The USS Enterprise in Galactic Junk League

‘Galactic Junk League’ Drops On Steam: Free-To-Play Build’n’Shoot New Robocraft?

Galactic Junk League dropped on Steam earlier this month, and the free-to-play build’n’shoot game reminiscent of Robocraft is worth checking out.

Galactic Junk League revolves around the construction of four primary ship types, Frigate, Destroyer, Cruiser, and Battleship with a rookie ship class until a player reaches level 10 with the rookie. Each of the classes has their own unique components and/or abilities to add to the strength of the team.

A ship tries to dodge a cruise missile in Galactic Junk League
A ship tries to dodge a cruise missile in Galactic Junk League [Image by Pixel Federation]

Steam describes Galactic Junk League as “Build your junk ships to literally any shapes and sizes and fight against the creations of other players in 7v7 PvP arenas across 4 unique maps. The more you fight the better ships you can build. Unlock all 5 classes (Rookie, Frigate, Cruiser, Battleship and Destroyer) and research all the blocks to build your ultimate junk ship.”

Frigates focus on sheer damage output at close range, with a unique engine component worth about 10 regular engines. A stun, damage boost, and shield enable Frigates to close with enemy ships, unleash massive damage, and flee in textbook hit-and-run tactics.

A Pirate Vessel in Combat
A Pirate Vessel in Combat [Image by Pixel Federation]

Destroyers are the snipers Galactic Junk League, with a unique weapon, the Uber Cannon, having the largest per shot damage and range in the game. The Artillery ability enables Destroyers to boost their range up so they can engage safely from a distance. The Mark Target action increases the damage a target takes indefinitely, albeit only one target can be marked per destroyer.

Cruisers star as the main support class, and while not sporting any extremely powerful abilities, can run with five unique ones, the most of any class. They excel at protecting allies and disabling enemy ships, all while boosting the energy regeneration of nearby friendly vessels.

The Battleships wade into the fray, with a unique armor component much tougher than common armor. In addition to having the largest block pool (of both hull and CPU using components), Battleships can activate abilities to reduce incoming damage significantly, absorb and re-emit taken damage, and slow enemy ships with a Graviton Wave.

In addition to class specific abilities, generic components, such as the Engine Overload, Generator Overload, and Jump Drive see frequent use among certain builds.

There are three classes of weapons, laser, gauss, and missile. Gauss are currently the most popular class, with all three variants showing up in virtually every match. Each weapon type has advantages, though the range on the gauss variants outdo the other classes by a significant margin.

A Capital Ship in Galactic Space League
A Capital Ship in Galactic Junk League [Image by Pixel Federation]

While the free-to-play game is still in Alpha, it is very playable with relatively few game-changing (or crashing bugs). The game developers for Galactic Junk League are serious about communicating with players at this time, often looking for feedback even before needed changes are implemented. For instance, the power of gauss sniping Destroyers is currently agreed by most players to need a nerf, while missiles and phasers tend to see relatively little use due to their lower range.

Most matches typically consist of five to seven players on a team on just a handful of maps. The maps are randomly chosen. Additionally, matchmaking is still rather lacking, as occasionally one team will wipe the board. Some matches will see four or five of a single class on one side and an entirely different make up on the other. Occasionally a high-level player in a well-fitted ship will even be matched against new players in rookie vessels.

The building system is well-designed and seems to be fairly balanced for a free-to-play game. Each ship class has a certain number of hull blocks, Ability points, and CPU points to spend on building a ship, and the number of each goes up as the class level of the ship increases with experience. Hull blocks are just that, and most CPU blocks must be attached to a hull block. CPU blocks include gyroscopes, weapons, engines, and armor plating. Ability points are spent on things like the Jump Drive or Particle Beam. Each block has a mass, affecting how fast a ship can move and turn.

The unique building system allows for both tiny Battleships, large Frigates, or anything in between. Many Frigate players will use only a handful of the available hull blocks because speed is life for the hit-and-run mechanic. A defense Frigate, on the other hand, may focus on building a larger ship with which to shield allied Destroyers. A popular trick with Destroyers is to put all the weapons on the top or bottom and go to an area of the map that allows all weapons to be brought to bear on targets.

Galactic Junk League runs on a free-to-play model but paying only allows for faster XP and scrap (in-game currency). The main benefit to paying is an accelerated leveling up speed. Other than that, the only benefit to paying at present is additional skins for ship components, nothing that will actually provide an unfair pay-to-win advantage.

If you like building ships and fighting with them (and are tired of Robocraft), Junk League is an excellent game to get. It’s free, it’s fun, and the devs actually care.

[Featured Image by Pixel Federation]