Which Way Up: Galaxy Games Review

Jump and spin your way through the stars with the adorable sprites of Turtle Flip Studio's Which Way Up: Galaxy Games

Which Way Up: Galaxy Games Review
Source: Press Kit.

Welcome to Which Way Up: Galaxy Games, a family-friendly party platformer inspired by Super Mario Galaxy! In this early stage of the Universe, the Space Sprites team up to create a fun way to pass the time: The Galaxy Games. With a name well-suited to its gravity-defying mechanics, you’ll be tumbling through space, orbiting planets, outrunning black holes, and catching stars!

Developed by Turtle Flip Studio, this is a collection of minigames suited to 2 to 4 players; it would be perfect as a party game. Even in larger groups, this could all be easily turned into some kind of fun tournament. The current version of the game offers five playable sprites to play in a practice mode or an arena that offers six different competitive mini-games. Upon the game's official release, set for the first quarter of 2025, there will be more mini-games, as well as two additional sprites and potentially a single-player mode. 

Currently, the six minigames available involve running from black holes or catching stars, as well as throwing bombs at planets; one that is almost like a game of tag with an explosive ending. They are all kept fast-paced and short, the rules are simple to understand, and each comes with a brief tutorial to get you started. Here's an idea of how all of these Olympic games work:

Four sprites selected on the game's main menu, a planet with asteroids in the background.
Source: Press Kit.
  • Constellation Catch - Turn stars into constellations. Sounds simple enough, right? All you have to do is collect as many stars as possible by touching them. Whoever has the most stars when the timer runs out wins! But keep an eye on your opponents – they can steal the stars you’ve collected!
  • Comet Collect - This one is like a game of keep-away. Keep your opponents away from you by giving them a push to keep on collecting comets. The player with the most when the timer goes off wins the round! 
  • Star Ring - A big bubble – or star ring – will float around the screen, and your mission is to stay inside of that ring longer than the rest of your opponents. You’ll want to fill your bar up with star power before everyone else but if no one fills their bar before the timer runs out, the winner will be whoever stayed inside the ring the longest.
  • Overlord - Playing much like a game of tag, one player is infected with unstable energy and must pass it on to another. Chase down your opponents and pass this on before the timer runs out, or you’ll be blasting off faster than Team Rocket! 
  • Gravapult - You and your opponents have your very own planets, but the object of this game is to throw bombs at everyone else’s planets while you protect your own. You can throw your bombs or pick up the bombs opponents have thrown and lob them back (especially if they were thrown at you to begin with). Be quick about it though, their timer doesn’t last long! 
  • Event Horizon - Now here’s a game where we can play dirty. Each player has three lives to hopefully keep them afloat as a black hole chases you down. As it grows in size, you’ll want to choose your path over the space rocks carefully if you want to outrun it. Mind your opponents though, they can give you a smack to send you into the black hole (or at least slow you down) if you get too close! But to be fair, you can do the same. 
Gameplay for one of the minigames. Players bounce off of platforms and each other as a timer counts down.
Source: Press Kit.

For those who wish to get the hang of the game’s unique movement style, there is also a practice mode available. It’s very basic, offering an area for you to just move around the screen to give you an extra hand learning the controls, and is also open to a multiplayer experience as well. Due to the wonderful implementation of the short and sweet tutorials at the start of each minigame to get the hang of things though, the practice mode almost seems a bit unnecessary unless you feel you need an extra hand at getting used to how all the movement works. As the game stands though, the practice mode is the only single-player option available so until the game's full release, it may not yet be a game for those who prefer to fly (or float) solo.

The mechanics of this game were much smoother than I initially expected going into it. In my experience, a pre-release game usually has some bugs or hiccups, but everything available in this game so far has been perfect. The gravitational pull of different planets as you make your way upside-down and sideways through the maps took some getting used to, but once you’ve got the hang of it you can use it to your advantage. Just bouncing around the screen turned into a bit of fun! 

As it currently stands, the game is only playable with at least one other player via couch co-op or remote play unless you want to play in practice mode. There is not yet a single-player mode available, but it looks like that will be changing once the game is released. Just as well, it looks like an online play option will be introduced to the mix. 

Gameplay for a minigame. Players lob and collect comets.
Source: Press Kit.

One thing that surprised me was that it requires a controller to play. I suppose this restriction could be designed to give it that couch co-op feel or party game vibe that it's supposed to have. But for those people who exclusively play PC and are more comfortable with a mouse and keyboard, it may serve as a bit of a deterrent or inconvenience. Perhaps it will be different when there is a single-player option available but if not, I can't imagine many will mind with the nature of the game. It felt like something I would have played on a Wii with family or friends and makes for a perfect game for a group to have fun with. 

To its core, Which Way Up: Galaxy Games is a game for all ages, from its overall cute design to its fun bouncy music. The controls and gameplay are very simple to the point my five-year-old niece could play it, and entertaining enough that an adult would have fun with it too. This is a game that was made for anyone and everyone.

You can find Which Way Up: Galaxy Games on Steam. A free demo is available for download.


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