It’s 7 pm on a Monday evening, you’ve been sent a review code for Galactic Mining Corp and, as you’ve just finished your dinner and don’t have any plans for the evening, you decide it’s time to sit down, put your reviewer hat on, and play the damn game. The next thing you know it’s Thursday morning, you’ve spent 60 hours on the game, you’ve not slept, you’ve not showered, you’ve not eaten and you’re close to dying of thirst. You’ve been fired from your proper job for not showing up two days in a row and your friends and family have called on an international man-hunt because of your disappearance. This is the series of events that genuinely happened to me, for real, in the actual real world and I hope it serves as a serious warning to the addictiveness of Galactic Mining Corp.
I find that when I play a game to review, I make a few judgements early on. Those judgements do develop over my time with the game, but I generally find that my final conclusion doesn’t stray far from the gut instinct decision on my first impression. Maybe I’m just hyper-decisive. However, when it comes to Galactic Mining Corp, my stupid gut couldn’t have been more wrong, because I initially thought that the game was as boring as the pleasantries at the start of your fifth video call of the day. But, after sticking with it for an extra few hours, I can comfortably recommend the game.
Galactic Mining Corp is a rogue-lite, base building, management, mining thing… A wildly irresponsible space entity has left you, a stupid boring human in charge of a Galactic Mining Corp (roll credits). You’ll need to build up your base to keep the company above water, employ a diverse range of aliens to run things and then go mining, which allows you to build your base and hire more people, which allows you to mine more efficiently, and so on… It’s a never-ending cycle in the style of Cookie Clicker which, as any veteran of that particular time-sink will tell you, means the game is as addictive as crack cocaine.
The game introduces itself quite gradually, hence my initial feeling that the game was a bit shallow and dull. However, after not a huge amount of time the game unlocks more and more features to keep you entertained until you’re left with a clear view of a landscape of things you need to do, exactly how many times you need to do them and an idea of how much each of those will make your life easier. I’ll try and give an overview of some of the landmarks in that landscape a bit later on and how they come together to make a complex web of a game in which you are the all-powerful spider.
The core gameplay of Galactic Mining Corp is very simplistic – it’s mining, but not like you know it. You control a drill the hovers mindlessly above an indifferent planet. That planet is made up of blocks, all the way down to the core. When you click, the drill moves towards the mouse pointer and mines everything in its path. Some of the blocks are easier to destroy than others and the harder they are to destroy, the more damage you do to the drill. If the drill loses all of its health you start again from the surface. If you manage to drill all the way down to the core, the planet levels up, making it deeper and more difficult on the next run. I think you can see why I found the game pretty boring in the first instance.
However, tick forward a few hours and I can see that that gameplay is the tip of a titanic-sinking iceberg. I’m not going to go into a huge amount of detail about the additional things you’re able to do but here are a few shaving from the iceberg to cool your tall drink of curiosity:
- There’s a galaxy map – it costs gold to explore new sectors which have new intergalactic bodies to mine
- When you get to the core of a planet you can spend those cores on unlockables, such as basic gold generation
- The blocks you mine are collectable – once you have an amount of a block you can research it to help unlock new rooms
- Rooms! – They give you upgrades to your drill. mostly multipliers for things like elemental damage (oh, some planets do elemental damage)
- So much more, like SO much more
Every single step of the core gameplay has additional layers of complexity that progress you forward. Going for a mine unlocks an upgrade which then makes your next mining trip more efficient and that then continues exponentially until you’re auto-generating a literal tonne of gold every few seconds. Every single time you go out mining you want to rush back to base to see what that’s unlocked and then you immediately want to go out and try your new unlock in the field. Addictive is an understatement.
Galactic Mining Corp is one of those games that takes a little bit of perseverance to really hook you but, once it’s got its talons in you, it rewards you with a sweet rush of dopamine every single round. It’s a fantastic game to have on in the background when you’re listening to a podcast or similar and is definitely an addition to my ‘keeping my brain and hands busy for an hour’ game rotation.