Not-E3 2023 Mini-Preview: Hex tile planet builder Bubblegum Galaxy is full of flavor
Updated: Jun 19
Throughout June, Video Games Are Good is spotlighting a handful of amazing demos released on Steam as part of "Not-E3" or the summer Steam Next Fest (June 19-26).
Listen, no one wants to show up on the first day of their internship and accidentally manage to delete everything. But at least when you’re a cute little cat named Haco with a house for a head, people can’t be toooooooo mad at you right? (Don’t ask Penti. He’s a sourpuss and his opinion doesn’t count.)
Bubblegum Galaxy is the second game from Chile-based developer Smarto Club (their first being a game called Teacup where you help a frog throw a tea party?! Too cute.) and evokes both Animal Crossing and Dorfromantik in its cozy and colorful galaxy-building gameplay.
While many other hex games offer a sort of blank canvas to build on, Bubblegum Galaxy also weaves in a narrative.
When you step into Haco’s Mary Janes, you learn that someone has entirely deleted the Bubblegum Galaxy. You swear that you didn’t press anything out of the ordinary, but you — the unpaid intern — just might take the fall. Looks into the camera like I’m on The Office.
In the aftermath, your job is to design new planets as closely as possible to the old ones by achieving certain quests. Your little computer job isn’t just typing out emails for eight hours straight. It’s bringing entire worlds into existence.
Similar to Dorfromantik, the core gameplay loop has you place hex tiles down to create colorful biomes.
This hex-based planet builder involves a fun added level of challenge as well — asking you to group your tiles based on not only the terrain type, but also the base color as you try to achieve quests to make the new planet look similar to the old one.
Because why just have a group of twenty mountains when you can also have it sectioned into pink, purple, and blue sections? The more aesthetically pleasing your planet is, the more points you get, the more tiles you get, the higher you score.
And what’s a game without a little bit of friendly competition and absolutely decimating someone else’s (or your own!) high score?
The Story Mode demo introduces you to Haco’s coworkers — including Penti, the high-strung, anxious computer head, and the highly relatable, pizza-loving, always sleepy Bass, who I want to be besties with. Between planet designing sessions, you can roam the office, experience story events, and talk to your coworkers to see how they’re coping with putting out fires following The Big Deletion.
I hope that there may eventually be some sort of creative mode as well, because boy would I love to be able to just put together my own planet of watermelon mountains.
While there’s no current release date planned for Bubblegum Galaxy, the demo is now available on Steam! (And so, so easy to sink hours upon hours into the delightful void of space.)
It's planned for a release on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Try it out and add the game to your wishlist to follow along with development.
Glory (she/her) is a writer, streamer, podcaster, and all-around nerd with a passion for space and cozy games, which Bubblegum Galaxy sits at the perfect intersection of so much that she jumped at the chance to write about it for VGG. She streams cozy puzzlers like it along with farming sims and narrative adventures on Twitch. When not live, you can find her livetweeting whatever anime she's watching or celebrating/lamenting her pulls in Genshin Impact on her Twitter.