PixelJunk Nom Nom Galaxy

PixelJunk Nom Nom Galaxy is an addictive game with a lot of great mechanics, but those mechanics don't translate over to the controls.

By Artemis, Posted 12 Aug 2015

Soup is one of the simplest meals one can make and it's perfect for sick humans, but why is this relevant to video games in any way? That's because the game, PixelJunk Nom Nom Galaxy, published and developed by Q-Games, is focused around manufacturing soup of various flavors not just for you, but the entire galaxy. This out of this world concept plays out like a hybridization of Terraria, Plants vs. Zombies, and one of the countless restaurant managing games out there for mobile platforms. A bizarre concept in theory, but a fascinating one.

With a game like Nom Nom Galaxy, the story is relatively simple: the aliens of the universe love soup and it's your job to go to distant planets to discover new flavors, ship them to your distributors and please the audience. You'll be doing this all while competing with your rival soup company, who will send evil henchman to destroy your precious factory that is entirely customizable by you. Building up your defenses is a must, and while your little character can potentially fight off the hordes of enemies it does certainly make things easier when you're helped by turret-like structures that you built. If a player is expecting to go into this defending it on their own, they're going to have a hard time.

PixelJunk Nom Nom Galaxy SoupCo soup factory

A lot of Nom Nom Galaxy's appeal is that building your factory and building a strong infrastructure is important. This includes defenses rather than thinking you'll be able to solo a legion of explosive ships with just your fist and buzz saw. You aren't getting attacked all the time, but there is an indication in the upper right hand corner of your screen that lets you know that the attack is coming, how far ahead you are of the rival companies profits and gives you time to prepare. It's a well-executed system, giving the players just enough time to prepare, and not too much time to sit idly by waiting for the invaders to come. If the player is too far away from their home base while harvesting new soup ingredients it can lead to disaster, so careful planning is a must in order to get through the game's “day to day” grind. That's a big part of the appeal of this game is that you can build everything up in such a way where everything works succinctly and perfectly with one another. For you to make a nearly flawless system that will help make you daily tasks easier and for those who really like well-made systems like this, such as assembly lines, this might appeal to those sensibilities.

Speaking of day to day, there's a “break time” system in place where you take a break for the day in order to review the end of the days profits. It's a nice idea, but the problem is that if you're in the middle of harvesting multiple things at once, you won't always be able to collect the fruits of your labor once the day is over. This is particularly true with creatures you had to beat down in order to get their ingredients, and while it might make sense for them to ripsaw, it also makes all of your loot disappear which is disheartening when you've spent all of that time working to get just enough supplies to gather them all up and put it in your assembly line. Also, enemies have a strange respawn rate where sometimes they'll all respawn at once, overwhelming the player once break time is over, possibly leading to their death or there will be none around at all and you'll have to beat the spawner with you fists in order to get one of the measly creatures to pop out or you'll have to go on a whole new hunt.

PixelJunk Nom Nom Galaxy mining

Harvesting materials to make new soups to earn more money is the main mechanic of the game, and with dozens upon dozens of possibilities with every ingredient, it's easy to try out a new ingredient to please your customers. Giving variety in a game like this, which can get stale quickly, is ideal and shows that the developers were thinking about just how long the player have to invest in order to pass through each level. Occasionally a robot will pop up in the left hand corner of the screen and inform you what ingredients are doing well right now and which aren't. The player needs to pay attention to because it can determine whether or not your new soup flavor will be a smash hit or an utter disaster. The problem is that sometimes the robot can pop up over the world itself leading to some unfortunate incidents where the player can be killed because of him informing you of a 1 percent increase on how well-liked tomatoes are.

The games' biggest issue, which is no doubt the cause for a lot of strife with the player, are the controls. In short, they're the controls are in the most awkward places imaginable. There's no way to remap them either so you're just stuck. This has been an issue with previous Pixel Junk games, but never to this extent. They must think that all PC gamers love pressing the shift key at any chance we get, because many of the controls revolve around pressing the shift key and W at the same time. The controls are considerably easier on the controller but the controller is only for Co-op which is plagued by the same issues, except now it seems like your Co-Op partner is doing all the work since their contoller is at least functioning.The repair key is CTRL, which is fine, but then you have to then input what action you want to do on WASD, which is also fine in theory, but sometimes it doesn't even respond. That's something about the controls that's bothersome; there's a delay between each button press, not noticeable at first, but as time goes on you'll start to notice it as it often results in your death. Sometimes it doesn't even register your button presses, which while it doesn't happen too often, it happens enough to note it in a review. This is after testing it on multiple keyboards too so it's not just my PC, there are times where your input will not register. Keep in mind, this game was in early access for quite a while, so it had more than enough time to fix things that were in the early access reviews by other players, but they didn't.

PixelJunk™ Nom Nom Galaxy is an addictive game with a lot of great mechanics, but those mechanics don't translate over to the controls. There were too many cooks stirring this pot of chicken noodle soup and it ended up having too many different flavors. It still tastes good, but it's not nearly as good as it could be.

Angelina Bonilla, NoobFeed (@Twitter)

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General Information

Platform(s): PS3, PC
Publisher(s): Q-Games, Ltd.
Developer(s): Q-Games, Ltd.
Genres: Simulation
Themes: Construction, Strategy
Release Date: 2015-08-03

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