Galacticon • Retro Review

I’ve rarely seen a game released on the Nintendo eShop on a Sunday. Yesterday, Galacticon came to the Nintendo Switch eShop after releasing on Steam two days earlier — on Friday, May 20, 2022. I just wanted to point that out, because I feel like I’ve only seen new games come to Steam on a Sunday.

I’ve been playing Galacticon since earlier this month. The gameplay takes me back to playing classic 80’s arcade cabinet games. Games like Joust, Asteroids, Defender and so many others come to mind. It isn’t only the gameplay that takes me back. The 80’s chiptune sounds along with the announcer’s muffled “Ready Player One!,” at the start of each level are also big on the nostalgia front.

Galacticon • Gameplay Part I

Story Time

“Humans are tiny creatures of an outer belt planet that thanks to their biomechanical monstrosities have invaded, exploited and enslaved most species in the galaxy.”
“Invoke the Galacticon, a deadly legendary creature — half God, half machine — and pray everything goes well…”

The story of Galacticon is quite simple at a glance. It is your quest, as the Galacticon, to rescue humans being held captive by a deadly space race of monstrosities. Next, transfer the humans to safety, back to your ship. The control scheme is also very simple and straight forward.

Galacticon • Controls

The more complicated part is keeping the different human races separate to maximize your score, and to make sure they don’t murder each other. While this looks like your average, old school “Pew Pew,” Kill the bad guys, collect some stuff, and score big points. There’s a bit more to it.

Check some of the games “rules” below:

I began my journey rescuing humans in no particular fashion. This led to murder between different races and less points for me overall. Once I learned the basics, I started to pay more attention to what I was doing. This is also where I began to have more luck passing the first level.

With an infinite number of levels, the point of Galacticon is to see how far you can make it. How long can you stay alive, how many humans can you save, and how many space monsters can you kill along the way. All of these factors contribute to your high score.

Galacticon • Gameplay Part II

Each level consists of a mix of two of the games I mentioned before. Phase I is very much like a game of the classic Joust. You must defeat enemies on a set map with platforms, where you can pass through the side edges.

Phase II is more like a game of Asteroids. Once you have rescued enough humans it’s time to transport them to your ship above. While you make your way to your ship there are flying rocks (aka asteroids) coming at you from all directions.

Galacticon • Gameplay Part III

Each level also features secrets to uncover and gain more points. This is where new technology is incorporated into this retro-style game. Once you attain a high enough score, you are provided with a QR code to enter that score onto the online leaderboards. You also may gain access to some extra content. Including tips, secrets and more.

*Warning: The third image in the slideshow below may contain a small Spoiler* (aka Bonus Content/Tips)

This game can benefit from a multiplayer, or two-player co-op, mode. However, since Galacticon is a $5 game, I don’t see much support or any DLC coming to it later on.

Over the past two years, we’ve seen many classic Atari games be remastered in the Atari Recharged series. Games like Asteroids, Black Widow, and Centipede. The Recharged series is basically a hi-def, fast-paced neon reskin of these classic Atari games. I would love to see Galacticon receive this treatment at some point.

When I first started playing, I wondered if this was a remake of an older game I remembered playing back in the day. Galacticon is a new title, but it is heavily influenced by a few old school arcade cabinets — mainly Joust and Asteroids as I mentioned earlier.

Overall, Galacticon is a charming experience for those who grew up playing Atari classics and old school arcade games. It’s also a cool throwback for a younger audience, who haven’t experienced many of the classics. It sort of feels old and new at the same time.

Galacticon is out now on PC (via Steam) and the Nintendo Switch eShop.

* was provided a code by the publisher Flynn’s Arcade.

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