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Kaiju-A-GoGo

A tl;dr Haiku

City-smashing game

That feels like Early Access

It still needs some work.

 

Forget raindrops on roses, my favorite things are more localized in destroying cities with giant mechanized dinosaurs and taking over the world. Kaiju-A-GoGo is an indie action game from Kerberos Productions Inc. for the PC that put me on a path to take over the world one monster-ravaged city at a time. But, while often fun, Kaiju hits some major snags in playability due to bugs, awkward design, and a lingering feeling like everything just isn’t there yet.

 

The Meat

Gameplay is simple. I’m a giant robot and I make things dead. Well, to be nitpicky, I’m a mad scientist. I point the giant robot, henceforth Kaiju – because authenticity, in the general area of things I want dead, and am allowed creative input in the process via complete control of Kaiju’s (probably nuclear) weapons systems. The objective of the game is to destroy cities to such an extent that they submit to my rule. This adds their income to my own and allows me to use that money to upgrade my robot to take over more affluent and well-defended cities.

Control of the Kaiju is simple: click the map and the Kaiju walks there, stomping everything in its path. Aside from stomp-o-fying everything in sight, the Kaiju has a number of abilities in the form of weapons systems. These range from a simple claw attack to an artificially produced rain of fire. And it’s necessary to memorize what all of them do because, when in a city, there are no tooltips available for the abilities. Using one of the many eye lasers? Better know which one is which because they all have different ranges and powers. Early in the game, my tactical use of weaponry had to boil down to smacking the buttons and hoping what exploded wasn’t me. The abilities are used via the number keys. And only the number keys, by the way, as there’s no option for remapping buttons.

Speaking of maps, there is a minimap which isn’t entirely useless, but comes close. It’s green and vaguely in the shape of the city I’m currently in. Different parts turn red once buildings in that specific area are destroyed. Which is a helpful extra feature, but what the minimap doesn’t show is my own location so it feels like it isn’t fulfilling its core purpose as a map.

Then there’s the secret base. Because who doesn’t want a secret base? The secret base is where there’s ‘waiting as a gameplay mechanic.’ Because who doesn’t like waiting as gameplay mechanic? Oh right: Everyone who ever stopped playing Farmville. The secret base is where I could build structures which would provide resources needed to upgrade my Kaiju and to build better structures to get more resources. And I had to wait for them to finish their construction time. What bugs me here is that the Devs knew this waiting was boring. They have a ‘speed up time’ feature so the real-time wait is shorter. I feel like they’re pushing me into the pool only to hand me a dish towel when I climb out. Needing resources to build and upgrade things is fine, it’s cool. I love seeing the money rack up as I’m tearing down ambiguously named buildings. Just make the upgrades instant. No need for me to sit around as I watch the timer spin down from “7 Days Until Completion” in triple-speed.

Then there are the other things that feel wrong. Like the fact that there’s no main menu in game, no way to change the resolution, the aforementioned lack of keybinds, random crashes, and the fact that until this afternoon, there was no ‘Save’ option – only ‘Save and Quit.’ I mean, I’ll give the Devs props for addressing issues fast. I mention ‘this afternoon’ since as of tonight a simple ‘Save’ option that doesn’t require me to reload my game has been added . But that really seems like something that should have been good to go at launch.

The Potatoes

According to the game, I’m a mad scientist out to take over the world. Styling myself a creative sort, I can run with that. There are plenty of interesting stories which come about naturally in the game. Like misplacing my Kaiju after scrolling away on the map, then not being able to find it as the usual tactic of ‘follow the path of destruction’ isn’t too useful when the entire city has been flattened into smoldering ashes. Also, watching patrol boats sail through the streets because their pathing evidently isn’t limited to the water. Or unlocking an achievement that’s a Joni Mitchell reference. I mean, I did get the joke, so that proves that people who play Kaiju games and people who listen to Joni Mitchell do indeed overlap, and justifies its inclusion. But still. It was weird.

 

I really wanted to like this game a lot. And to be fair, I did for the most part. But random crashes and the absence of features that are just ubiquitous now really made it hard to stay invested in this game. I mentioned it in the haiku, but Kaiju really feels like it’s a Early Access with a full-release price tag. At a little over ten dollars, it could be worse, but it’s hard to justify a current purchase for a game that just isn’t firing on all cylinders yet. The Dev team seems devoted, and they are working hard to fix problems as they are brought up. A few months down the line, I can see this being a game worth dropping some coin for, but for now, it’s safer to pass up.

Play Kaiju-A-GoGo?

No, not yet.

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