The Spatials: Galactology (PC) Review

By Eric Ace 19.04.2018

Review for The Spatials: Galactology on PC

In the '90s it was impossible to find a gamer who had not played one of the multitude of entries into EA's Sim range, which revolved around making some management aspects like elevators, ant colonies or helicopters entertaining. As fun as it was silly at times, (after all who played SimCity and didn't unleash catastrophe on their own city at some point?) the gameplay was often never that challenging so much as a sort of sandbox game before they really existed. The Spatials: Galactology both looks and plays like these, taking a small colony in space and having to build it up. The difference, though, is mild RPG and strategy aspects that have been crafted into the game that actually work fairly well.

One thing to mention up front: the graphics in The Spatials: Galactology are not pretty; in fact, they personally are off-putting, but with that being said, the game is actually a surprise in its fun factor. Starting with just a few officers, some supplies, and a ship, the player must build up an entire colony and explore the stars.

At its root, this is a simulation/builder and it shows from the very beginning. Personally designing everything about the colony, the walls, the floors, and the various positions of every item in the room is required. Starting with a generous, but limited amount of supplies, the player has to get the base up and running and start exploring nearby stars.

Screenshot for The Spatials: Galactology on PC

For the base, this means basic things like having food/water coming in, sleep quarters, and other things. Furthermore, the officers all have a lot of stats to them, whether it's the mental endurance, or various skill levels like cooking, repairing or combat. All of these are directly affected by what is being built in the base. There is a lot here that perfectionists can dig in deep, but without paying too much attention casual players can still enjoy the experience.

The main gimmick in the construction of the colony is the 'room' system, where each individual area that is laid out and sealed by the player is considered a 'room.' From then there are 'noise' and 'aesthetics' that have to be monitored within each room. There is a simulation aspect to this that if a room is too noisy or not pretty, it will negatively detracts from the officer's job. This means for players that like decorating their rooms, there is an actual impetus to do that.

At the beginning, all the characters are loosely the same, but as they continue doing various jobs, they start levelling up in their experience. If they get enough practice, they can class change to a more advanced officer. This aspect is something that players who enjoy min-max-ing will enjoy having ultra-specialised characters, but luckily the game typically sends the best or nearest person to any job, so the micro-aspects are not needed in the slightest.

Screenshot for The Spatials: Galactology on PC

The other major element is exploring other planets. The player will land some characters that must walk around the planet, building simple resource extractors and maybe fighting off creatures on the planet. The resource acquiring is not complicated, and the game even gives ways to automate its collection. Most of it is more on the colony side of crafting/decorating.

Levelling guys up, acquiring new resources and exploring stars are quite obviously RPG/strategy traits, but at its core this is a simulation. Much more time is spent crafting items, learning recipes, or decorating rooms rather than some advanced tactical battle. For some, this will be great, for example, those who like Farmville will feel right at home.

Galactology has some problems that hold it back, though, all of them contributing to drag the experience down. Beyond the personal taste in graphics, there are actually problems of the isometric grid not lining up with where the player is clicking. Multiple times it is easy to lay down a wall that ends up being one square off, either not sealing a room in, or creating walls that are 2x deep. While not game-breaking (they can be deleted later), given this is a major part of the game it is an annoyance; this could be especially bad for perfectionists.

Screenshot for The Spatials: Galactology on PC

Another issue is there is a lot going on behind the scenes that could really use some tool tips. Levelling up along the 'cook' path, for example, an officer will have their stat called 'absorb' raised to some higher factor. It raises a lot of questions about what does this mean: can it take more damage in combat, do they 'absorb' more cooking tasks, does the cooking itself even get better with the class change, and so on?

The last issue is that while mostly the guys do their own thing without too much micro-management, a major problem occurs on neutral or hostile planets. The pathfinding, and AI 'aggro' is very, very strange and not watching them like a hawk can suddenly mean them getting swarmed and killed in seconds by monsters pulled in from a screen away or some weird path a guy walked. On the contrary, even two guys, one with a gun and the other with a healing item, can usually subdue an entire planet with some careful micro.

The Spatials has a goofy charm about it that may be easy to dismiss but it is actually fun slowly expanding the colony and going to new planets. The depth of the crafting system is overwhelming, but for players who like this genre, they will enjoy it immensely.

Screenshot for The Spatials: Galactology on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

The Spatials: Galactology is more like EA's Sim series, just set in space with a strategy experience tacked on. The surprise comes from how the strategy is actually competent. The system is likely not deep enough for hardcore strategy fans to want it solely based on this reason, though, yet for those more from the simulation genre fan club, they will find it all to be pretty fun overall. Those craving a sandbox simulator in space will feel right at home here, and the amount of crafting/decorating will be what some are definitely looking for.

Developer

Weird and Wry

Publisher

Weird and Wry

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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