Featuring one of the silliest titles I’ve seen in my long and storied history of playing games, Gigapocalypse is certainly an experience whose synopsis piqued my interest. Basically, what Goody Gameworks have created is a tribute to not only the Kaiju movies of the past, such as any of the Godzilla movies, but also to Rampage, the great arcade game of yesteryear. Mix in a dash of Tamagotchi style monster minding and I was pretty much sold. Can the game itself live up to the promise of the ingredients, or is it just a recipe for disappointment?
Well, if we take the story of this game, then things are a little bit confusing, and while there is some kind of narrative, it is pretty forgettable. Basically, we start off as a monster, one of the aforementioned Kaiju; trapped in a lab. I mean, what could go wrong, holding a giant monster in prison? Well, what could go wrong does, and we use the opportunity to escape and go on the rampage. As we stomp through the base destroying everything in our path, we come across a time portal and disappear through it. Our chosen Kaiju is reduced to a baby by the passage through time, and this is where the game opens up to us.
Now, it must be said that Gigapocalypse is very much the definition of a game of two halves, graphically and gameplay wise. The main screen is a kind of Tamagotchi-esque screen, where we can choose to interact with our now infant Kaiju. It looks suitably cute in this form, sucking a dummy and thinking about what its current needs are. From here we can access the skill trees to power our beastie up, check the skills we have unlocked, and also equip various customisation items.
The other half of the game sees our grown up Kaiju rampaging through a side-scrolling town, destroying everything in sight and taking down bosses at the end of the level. These levels have a great cartoon kind of look to them, seeing anything and everything being blown up or stomped flat, and they look very effective. Sound wise it is all good as well, with nice music in the Tamagotchi screen, and big explosions and roaring in the combat levels. It’s all well presented.
So, how about some gameplay then? Well, if we stick with the combat side of things to start with what we have here is a forced scrolling side-on shooter, in essence. Your chosen Kaiju (there are a total of nine to pick from, and of course initially selected the Giant dragon looking one, Ro’Gath) is on the left hand side of the screen and starts walking right, unstoppably. In the way are a variety of buildings and defenders, depending on which city you have chosen to annihilate, and if you don’t destroy the obstacles your Giga will get hung up on the scenery until you do. Keeping moving is your best defence, as a stationary Kaiju is a vulnerable one, allowing your enemies to shoot you to pieces very easily.
In order to cause the maximum amount of carnage, you have a long range type attack (in the case of Ro’Gath, a laser beam) that can shoot things using a reticle on the screen that is aimed with the left stick, and a close range swipe of the claws that will destroy buildings very easily. And this is it for the whole of this section of the game: stamp about, destroy things, then kill the boss at the end of each section to unlock the next. Of course, the people in the cities would rather you didn’t flatten everything in sight, and will shoot back. If your Kaiju drops to zero health, it is teleported back to the nursery section for you to patch it up. Each run through the cities gains you mutation points, and these can be spent in the nursery to make your next run better.
This nursery is the Tamagotchi-like section that I referred to earlier. In the main screen, you can pet your Kaiju, feed them, and clean up their giga-poops as well. Interacting with your Kaiju will gain yet more mutation points, which are always handy, especially as each Kaiju has a different set of abilities that can be powered up using these earned points, giving enhanced armour or stronger attacks. Spending some time running through the first level a few times, getting stronger with each run will stand you in good stead for the later levels.
Also, each Giga has a skill tree that can be unlocked by levelling your chosen monster up, with extra powerful abilities being added, such as massive fireball attacks and so on. Finally, there are also pets that can be taken along on your trips, offering extra powers or helpful abilities; even visual customisation with new armour sets. All in all, there is a lot of content here to go at, and looking after your Giga is quite enthralling.
It all means that Gigapocalypse is an interesting proposition, one that just does about enough to keep you playing. The combat is a bit repetitive and while seeing your chosen Giga go from wimpy to a weapon is rewarding, the smashing away does get samey, with lots of button mashing. The other side, the actual nurturing of your chosen Giga, is a lot more enticing; even cleaning the poop up is quite cute. All in all, with multiple different Kaiju to master, Gigapocalypse will keep you playing for a while. It is in no way an essential play, but you’ll no doubt find yourself firing it up for a sneaky ten minute bash.
Gigapocalypse is available from the Xbox Store