Typically, if you’re trying to pitch a game that involves the words “match-3 puzzler” my brow drops and the countdown to when I stop paying attention begins. I’m pretty fed up of those by now. But indie studio Puny Human got a pass with Galacide as it’s a shmup hybrid.
In short, as Puny Human says, Galacide is “basically a space shmup with match-4 puzzle elements,” and the way the two genres are merged makes for something chaotic. What I’m saying is that it might not be terrible. Although the term that Puny Human has come up for the game – “shmuzzler” – might be.
What perhaps makes Galacide work where other match-3 mergers have failed is in actually not blending the two distinct genres much at all. You don’t match colors in order to destroy incoming ships in Galacide. You have to do shoot ships separately, while also trying to match colors in order to make a hole in the wall of debris that you’ll otherwise crash into.
Having to do to two tasks at once is what makes it feel frantic despite it being a slower horizontal shmup (as opposed to the typically faster-paced vertical ones), and it’s that what works. The game has a story-driven campaign, an Endless mode, 4-player co-op, and three different ships with unique weapons and special abilities to try out.