Review: Times & Galaxy Can Really Feel Like an Investigation
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Review: Times & Galaxy Can Really Feel Like an Investigation

There are games that will end up falling into the visual novel or adventure categories that, honestly, might feel a bit limited when it comes to their premise. When something suggests you participate in the day-to-day affairs of a newspaper, for example, simple responses may make you wonder if it really feels fulfilling. With Times & Galaxy, it really feels like the game works well within its confines to create an experience that does mimic what life is like as a reporter when gathering information and creating stories.

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You’re a robot. A unique one, mind you. You’re the first one qualified to act as a reporter. How do you know that? You were made that way. Upon completion, you’re sent to Times & Galaxy to act as their new intern. That means immediately jumping into the field to go on investigations to uncover stories. Once that element of your task is done, you head back to the office to put together an article based on your work. What you learned and how you present it determine the course of the paper, influencing the reputation and readership.

What follows feels like a blend of point-and-click adventure games and visual novels. Your journalist will head into the field to investigate the scene. This means talking to people involved and witnesses. You only get one chance to talk to people, which influences the sorts of information you get out of the interview. You’ll also be able to take a look around the scene, being able to look at points of interest to pick up additional details. For example in the first story, which is also present in the demo, you’ll investigate a ship that crashed. You can look at the wreckage to find there was no pilot or autopilot present. Depending on what you ask of people around you, you can also learn how involved the police were and other details about the ship itself. It’s fascinating and, as I approached each interaction, I found myself wondering if I was handling it the right away to get the story I wanted and needed.

From there, you take the details you pull together and create a story. Everything you picked up earlier from the investigations and interviews led to acquiring certain keywords and elements. So you’ll be putting together the headline, the lede, the nut graph, a key quote, and a color to help build an article. It will then commit to an approach, such as one that is informative and hard-hitting or more gossip rag in tone. This, in turn, determines how “well” you do in getting people to read and building up the Times & Galaxy reputation. It’s essentially the “pay-off” of the game, since everything you did before that come together to create a result.

It also feels like a bit of replayability comes together in that moment. Times & Galaxy is the sort of game where I feel like you go into it determining what kind of reporter you want to be right away. You need to have a persona for yourself, then always tailor your questions and responses. Basically, you yourself need to commit to a bit. Then, you see if that pays off for you in your performance at the newspaper. At least, I had more fun with it when I went into the game with that mindset.

Also, while I know I’m not doing hard-hitting journalism myself in my day job, it does take me back to college classes I took and past roles when I was doing more interviewing for my university’s paper. There is this element to the game where when taking approaches, you need to factor in things like professionalism, your own biases, and how to properly tell a story. Your morals might be questioned when you report. You will find yourself in situations where you may have someone trying to force the “party line” and “official explanation,” rather than the truth. You also might be in a position where instead of just asking what someone saw, you’ll notice the question is a bit leading. You know, as though you’re trying to get evidence for the story you “want” to tell, rather than what is there.

Times & Galaxy feels like it blends what you’d expect from adventure games with a sort of newspaper management simulation. You’re investigating situations, piecing together a story. However, you’re also shaping how things are approached and turn out, depending on what you choose. There’s a sense of balancing things. You want to search for truth and find out what’s going on, while also telling your own story based on what you learned. It’s really compelling.

Times & Galaxy is available for the Nintendo Switch, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC. Switch version reviewed. Review copy provided by company for testing purposes.

Times & Galaxy

Embark on an interplanetary adventure as the first robo reporter for the Times & Galaxy, the solar system’s most trusted holopaper. You’re just an intern, but if you can get the scoop, write great stories, and impress your colleagues, maybe you'll get to keep your job! Switch version reviewed. Review copy provided by company for testing purposes.

Times & Galaxy feels like it blends what you’d expect from adventure games with a sort of newspaper management simulation.

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Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.