Hearing the word Kaiju could easily cause panic due to most people loosely linking the word to the mighty Godzilla, despite it actually being a more generalised term for strange beasts. Hence when Kaiju Panic emerged onto the scene, I fell into that trap, wanting to see the gigantic monster and maybe even controlling it to cause destruction worldwide.
It’s not in any way like I had imagined it to be…
Developed by Mechabit, Kaiju Panic is actually an action strategy game with a tower defence style. It all begins after a meteorite comes crashing down on Earth, causing terrible damage and triggering the emergence of the Kaiju. Taking control of a commander, the aim is to protect the world, one city at a time, from these giant monsters and the only way to do that is to blow these unusual beings to smithereens with a little help from science.
There’s only one mode available and that’s the single play campaign which consists of six different areas such as Russia, Asia and Europe with each having five levels to complete. Progression through each level happens by at least protecting the main base of the cities throughout the attacks, until the waves stop coming. The final level of each area tends to be more chaotic by throwing more Kaiju into the mix and usually a boss-type Alpha Kaiju whilst you wait for evacuation.
The key component to constructing any destructive weapon turrets or blockades to place in the way of the Kaiju is the magical purple crystal. Purple crystals will be on every level, although later on they get really spread out, meaning taking your eyes off the action to navigate the commander towards them. Harvesting these garners more resources to spend on construction and you’ll need as much as you can get. Spend the resources wisely because if you’ve exhausted the crystals, then you’re on your own!
So, what kind of weapons can take on these crazy Kaiju that destroy anything in their paths? The best kind! Even though you only start with a couple of weapons and utilities, over time there are a few powerful ones that are vital to success. Knowing the weapons, their range and which Kaiju it’ll decimate efficiently is really important; placing a slow moving Sniper Cannon for incoming fast movers will only lead to them sneaking through your defences. With mines, laser turrets, acid sprinklers and barricades too, there’s something for every type of Kaiju in your sights.
Everything is better with upgrades and the only way to get your hands on those is to collect DNA from deceased Kaiju. Well, there is another way; fulfilling side objectives, for example rescuing all civilians in the level. This DNA is in short supply early on, thus leaving the player a bit short in weaponry powerful enough to help with survival. I actually had to grind the easier levels for a while to collect more and complete objectives again for bonus DNA in order to unlock upgrades such as cheaper construction and increased blast radius.
Saving the civilians (people and occasionally animals) on Earth is priority number one and when you have rounded them all up like a sheep dog, keeping them away from Kaiju is a must as they get scared away easily. Civilians can be useful by placing up to four inside any of the weapon machines to increase anything from range to acidity. Once saved, you’ll be able to check out their I.D. cards in the Kaiju Lab; it’s something to pass the time.
Having a Bestiary (a glossary) for the Kaiju can be handy for figuring out how badass a certain type is and what that species’ weaknesses are. It also allows the player to get a better look at the swines that are causing all this destruction and it’s fair to say, with the exception of the Louse species, they are all oddly, rather cute. The big wide eyes and vibrant colours are what does it I think, which made it difficult to destroy the little Godzilla wannabe, Chibizilla, who’s actually an Alpha Kaiju. Sadly, despite all the variation in looks, the majority of Kaiju perform the same attack to pulverise the cities.
Those lovely looking monsters would look rather too good if the environments were drab; fortunately, all the areas are bright and colourful, even the snow covered Russia. If I were to go out on a limb, I’d say this is the most vibrant and pretty end of the world invasion game I’ve ever see, which makes it ideal for kids.
Kaiju Panic has a strange combination of loveliness and destruction all rolled into a tower defence game that gets extremely chaotic at times. Visually I’ve no complaints; however, level layouts are a bit of an issue with resource crystals being too spread out, making it a chore to go back and forth with the commander to collect them. There’s never really much room around the main base to build many weapons either. The story is told via rare appearances of comic style panels after each of the areas are cleared, which might as well have not been there.
Kaiju Panic does pass the time well, but eventually gets a bit samey, especially when you need to grind for more DNA. If it was cheaper, around the five pound mark then I’d have no hesitation at recommending an instant purchase, but it’s a little steep at the moment.