There have been some innovations in the genre however. Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms launched on Steam a few months ago and has proven to be a critical and commercial success due to its departure from the basic mechanics (if you can even call them that) of the incremental genre. Realm Grinder has been a mainstay of Steam for quite some time. And yet despite their innovations I could not get on board with the idea.
That all changed when I tried Lazy Galaxy. It features a killer space battle section, and allows you to determine how active or passive your takeover of the galaxy will be.
The setup is that you lead a race of very lazy space octopi, hopping from star system to star system, conquering everything in their wake, and gaining precious candy (the most valuable resource) in the process. The game takes two forms – one involves base building and resource management to build ships, while the other features space battles with said ships. Once you win the required number of space battles, you hop to the next system and do it all over again.
Restarting the process for every system adds a freshness to each of your galactic campaigns, as you can re-select your specialization every time. There are three – trader, scientist, and scavenger. The trader is focused on passive gain – you’ll be given future upgrades centered around gaining more resources per second, especially when the game isn’t running. The scientist allows you to gain more experience as a resource, lessening the need for a lengthy combat campaign. And finally, the pirate encourages active game play, dramatically increasing the resources gained from clicking asteroids, and increasing the rewards from space combat.
If you want the game to play more like a traditional idle/clicker game, then trader is your best bet. The scientist specialization is best for quickly conquering galaxies, since it brings your experience per second closer to par with the other resources. The scavenger is great if you want active game play, and if your current system requires a lot of space battles to conquer. Later in the game you can unlock perks with candy, one of them being that your specimens click asteroids for you, in which case the scavenger specialization can become an idle play-style as well, but with a greater focus on combat compared to the trader specialization.
As mentioned, the space battle segments are the killer feature of this game. Upgrading the living quarters for your specimens (the name for the members of your race) unlocks additional unique ships to build. The ships seem to be fairly well balanced, but it becomes obvious which ones you’ll need for real success.
In my experience, the
Gull Hunter, which is a 10-man ship, is probably the best ship in the game in terms of value. The hunter requires less crewmen to operate, and also costs a lot less to upgrade compared to some of the other ships as it’s only the fourth ship in line. The Hunter also uses laser weaponry. The lack of projectiles also means that the Hunter’s attacks don’t need to track the target in motion – they always hit, and the damage is instantaneous. The Hunter also doesn’t need to be facing the target in order to attack, and has a micromanagement ability that restores health. A Gull of equivalent level might have more DPS, but it requires a lot more experience to level up compared to the Hunter. A level 170 Hunter costs under 100 million Ore, while a 170 Gull costs over 4 billion – and the Hunter has slightly more DPS and requires less crew to operate.
The Sabre and the Ox seem to be the most powerful overall, but they are also far, far more expensive than the Hunter, Gull and Tower. The Ox is king in terms of health and it’s DPS is higher than that of the Hunter, Gull, and Tower, while the Sabre is top dog DPS but lacks in health, and is insanely expensive. In terms of value, it seems clear to me that leveling up Hunters and Tortoises seems to be a quick and economical way of achieving victory in the space battles, as long as you’re also willing to do some active micromanaging.
This is an idle/clicker/incremental game, but the Tortoise is a great example of how this game transcends the idle elements – if micromanaged, the Tortoise can reliably save your ships with its healing. I cannot count how many times it has saved my valuable ships from destruction, thereby lengthening my combat campaigns, leading me to greater success. The Tower also features a shield ability that protects the ship with lowest health, but it does not heal. The ships and their abilities vary in usefulness, and I wished that there were more abilities in general, and also more that benefit the fleet as a whole. But regardless, with active micromanagement you will be far more successful; this is the part of the game that really sets Lazy Galaxy apart, and is probably what will keep most people coming back to it compared to other incremental games. Right now, each ship has two abilities that unlock very early, and fleet size can reach upwards of 8 ships, so there’s a lot of meaningful micromanagement to be done.
Lazy Galaxy is in early access, but there is already enough content in the game to suffice as a compelling incremental game. It seems as though the developers are very active with their updates – since writing this review, the game has already received a fairly substantial update changing the combat objectives for each system, and adding a map to your space battle campaigns.
This game won’t be for everyone. It doesn’t follow many traditional game mechanics that one might expect, even from an indie game. Rather, what we have with Lazy Galaxy is a great game to be lazy with, as the title suggests. It’s especially suited to being played while seated on the couch, streaming programs on the television, perhaps with a loved one nearby. Lazy Galaxy won’t sustain your undivided attention for hours on end – but it will sustain your divided attention.
You can pick up Lazy Galaxy on Steam right now for $6.69 CAD or your regional equivalent.