Galaxy Champions TV may take place in the year 2049, but its influences are clearly rooted in the past. Starting with the 80s arcade game Smash TV, this riff on the formula aims to recapture the frenetic action of its source material while adding a few modern touches to make the game more palatable to today’s audiences.
You play as a contestant in a horrifying game show where you have to fight for your life against swarms of enemies. Each of the game’s four planets has 10 stages to work through. If you die, you’ll have to start at the beginning of the planet you were last on. Thankfully, there’s no game over state, allowing you to continue from the furthest planet you’ve unlocked. Even so, the game puts up one heck of a fight.
If you’re strictly looking to play a modern Smash TV, this will more or less scratch that itch. Blasting your way through each room, the game requires players to constantly shoot and move. Though I didn’t get to try the two-player local co-op, I imagine that it’s the way to play.
The default machine gun doesn’t feel like an adequate weapon for this fight, but you’ll get some help along the way. Enemies will drop a number of different weapons, from shotguns, to lasers, to flamethrowers among others. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses while also being limited use. Make sure to maximize each shot!
They’ll also drop hearts that will refill your health. Most importantly, enemies drop orbs that can be cashed in between stages to unlock a number of different abilities and power-ups. Stronger weapons, the ability to dash, and an additional health slot are among many potential upgrades.
In theory, this is an awesome way of getting more players through this type of game. Twin-stick shooters are notorious for their steep difficulty curve and this one is no exception. However, its implementation doesn’t do enough to give players a gradual progression. I unlocked well over half of the skill tree before having enough juice and ability to get out of the first planet. Then I got to the second planet and it’s turned into a real grind just to accumulate the last few skill points I need to complete the tree.
I think I could ultimately beat Galaxy Champions TV if I stuck with it and unlocked everything. Doing so would probably take a few more hours just to get enough skill points to unlock everything. With how repetitive the encounters have gotten, I’m not particularly motivated to do so.
Saving up early to unlock the ability to absorb all orbs and hearts from anywhere on the screen as a means of maximizing one’s earning potential might be the best way to minimize the grind. Playing with a friend should also make the action more interesting. Even so, its steep progression curve and lack of variety make this one a grind.
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