When winter descends on the Rocky Mountains in Colorado I get more than a little bit excited. Life, in our house, is food. When the cold rolls into town I cannot wait to unleash my repertoire of soups and stews upon my family’s appetite. There are distinct stages and mindsets when I make soup. If I am preparing from an existing recipe, I select and organize my ingredients and chop, slice and sauté as needed. Though, perhaps the most exciting moment in soup making is experimenting. Combining previously untried spices, veggies and meat? Exhilarating. It is perhaps that the preparation of the soup is so focused and the cooking and simmering portion takes the power of the soup out of your hands and places it firmly in the power of the soup gods. Yes, you can adjust heat or stir to varying effect. Sometimes a soup must set a day or so before consuming. However, there is always a little bit of a gamble when preparing soup, sometimes the pot just goes bad. Sometimes, it is ambrosia.
Nom Nom concept art
You can imagine my delight upon discovering Q-Games latest Pixel Junk title, Nom Nom Galaxy. Nom Nom Galaxy pairs its soup simulation, tower defense terra-forming platformer with a steaming bowl of Zen rhythm. Soup. Simulation. I was torn. Do I celebrate by making soup or do I explore this strange new title? I forwent the soup making to spend time with Nom Nom Galaxy. Taking the role of a trusted Astroworker with Soup Co. you have landed on an alien planet. Your mission: to help the soup market boom or bust. Armed with a soil destroying buzz saw you tear through the bizarre world searching for ingredients and resources to build your soup empire. If I could just go outside and punch and saw the local flora for my ingredients, soup preparation would go much easier, and even more fun. The planet's denizens don't take too kindly to your presence, though they do make wonderful additions to your space-bound soups. Especially delicious in the soup du jour are the monstrous tomatoes, flying squid, leaping corn beasts and a towering mammoth (don’t try to attack that thing, it doesn’t want to be eaten) that inhabit the planet.
The world of liquid sustenance is not without competition. A rival company has also launched a campaign for the majority share of the soup market. You must also defend your factory from alien attacks. Flying fleets of vicious foes will tear down your factory, with no regard to your sacred high mission of soup production or brilliant base construction. Though your rival will strive to deliver more delicious soup, the aliens dismantle your factory and the wild critters poke, bash and bite, you will find peace. The music and pacing of the game elicits similar emotions when making actual soup, a calm bubbles to the surface.
Sound like a lot for one person? Thankfully you can enlist the aid of robotic helpers to make sure your base is defended and efficient. Earning your resources is just a matter of using your yo-yo sawblade to carve out the precious elements to build, upgrade and repair your soup factory. Some caution should be taken as the land will collapse if you over-mine, potentially plummeting your factory to the chasms of the alien planet. You are not just limited to running and jumping across the land picking up ingredients by hand. Use your resources to unlock pogo stick, hover board and my personal favorite, the Vacuum-Tank. Even though the game may inspire a meditative state, the computer is not having the same experience. On more than one occasion the game ended with failure on my behalf. I realized I had been harvesting the wrong ingredients or not ensuring the delivery of my soup. But some of that balance could be that Nom Nom Galaxy still has a bit of cooking left.
Nom Nom Galaxy is in Early Access on Steam. What that means to Q-Games is that they really want you to be a part of this game. They want you to add to the pot, find what doesn’t work and help it cook to near perfection. You can purchase access in varying tiers with different rewards on each tier on the official website. If you engage Q-Games on Steam or social media concerning the state of the game you will be heard. The game has bugs, needs tweaks and is not a completed title, yet. It has a great base, it just needs a roux to start sticking those tasty bits together. Pixel Junk has an impressive legacy of games and Nom Nom Galaxy is well on its way to joining those ranks. Come its final release in 2015, we will be able to enjoy four player co-op in Big Picture mode on Steam and make virtual space soup with friends. With the help of a community that seems to care about this open and collaborative process, Nom Nom Galaxy will be an indulgence worth sharing.
Day 31 | Q-Games