The PixelJunk series was one of the major standout series on the Playstation 3. PixelJunk Monsters, Shooter and Eden were some of the first games that defined Sony as having the lead in the “indie” console market. However, as the indie market changed, so to has PixelJunk. The newest PixelJunk game is Nom Nom Galaxy. Part RTS, part survival crafting game and one hundred percent soup simulation, Nom Nom Galaxy might be the best PixelJunk game, but only when you play it co-op.
Nom Nom Galaxy is part Terraria, part tower defense and part real-time strategy. Each level takes place in a 2D landscape, which is similar to Terraria. You will generally start by building a main office. This area allows you to build up a factory to build soup. However, to actually begin building your soup empire, you need to find ingredients.
Each level has its own set of ingredients to find. These might be buried underground or on the planet’s surface. As you dig through the environment, you can cut down plants or kill animals and bring them back to your factory to add to the soup machines. Each machine can combine two ingredients and form a soup. You then need to build a rocket to send the soup off into space.
Sending your soup off does two things. One is that it gives you a certain amount of the market share. Basically, you are attempting to get one hundred percent of the soup market. Each soup that you send off will give you a certain amount of the market. Generally, these will be around five percent, but soups made with popular ingredients can net you ten percent. Each level will also have certain ingredients that are considered “bad”, which can net you a smaller amount or it can even take away a part of your market share. You are competing against a rival company for the full market share, so building soups and sending them out fast becomes incredibly important.
The second part, though, is that it allows you to get gold. Gold allows you to build up turrets to defend your base and allows you to build robots to automate the soup process. As the days progress, the rival company will send out ships to attack your base. You can use your saw and your fists to beat up ships, but you will eventually be overrun and your entire base can be destroyed.
Building robots in your base can, to a degree, automate the process. You can build multiple levels to your base and these robots can store ingredients and send soup off in the rockets. They can be very helpful as it will allow you to spend less time worrying about the soup production and more on gathering ingredients.
However, gathering ingredients can be a massive pain. While you eventually gain the ability to hold multiple ingredients, when you first start you can only hold one ingredient at a time. This can be a massive time sink as some of the more rare and more valuable ingredients can be hidden deep in the level. Moreover, because of the way the day system works, at the end of the day, you stop working. Any ingredients that are not being held disappear from the world. This is especially annoying as you will drop any ingredients if you fall too far. You can have, literally, seconds left in the day, fall, drop an item and lose an ingredient you’ve worked to get.
The actual soup production can also be a bit of a pain. Each soup machine can only create one type of soup, so once you’ve used that machine, that is the only soup it can create. This is especially frustrating as, as you go through the level, certain ingredients become less popular and you will want to avoid using them. These machines are completely useless. While you can repurpose them, it would be nice to just have a universal soup machine.
While the game can be played single player, it seems like it would be far too much to do on your own. There are so many things you will need to worry about like enemies attacking, gathering ingredients and building your base, that it is almost impossible to play a short single player game. You can play through online co-op or via split screen with a partner. This is almost the only real way to play the game. It’s almost like you are playing any of the major crafting games, only with levels instead of one continuous world. Even in co-op, though, levels can go on for an hour meaning Nom Nom Galaxy requires a massive amount of investment.
Nom Nom Galaxy has some decent ideas going for it but it often has too much stuff going on at any given time. Levels are vastly complex but in order to really do much with them, you need to spend a huge amount of time in the game. It can be fun to gather ingredients with your co-op partner but managing everything that is going on can be frustrating. These are some minor annoyances but for the most part, Nom Nom Galaxy is a decently fun multiplayer experience.
SCORE: 8.0 out of 10
A copy of Nom Nom Galaxy was provided to Pixel Related for review.