Beyond Galaxyland Demo Impression

Beyond Galaxyland combines 2.5D platforming with button-prompting turn-based combat to create a gameplay style that is fun to dive into.  The mystery of how Doug came to arrive and what is needed to save Earth is a promising hook to decipher.

Creating storytelling depth within a large scope is a hard thing to do.  Usually, developers only explore aspects of a city or maybe a whole country to keep the scope in check.  With Sam Enright’s Beyond Galaxyland there’s a whole galaxy to explore.  Blending together 2.5D platforming with a turn-based combat system, along with a deep cast of characters, there’s a lot of directions that this burgeoning adventure can still take.  It remains to be seen whether the depth can match the scope, but what’s available in a preview demo build has a good start to building its cast of characters.

Beyond Galaxyland follows the story of high schooler Doug as he’s whisked away to Galaxyland to undergo a mission to save Earth.  Galaxyland is a solar system of planets that function similarly to a zoo.  How exactly Doug got to Galaxyland and what he’ll have to do to save Earth are still enticing questions to find answers for.  The demo build showed some planets dedicated to side quests that don’t have to be explored, though it does add world building, self-contained stories, and of course, treasure to collect.

Missing an attack can reduce the number of Ability Points available to players.

The demo begins with a taste of how grand the scale is as players are introduced to Malefactor.  Malefactor is a humanoid that lands on a huge spacecraft and has to fight a Technician before being told that those on the station may listen to him.  How Malefactor’s story integrates with Doug’s is currently unknown and will be interesting to see play out.

After spending that brief time with Malefactor the demo jumps to join Doug mid journey on his adventure with Boom-Boom, his laser pistol wielding pet guinea pig; ROBORT, a large skinny robot that pummels enemies; and MartyBot, another robot that provides exposition.  Doug’s quest kicks off as a bartender off-screen gives him a quest to clear out an area, that happens to hold a large nest of dinosaurs.  This particular quest was chosen by the developer due to how isolated the plot is and to show off the combat and platforming aspects.

Poor Boom Boom, this is actually a short mini-game in which he zaps raptors that are chasing the party from either side.

Players explore the environments with platforming elements including jumping up ledges and shifting through foreground and background layers to traverse the environment.  Enemies are shown on screen and Doug can slash them to do damage before it swaps to the combat menus.  The demo includes a fun animation of the characters sliding down some beams as Doug maneuvers through a scaffold-like structure built in the jungle trees to make it to the dinosaur nest.  Some shifts do take players automatically to other areas, like when going from the foreground beam to the one that brings players down the scaffold, but all areas are connected making it quick to reach where players were if a wrong button was pressed.  Exploring outside the beaten path gains more combat opportunities and treasure, as well as the possibility of finding collectables to obtain throughout the stage.  There wasn’t enough collectibles to find out what kind of reward players can expect but finding a way to reach them was enjoyable enough.

Beyond Galaxyland’s turn-based combat has a button press system for its attacks.  Players are prompted to press the attack button over and over, and backing out can end the attack early.  This can be useful when attacks start to miss, which causes the ten-point Ability Point meter to start dropping.  Meanwhile, when defending players can use timed presses to reduce damage by half if successful.  Ability Points are used for skills, while SP is used for summons.  The game also includes an interesting capture mechanic, as Doug can capture monsters that can to be used later on as summons.

Moving between the foreground and background has its moments.

There’s scope for lots of variation in the wildlife and backgrounds across the planets of Beyond Galaxyland.  The jungle gym styling of the dinosaur nest has muted colouring, but the environment also has a lot of fun playing with depth perception.  Elsewhere, bright sci-fi greens mix with the black and greys make the spacecraft that Malefactor lands on have an elegant cyberpunk feel to it.  The animations in combat are fluid and the platforming, mostly relegated to jumping up ledges, is responsive enough.  Musically, the styles blend into an essence of cozy familiarity, like visiting a beloved bar as Malefactor brings hip-hop electronic that fits with the cyberpunk styled visuals of Malefactor’s journey, while Doug’s adventure has quiet melodic beats to match the exploratory actions of the planet he’s on.

Beyond Galaxyland combines 2.5D platforming with button-prompting turn-based combat to create a gameplay style that is fun to dive into.  The mystery of how Doug came to arrive and what is needed to save Earth is a promising hook to decipher.  Summons may go a long way in keeping things fresh, while their use should help prevent combat from becoming grating.  Players will be able to fully explore this intergalactic zoo soon when Beyond Galaxyland comes to Steam later this year.


Disclosure: This article is based on a build of the game provided by the publisher.


Ryan Costa

Friendly neighbourhood reviewer that thinks every RPG should be discussed, because one never knows where a hidden gem can appear.

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