Reviews

Giga Wrecker Alt. review – For Game Freaks Everywhere!

It's always refreshing to see a game studio known for one very successful franchise branching out with a new IP in a completely different genre. Game Freak have proven that they aren't just a 'Pokémon' powerhouse, but are also well versed in the puzzler - platform space with 'Giga Wrecker Alt.'

Set in a judgement day style post-apocalyptic universe with an intriguing sub-plot, Giga Wrecker Alt follows our cyborg protagonist ‘Reika Rekkijji’ on a quest for answers with a dash of retribution against the feudal robotic alien race, the ‘Ajeet’.

Cyborg – Platformer in Disguise…

Whilst Giga Wrecker Alt. is predominantly a platformer aesthetically, it’s heart lies in challenging puzzle solving that walks the line between satisfaction and rage quitting. These elements are always a challenge but make sure the difficulty wall isn’t towering over players, leading to a satisfying gameplay experience overall.

In the vein of ‘Katamari’, players have the ability to collect debris from fallen enemies into a ball which can be used to overcome Giga Wrecker Alts’ various obstacles. A Level may require players to cut down a platform to access a door switch which requires Reika to manipulate said debris into a sword.

Following this, players may have to turn said debris into a block to allow them to reach the platform they have just cut down. This is the heart of Giga Wrecker Alt. and only becomes more entertaining as more skills and alterations are unlocked. On a side note, gathering a metric F tonne of debris and driving it into a slew of antagonists is very satisfying.

Characters Worth Platforming For

In most platformers, character development takes a back seat in aid of tight platforming mechanics and presentation. Let’s face it, players don’t normally pick up platformers for their multi-layered plots. Whilst Giga Wrecker Alt. doesn’t offer such luxuries, it does offer compelling characters that pull players into the game world and emphasises the tyranny of the Ajeet. Giga also provides players with a quirky robot companion and other characters that provide cheesy humour in parts, which as my readers will know is OK in my book #DadJokes.

Built from the ground up using the Unity Engine, Giga Wrecker Alt feels fresh and has that creative indie vibe whilst being a product of one of the biggest developers in gaming today. Featuring a sprite animation style that could be likened to that of ‘BlazBlue’, Giga Wrecker Alt. pops in both handheld and docked mode. Backgrounds are beautifully designed, much like the Mega Drive ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ titles of old but with dedicated animations for lava streams, robotic contraptions and so forth.

Best Recycling Idea… EVER!

In a refreshing take for a platformer, Giga Wrecker Alt. assigns debris attraction and some skills to shoulder and trigger buttons. This is a brilliant move to free up front facing buttons for other skills players will unlock as the game progresses. Hell, it just feels natural to play. My only concern regarding control schematics is the slight floaty feel to the directional movement and jumping, it takes an hour or so to get used too. Its not something myself or other fans of platforming titles are used to and can be slightly off-putting.

It can be hard for post-apocalyptic/gritty titles to not fall into the standard brown, grey and metal colour coding that plagued the early 2000’s offerings (Looking at you Activision!). Giga Wrecker Alt. does fall into this category to an extent, but breaks the trend by putting an emphasis on brighter shades of white, yellow and electric blues with antagonist character design whilst making them pop with their almost mutant-like appearances.

The soundtrack conveys a spectrum of emotion and goes hand in hand with the plot and aesthetic of the genre. The soundtrack for Giga Wrecker alt. goes from a euphoric electronica whirlwind to a hardcore house beatdown at the flick of a switch, but when warranted. It’s beautifully put together! Giga’s SFX also packs a punch and match the source wonderfully.

Verdict:

Presentation: 10
Graphics: 10
Gameplay: 9
Sound: 9.5

Overall Score: 9.6 / 10

Giga Wrecker Alt. is proof that Game Freak can be successful outside of their much loved Pokémon franchise. Giga is a refreshing take on the platforming genre by introducing intricate yet approachable puzzling elements that keep people engaged. It truly is a privilege to see such a large developer show too much creativity and diversity in an overcrowded platforming space. Whilst I would personally love a slight tune-up of movement and jumping, that is my one criticism of Giga Wrecker Alt.

Format: Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
Price: £22.49 (eShop)
Publisher: Rising Star Games
Developer: Game Freak 
Age Rating: PEGI 7

Release Date: 02/05/2019

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