Little-Known Galaxy


Review by · June 21, 2024

When people think of the “cozy RPG” subgenre, a prime example that comes to mind is Stardew Valley. With its happy blend of farming, community building, and exploration, Stardew Valley has amassed a strong and loyal following. Carbon & Kay‘s debut title, Little-Known Galaxy, is best described as Stardew Valley in space. If that’s your jam, then Little-Known Galaxy is a charming, if flawed, time sink.

Little-Known Galaxy places you in the shoes of a recent space academy graduate assigned captainship of a dilapidated vessel on a seemingly abandoned mission. The ship’s crew has gone through several captains already and has the guarded attitude of, “Oh, another captain. Let’s see how long this one lasts.” Do you have the perseverance to turn this mission around, be the captain this ship and crew deserve, and prove all your doubters wrong? 

Some say visualizing success is key to achieving it, and Little-Known Galaxy‘s charming visuals make me want to succeed where all the other captains before me failed. A character creation module allows you many options when designing your avatar (default name: Captain). Even though you’re stepping into a tough situation, the crisp, brightly colored 16-bit style visuals inspire hope that, yeah, you can fix this ship, reignite the crew’s passion, and salvage the mission. A diverse array of alien beings represents your crew, all with wonderfully unique sprites. Little-Known Galaxy is one of those games where the graphics won’t wow you with bombast right away, but as you keep playing, you notice little details you never caught before and think, “Oh, that’s pretty cool.”

Your captain's performance and stats in Little Known Galaxy.
Your captain’s annual performance review.

Restoring the ship, exploring planets, engaging in various tasks, and forging bonds with the crew comprise the captain’s daily routine over the game’s 45-or-so-hour (a lot more if you’re a completionist; I played for over 50 hours) course. It’s easy to get into a comfortable rhythm and play Little-Known Galaxy past your bedtime without realizing it. That said, progression gets tedious, given the grindy nature of material cultivation and processing. Raw materials are necessary to create anything, and the amount of materials required to build or upgrade necessary tools or machinery might be too steep for some. It sometimes took longer than I wanted to gather necessary materials because item drops are random and inconsistent.

Not helping matters is that building and using machines to refine raw materials into usable ones also takes time. Little-Known Galaxy functions best when multiples of the same machines are running (e.g. multiple furnaces to smelt ore, multiple looms to spool thread). However, gathering the raw materials to build the machines and the additional solar panels to power them takes time. In addition, several machines take forever and a day to process raw materials into usable ones. (EDITOR’S NOTE: The developers have reduced some machine processing times in an update).

Some convenience features eventually open up (e.g. the traveling merchant who visits the ship once a week to sell goods I can’t get from the ship’s shops), but have their drawbacks. Money is difficult to acquire and everything is expensive. I could not always afford to buy what I needed. Most frustrating were the times when I had all the necessary materials for upgrades but could not scrounge up the exorbitant fees to make them happen. Cozy-game experts who know how to exploit in-game systems will have less trouble making money than casual players.

Thankfully, main quests don’t impose time limits, allowing you to go at your own pace. I never stressed over locking myself out of the story. On the other hand, many optional fetch/gather sidequests require gathering and impose time limits as well. An in-game hour might be akin to a real time minute, but days feel short when you have limited time to gather materials but get nothing but junk.

Creating your workspace and watering some plants inside the ship in Little Known Galaxy.
Creating your workspace.

Exploring planets to gather materials, akin to going through mines in Stardew Valley, is tedious and lonely. It takes a lot of time and energy (akin to MP) to gather resources and find the hidden nodes (similar to Stardew ladders) to access other areas of the planet. As expected, running out of life or energy sends you right to the sick bay. The planets themselves are small and lack variety (every planet feels the same), yet finding nodes to access checkpoints after every five areas depends too much on the RNG being in your favor.

Not every planet has friendly inhabitants, so there is rudimentary real-time combat. The captain’s painfully slow running speed, ponderous evasion, and sluggish weapon response compared to the fast-moving and nimble enemy creatures made exploration a slog. I wasted valuable time and energy eliminating hostiles when I would have rather used it to harvest materials and explore. The bottom line is that the play controls need to be tighter and more responsive, whether using a gamepad (my preference) or a mouse and keyboard combo.

Diplomacy doesn't always work in Little Known Galaxy.
Careful. Blasting this blob will turn it into multiple critters.

Arguably, several of my aforementioned issues with Little-Known Galaxy could be simply the nature of cozy games, but I can’t stand grinding. It makes games feel artificially padded, and Little-Known Galaxy is no exception. On several occasions, the required grinding made me want to shelve the game. When I was about 60% done, I was burnt out and ready for Little Known Galaxy to be over. Ergo, I rushed through the remaining game without enjoying what it had to offer. An optional “easy mode” halving the material requirements, machine processing time, and shop prices while doubling money earned on monetary transactions would make the game more enjoyable for more players. 

The biggest issue with Little-Known Galaxy is its highly inconvenient saving. Little-Known Galaxy only saves when the captain goes to bed for the night and you can’t keep multiple save files. It’s 2024. Games like this require anytime/anywhere saving or at least a quick save feature in case you need to shut off the game without losing progress, especially when exploring outside the ship. There is no autosave feature either. The lack of convenient saving is the biggest strike against Little-Known Galaxy. I hope a future update includes anywhere/anytime saving.

My favorite aspect of Little-Known Galaxy was running around the ship talking to everyone. Seeing the crew walking around the ship and doing various activities made the place look and feel lively. That and the dialogue gave the characters endearing personalities. Unfortunately, some of the everyday dialogue didn’t match the activities I saw people doing. For example, I encountered a couple of crew members LARPing as a knight and a wizard, yet their lines were generic NPC lines they’d said many times before and nothing at all about their LARP game. These moments were missed character development opportunities. Down the road, you have the option to date and/or marry one of several characters regardless of their gender or whether they’re a human, alien, android, or genetic clone. Choosing not to date or marry does not affect the main storyline but adds additional development to some characters.

Some characters are dateable in Little Known Galaxy.
Pursuing romance with crew members is optional.

Dale North provides Little-Known Galaxy‘s solid soundtrack. The various jaunty, MIDI-inspired music that plays on each floor of the ship is comforting and homey, yet complex enough that it’s engaging to stand still and listen to without the risk of boredom. I love how several pieces of music change as the in-game months pass. The explorable planets’ music is solid as well, though I preferred the various in-ship location themes. A cool feature is that once 8:00PM hits and day changes to night, the music stops, reminding you to finish up your tasks and get ready for bed.

Little-Known Galaxy is like the neglected spaceship you’re given command of. It has a ton of potential and a crew with heart but is a fixer-upper requiring time and patience. The developers are very responsive to user feedback; even as we speak, they’re in the process of making quality-of-life adjustments. As it stands now, the graphics, sound, and character interactions are my favorite parts of Little Known Galaxy. On the other hand, I dislike the excessive grinding and being unable to save whenever I want. Little-Known Galaxy is a game that its target demographic will enjoy, but it won’t win over those uninterested in cozy games like Stardew Valley.


Lovely aesthetics, endearing characters.


Inconvenient saving, slow movement speed, often grindy.

Bottom Line

A charming, if flawed, game best suited for established cozy game fans.

Overall Score 79
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Neal Chandran

Neal Chandran

Neal is the PR manager at RPGFan but also finds time to write occasional game or music reviews and do other assorted tasks for the site. When he isn't networking with industry folks on behalf of RPGFan or booking/scheduling appointments for press events, Neal is an educator, musician, cyclist, gym rat, and bookworm who has also dabbled in voiceover work and motivational speaking.