OK, soup for everybody!
What if, and I’m not saying this is actually possible, but what if the Soup Nazi was not such an angry dictator and was more of a benevolent space-faring chef. You might say he’d lose all the charm of a hilarious one-off Seinfeld character, but your stomach might also give a hungry gurgle at the thought of delicious soup. Either way, Q-Games wants to give you a shot at becoming your own soup baron but in spaaaaaace.
That’s the premise of Nom Nom Galaxy, a new Steam Early Access game available for purchase and play now from the developers of Pixeljunk Shooter 2 and more beloved PlayStation downloadables. While we’ve had access to Nom Nom Galaxy for a while, the soup race took some getting used to, but if you’re willing to take the plunge on this title while it’s still in development, you’ll already find some addicting gameplay loops and a ton of charm.
That’s what Q-Games is largely known for, at least to me. The Pixeljunk titles have remained inventive, quirky, and sublime for the senses. Nom Nom Galaxy is no different and right off the bat I was enchanted by the game’s background music as it matched the action on screen and moved with the menus and the day-night cycle you’ll have to plan your recipes around. First, you’ll have to understand how your base of operations works.
Like Terraria, Nom Nom Galaxy is laid out in a 2D field where you’ll dig, mine, and harvest ingredients for your soups. Your base sits in the middle of a lot of natural land and provides two stations for making soup and a rocket that launches your soup into space. The ultimate goal is to “crush our eternal rivals, MEGA-SOUP Inc.!” Your boss informs you by radio communication that “only by taking 100% of the market can we force them off our planets.” That may have been a bit too much pressure for me, but competition does provide an impetus for learning the game's mechanics as quickly as possible in the same way Minecraft's day-night cycle and creepers encourage you to build a house as soon as you start a new world.
In the beginning, MEGA-SOUP is established and gets a head start as you struggle to keep up with new elements introduced in each round. First, you’ll have to figure out which ingredients to gather and how to put them into the machine for processing. All of the game’s more intricate controls pop up as you near interactive objects, but you’ll use your mouse to wield a giant buzz saw that can cut down ingredients, drill through the sediment, and fight off enemies.
Soon, you’ll want to start upgrading your base to ward off invading enemies. I didn’t get very far into the game, but I did make some delicious sunflower stew. Back the f*** off my stew, aliens! The graphics have a vibrant minimalism about them and the music blends electronic and rock to great effect, even as you crawl out of your base, begin to mine, place ladders to climb out of holes, and return to refill your oxygen tank or stir up a new batch of soup. If you get an alert, the annoying GSM cell phone static plays before your message arrives which is a funny touch. "Can you hear me now? Great, because I'm in space."
The Soup Co. Remote Statt Office allows you to purchase upgrades like a robot that’ll toss ingredients through a deep mine shaft or a missile tower that can blast enemies, but my favorite item was the Hover Board 3000 which lets you “glide effortlessly across alien worlds.” Just don’t spill the soup!
Nom Nom Galaxy has been in development for a while and up to four-player co-op is planned, but you could do far worse in the realm of early access games on Valve’s Steam platform. For more, check out the game's Steam page where you can learn more about the mechanics, the future of development, and purchase the game for $19.99.