Chaos Galaxy, from solo developer Han Zhiyu, is a remarkable little turn-based pixel-art tactics game in which players will take on the role of a faction commander in a galaxy filled with intrigue and turmoil. If you’ve played titles such as Advance Wars or XCOM, you’ll probably feel right at home here but do be warned, it’s rough around the edges.
A Galaxy at War
Chaos Galaxy‘s narrative doesn’t feel overly complex at first, but there are a lot of details and dialogue to soak in. Playing in short bursts on the Switch alleviated some of the fatigue I imagine you’d feel playing this in long play sessions.
The massively summarized version of the “story so far” is that the galaxy was doing just fine – right up until an alien force appeared and wreaked havoc everywhere. The invasion was stopped by the Galactic Empire but things eventually went awry and now there’s a civil war brewing between the various factions that have risen to power.
This is where you come in as the player. You’re able to pick 1 of 14 different factions and then it’s right into the deep end. You” have to wade through a lot of text conversations, between which you take part in tactical battles which really require you to think and plan your every move.
Chaos Galaxy plays out in a similar manner to other 4X strategy games but is, of course, watered down. Players will have resources to manage and planets to conquer, along with a growing fleet of ships each, with their own pros and cons. Overall, there’s quite a hefty number of gameplay mechanics that you’ll need to get used to before you’re going to have any success.
Thankfully, the onboarding process is fairly straightforward though and players will soon be able to wage war or try to be diplomatic with other factions as they progress. When you are thrust into battle, combat plays out on a grid where you can move your ships. You can attack enemy ships using your own if they’re in range or make use of your faction’s unique battle skills.
It’s formulaic but it works. Chaos Galaxy doesn’t try anything too drastically different from the well-established tactical battle formula, but its compact scale has a way of drawing you in and keeping you entertained for hours. Even if you pick up and play this game in tiny bursts, you’ll want to come back to it and wage war for a few more turns because of how satisfying it feels to play.
So many pixels!
Chaos Galaxy also looks great. The menus and UI have a very retro look and feel to them, but the animations and pixel graphics on offer here are fantastic. The mecha units and ships in particular look great, each faction also has its own aesthetic, and some of the more powerful units and attacks look spectacular when in action.
The soundtrack is just fine, with music that suits the type of game but, if it annoys you too much, you can simply mute it and still have fun. Despite loads of dialogue, there isn’t any voice acting here but the game doesn’t really need it as an indie title. This is a pure strategy/tactics title with a hefty story and a tonne of lore behind each faction.
The Galaxy is on fire and you’re here to reign in the chaos!
Ultimately, Chaos Galaxy is an indie title crafted by a solo developer and it does an excellent job at tactical gameplay. They’ve clearly worked really hard on making the game’s systems gel well together, and the only downsides are slight mishaps with the English translation and it often felt like enemy forces would always have an upper hand when entering combat (though maybe this was my own fault).
Chaos Galaxy is not overly complex when it comes to the mechanics and the walls of text you have to get through might put off some gamers who lack patience; however, if you’re a fan of games that have rich lore and solid gameplay to boot – think the traditional Romance of the Three Kingdoms stories – you’ll really enjoy Chaos Galaxy and we suggest giving it a try. It draws some heavy inspiration from them and applies it to a futuristic galactic setting.
There’s a PC version available on Steam that’s cheaper than the Nintendo Switch version; however, on the Switch, Chaos Galaxy runs well and is perfect for pick-up-and-play, on-the-go, bite-sized chunks of tactical turn-based gameplay.
Chaos Galaxy was reviewed on Nintendo Switch using a code provided to gameblur by the publisher. It is also available on PC.
Chaos Galaxy (Nintendo Switch) ReviewChaos Galaxy (Nintendo Switch) Review
Gameplay8/10 Very Good
Graphics8/10 Very Good
Ease of Play8/10 Very Good
- Simple but tactical gameplay
- Fantastic UI and pixel graphics
- Perfect on the Switch for short tactical battles
- Text heavy with minor grammar mistakes in the text
- Enemy forces can sometimes feel too powerful to be balanced