay has a definite learning curve to it, one that probably can't be perfected during a demo. Your ship comes equipped with a thruster, a booster, lasers, and a limited supply of missiles. While the boosters move you forward, there's a separate button that moves the ship in reverse, which can be used in conjunction with the boosters. There's also a juke button that very briefly pops the ship outside of the 2D plane of the world, providing much-needed sanctuary from the attacks of the enemies.
The most notable feature of the combat system is that it's really pretty difficult. Even two small enemy ships can cause problems, while some of the bigger ones can feel downright impossible. It's obvious that Galak-Z will require a lot of retreating while attacking, as an outwardly aggressive approach probably won't yield success. This is where the juke comes in particularly handy, almost to the point of seeming overpowered at times.
Despite Galak-Z's setting, it's not subject to the vast expanses of nothingness that are commonly associated with space. Rather, it takes on a bit of a metroidvania vibe, as it requires that you work your way through different sets of caves to find upgrades and to eventually advance. It's a mechanic that will need to be explored in detail, but seems likely to mesh well with the style of game.
17-Bit intends to bring Galak-Z to PC, PS4, and possibly PS Vita. As it is now, it appears as if it'll shape up nicely with a bit more polish and refinement. It looks like Sony definitely has another strong indie title in its repertoire.