Gigapocalypse is a spiritual successor to the arcade classic, Rampage. The focus is on destroying cities, but you can also upgrade your monster's abilities.
- Title: Gigapocalypse
- Release Date: August 4, 2022
- Price: $9.99
- Suggested Audience Age: Everyone 10+
- Availability: Playstation 4 (reviewed), Switch, Xbox, PC
- Recommended for fans of: GigaBash, Dawn of the Monsters, Rampage
Geek to Geek Media was provided with a review copy of this title.
It's a good time to be a fan of kaiju-themed video games. With Dawn of the Monsters, GigaBash, and Gigapocalypse all releasing within a year of each other, tokusatsu nuts like myself have a feast of monster games. And before you ask, the two games with “Giga” in the title have nothing to do with one another. The synchronous titles are a mere coincidence. Regardless, it's clear that a lot of '80s kids who became game developers played stinkers like Godzilla 2: War of the Monsters for NES and said to themselves, “When I grow up, I'll make a good kaiju game!” And they did.
So what is Gigapocalypse exactly? For one thing, it's single-player-focused, which immediately sets it apart from most other modern kaiju games. It delivers exactly what you'd want out of a single-player kaiju game, which is destruction and lots of it. Think Rampage if it were in the vein of a modern “endless runner.” But such a simplistic comparison does the game a disservice.
Upon starting the game, you choose one of three monsters. Ro'Gath is your expected bipedal dinosaur/Godzilla analogue, who roasts enemies with her fiery breath and tears apart buildings with razor-sharp claws. Azurath is an ice serpent who targets enemies with a plethora of ranged attacks. DoomTerra, a rock monster ridden by its tribal worshippers, pummels obstacles with more close-range abilities. You'll likely lean toward one monster's abilities, but you can also look at Ro'Gath, Azurath, and DoomTerra as Easy, Medium, and Hard difficulties respectively.
Gigapocalypse is (Kinda) SimKaiju
After you choose a monster, the game funnels you into a tutorial in which you use all of their devastating abilities to demolish a high-tech lab. Things seem a bit easy, but the game throws a Metroid-style curveball at you and takes away all your abilities. Adding insult to injury, time-travel shenanigans are used by the game's antagonist, Captain Villain, to turn your monster into a helpless infant.
The proper game begins with your little bundle of terror sitting on a hub screen. You can pet, feed, and clean up after the baby for Mutation points, which can be used to upgrade abilities or purchase cosmetic items. As cute as this Tamagotchi-like element is, however, it's mostly superficial. The real meat of the game is the “Annihilate!” mode, which allows you to progress through six city stages. And by “progress,” I mean stomp, crush, blast, destroy… you get the picture.
Crush, Kill, Destroy
You can attack a city in either “Annihilate!” or “Endless” mode, but the former is the proper way to progress through the game. Your monster automatically moves forward, stopping only when blocked by a structure. You can direct your monster's ranged attacks with a reticle, but every attack drains its Rage/Aqua/Mana meter. This meter refills slowly over time, but significantly faster with destruction. Finding the balance between using attacks/abilities and steadily destroying your surroundings is key to victory, but be sure to also keep an eye on your monster's health!
Enemies bombard your kaiju constantly and will do whatever it takes to stop it in its tracks. Everything from simple on-foot soldiers to gigantic, lightning-spewing towers will drain your monster's health, so efficient destruction is necessary to reach the end of a stage. A boss opponent awaits your kaiju at the end of each stage, each with its own unique mini-game. The “Math Knight” makes you answer simple math problems to prevent its attacks, while another boss makes you use fighting game-inspired inputs to perform counter-attacks. These gimmicks wear thin quickly, but the creativity is appreciated.
Whether you succeed or fail at annihilating a city, the destruction you caused gradually raises your “Giga” level. Increasing your Giga level allows you to upgrade active abilities. Each ability has its own cooldown timer, and choosing the appropriate time to use them is important. You also earn Mutation points for passive ability upgrades while attacking a city. Pets are another vital tool at your disposal. They accompany your kaiju as it marches through cities and either buff it or assist in the destruction. Taking all this into account, the general gameplay cycle of Gigapocalypse is to care for your baby kaiju, attack a city, and upgrade abilities. Wash, rinse, and repeat.
Gigapocalypse immediately stands out with its striking presentation. In an age in which 2D games do their darnedest to smear digital Vasoline over any and all sprites, it's nice to see pixel art that appreciates, well, pixels. Monsters and bosses are appropriately large and detailed, and there are a plethora of unlockable skins that are wonderfully quirky. Ro'Gath transforms into a Power Rangers-inspired mech with the press of a button. Even the tiniest of enemy sprites conveys a lot of personality in this game.
Sound is, in a word, metal. The theme fits the game's attitude well, with thrashing riffs hyping you up to demolish city after city. Sound effects are also appropriately destructive, adding to the general cacophony of your monster's rampage.
The game's general “point-and-click” interface is decidedly less metal. Nearly every action in the game requires a reticle to sloooooowly move across the screen to its target button. This makes sense when aiming a monster's ranged attacks, but makes much less sense when you simply want to navigate menus. Struggling with the interface occasionally made me wish I had opted for the PC version of the game instead – especially when I encountered a game-breaking bug where I couldn't interact with a button prompt. Thankfully, this bug was corrected with the latest patch, allowing me to complete the game.
With plenty of content and a focus on pure destruction, Gigapocalypse is a great way for kaiju fans to spend a weekend. Occasionally, you'll spin your tires in the mud as you attempt to strengthen your monster enough to complete a stage. The payoff of eventually tearing down even the most daunting enemy defenses makes the struggle worth it, though. An overbearing “point-and-click” interface and some repetitive action are salvaged by a presentation that pays loving homage to giant monster culture.