Times & Galaxy – PS5 Review

I’ve never had a game described as an interactive photoplay before. That’s how Times & Galaxy rolls, a game based entirely around journalism and reporting the news. Copychaser Games are behind it and, despite the penchant for the mundane, the extra-terrestrial setting allows for a charming time.

The Times & Galaxy is an intergalactic newspaper. You’re the world’s first robot reporter and have luckily landed an internship for the publication. It begins excitingly with covering a police chase. This serves as the tutorial where you’re shown the ropes about conversing with people of interest. It’s not complex with a handful of questions usually resulting in some information that can then be printed.

Some environmental clues can be picked up, although photography and pixel hunting barely seems to feature. The heavy lifting is done by questioning witnesses, key people and anybody else available on the scene. It does a solid job of teaching you the routine of each assignment and I did enjoy trying to wring out every bit of the story.

Once you have enough to work with, you can arrange these quotes into a suitable story to run. What you print can influence the paper’s reputation and readership and these are clearly marked on the responses. What’s also important is the angle the story could take. The sensational route might be good for readers but harm your reputation. Informational articles might be too dry for the readers to get behind. Striking that balance can be fun and it does influence how your fellow reporters will see you. You usually have a choice of three assignments to pick from and this does provide the potential for very different playthroughs.

Outside of the journalism, you have a ship full of comrades to talk to. It’s a quirky cast of characters ranging from grammar robots to alien sports correspondents. There’s plenty of charm here and the conversations on often feel like everyday workplace chatter. I did see opportunities for conflict but rarely took them. Even with the diplomatic approach, there are mini-crises and dramas to work through on the ship.

Colleagues can be flirted with but I didn’t see it lead to romance, rather it’s played as a cheeky speech option. When it backfires, it’s brushed off quickly but I do sense you can push it a little further. Being tied to a temporary internship does lead to a stint where I didn’t feel many consequences or repercussions coming my way. Playing it safe might’ve been my undoing but the tone feels broadly cosy and with little strife. I also ended on something of an anti-climax.

Some of the longer strands have been worth watching. A lot of your fellow reporters feel very work proud, if slightly full of themselves. As the game progressed and my reputation flourished, more of them would call me by name. By the end of my tenure, I’d got to know them. As someone who can’t help but engage in workplace banter, the exchanges in Times & Galaxy are relatable.

The writing leans heavily into it. Each assignment has a small opening credit with a few writers taking turns to pen the scenarios. The stakes are brought back down to ground level as my remaining choices felt more mundane. At least on paper, covering a pet show doesn’t sound as intense, but the script makes it interesting. It’s all flavour but they do enough to make the alien species more than just cardboard cut-outs. I’ve enjoyed talking to as many of them as possible and it’s been fascinating to figure out what makes my colleagues tick or dig into angles to get a juicy quote out of a subject.

Assignments remain in tight locations with a handful of people to interview. I didn’t see many chances to revisit them after their dialogue was expended. You get one chance to talk to a person which does give some weight to your choices. Sometimes that can irritate with a talk abruptly ending. Most of the time it feels natural and the writing does well to make every answer feel full-bodied.

Visually, it’s cartoon-like with the news ship being split up into several colourful areas. Character designs look a bit too simple, for my tastes. Outside of the opening song, no lines are fully voiced but that did allow me to read at my own pace. It’s a wordy game but the assignments themselves are short. My hunger for conversation bolstered the playtime but the game is smart with letting you know who has new dialogue and where they are located. Fast travel is available if you just want to hop between the newsroom and the shuttle bay. It helps keep repetition at a minimum, even if the loop revolves around reporting and office gossip.

Times & Galaxy features a rich cast that are allowed to flourish thanks to some solid writing. I don’t entirely get on with the visual aesthetic but I found the narrative to play out in a believable way. It is a game about work but the assignments do allow you to pick your own avenue.   There’s a lot of potential on offer and I’m eager to give another playthrough a shot.  The workplace discussions have a real heart to them, although I did find the conclusion I got to be a little underwhelming.

Times & Galaxy
7 Overall
+ Building a story can have interesting repercussions.
+ The writing is incredibly charming and funny.
+ The structure allows for plenty of divergence.
+ The workplace conversations are surprisingly on point.
- The tone can be laid on quite thick.
- I'm not the biggest fan of the art.
- The internship premise seems to keep progression tightly locked down.
Whilst it's not exactly robust, I did enjoy piecing together a story in Times & Galaxy. Opportunities to press a subject can feel limited but the writing is rich enough to convey a full picture. The assignments can inject some surrealism into the mundane and the structure allows for a lot of potential with future playthroughs. The chit-chat with your colleagues can feel realistic and understandable. It can lay the wackiness on quite thick but I found it to be charming and funny.

About Mike

Mike gets all the racing games because he understands that stuff even though he doesn't drive.

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