ProtoGalaxy for PCPlatform: PC Games
Category: Action Games, Shooter, Strategy
ProtoGalaxy, provided to me by Source Studio, is a new action-filled space shooter for the PC. Available now on Steam, it combines the action of a scrolling shooter with the strategy of ship customization and interactive puzzles. Can you successfully defend Earth, and more importantly, will you want to defend Earth? (Hint: It’s fun. You will!) Read on!
The game looks like a “twin-stick” shooter in that you control your ship’s movement and aiming separately with an overhead perspective. You can customize the controls to your liking with keyboard, mouse, gamepad, or joystick. I used the default control scheme for the most part - WASD for ship movement, mouse for aiming, and mouse buttons for shooting. I did also try a gamepad, and it worked very well. When I think of a twin-stick shooter, I usually think of a high score game with no story or end. ProtoGalaxy is much more than that. It has a set number of levels with a goal in mind. Its branching map also let’s you choose what level to tackle next, with three main paths from which to choose. At different times the levels scroll in different directions. Sometimes the camera follows you, letting you move at your own speed. Other times it sets the pace and path for you. While ProtoGalaxy is very action heavy, it also has its share of puzzles. Shoot switches, use your gravity gun, and study how the level functions to successfully navigate through it.
As you play, you can collect power-ups to temporarily make you more powerful. These can perform a variety of effects such as boosting your speed or increasing your rate of fire. You can also collect money to be used between levels to upgrade your ship. You can buy different shields, engines, weapons, and much more. As you can expect from this type of customization, there are definitely trade-offs. Do you want to increase your fire power? Sure, but it’ll come at the cost of your ship speed. Are you stuck on a level? Try playing a different level to grind some money before spending it on upgrades! The upgrades and ship customizing seemed a little daunting to me at first. There isn’t much of an explanation in the game, and it looked quite complicated. After I simply jumped into it, I found that it wasn’t as stressful as I thought. It would be better if the process seemed a little more welcoming, but you should still keep in mind that it’s easier than it looks. Just start playing and don’t worry!
ProtoGalaxy also comes with a level editor. You can create new missions and even entire campaigns. The default campaign can also be opened in the level editor, allowing you to see how the developers made it. The editor is fairly complex. More casual gamers will probably want to avoid it, but if you want to delve deeper, then you should definitely play in the editor. Make sure you put in the time, because it’s not immediately easy.
I’ve talked about what ProtoGalaxy offers, but what do I really think of it? It’s a lot of fun! At first glance, parts of it seem almost overwhelming, especially ship customization, but it really isn’t. Ignore the customization at first and over time you can play with it more and more. The game has a retro feel to it even though it still looks new. The graphics are colorful and clean, and the electronic music is fitting and fun. The levels are difficult without being overly frustrating. With my first attempt at each level, I’d usually lose, but I could examine the layout of the level and see what the developers want me to do, learning from my mistakes. Of course, I could also purchase some ship upgrades if I managed to get enough money! My favorite part of ProtoGalaxy is that is allows four-player co-op! This can be done online or local. Yes, local co-op on a PC game. It’s rare for PC games, but it works very well here. One person uses the keyboard and mouse, and others can use gamepads. You could get multiple people on one keyboard if you really want to try, but I don’t think I’d want to attempt it! ProtoGalaxy could be a ton of fun with three friends who all like arcade shooters!
With ProtoGalaxy, what appears to be a small title actually has quite a bit of depth. Fans of arcade shooters will be very pleased. It has lots of action but is definitely not mindless due to its complex levels and upgrade system. Ship customization obviously adds a lot of strategy, and as I said, the graphics, music, and sound are all good. Four-player co-op adds a lot of value to me, as I absolutely love local co-op. In addition, the level editor adds more content for people who want to jump deeper into the mechanics of the game if they’re willing to put in the time. ProtoGalaxy is a great a game and is currently $4.99 on Steam, 50% off its normal $9.99 price tag!