Despite my advancing years, I don't consider myself to be a retro gamer, I'm always looking to the next big thing, and always on the lookout for better graphics, bigger worlds, longer draw distances and slicker frame rates. Having said that every now and then an indie game comes along that I just fall in love with, and I think this might be one of them.
Gigapocalypse is obviously Inspired by Kaiju monster movies like Godzilla, Mothra and King Kong, as well as classic city-crunching arcade games like the minor classic, Rampage. Players get a roster of monsters, or “Gigas”, to pick from as they stomp around reducing cities and towns to rubble, accompanied by the beat of some rawk metal guitar music!
Ok, so far so Godzilla, but now it gets a bit weird. Fight your way to the end of a city stage (the first few are really easy once you've upgraded your giga a bit) and you'll reach a time portal. This will regress your Kaiju to baby form. At this point you need to pet it, feed it and clean up its poop. You can also decorate its abode (which adds buffs), upgrade its skills and mutations and add "Pets" to your pet (things that fight alongside your Giga or help it survive damage.) The pets might seem like a pointless addition at first, but they can cause a lot of damage, keep you alive and it's also interesting discovering what each one does and how/when best to use them.
The vast number of upgrades was initially confusing but they basically toughen your Giga and enhance its weapons, armour and special attacks (and the frequency with which you can use them), and also allow you to add several Pets and the ability to enhance them and their abilities. You can even customise your Kaijus and then go smash stuff up with a whole new look, or just a new paintjob!
Gigapocalypse has a sense of humour and a cartoony newscaster documents your performance at the end of each level. The tiny in-game characters reminded me of South Park somehow, and you can't help but be amused as they flee in terror as you stomp their city to smithereens and heartlessly blast them to death. I should probably be racked with guilt for all the tiny people I've mercilessly slaughtered, but I'm not.
Another thing to like about Gigapocalypse is the way it bucks the silly and worn-out trend of roguelike gaming. Fail a level and you keep all the Gigapoints (EXP) you earned and can spend them on upgrading and enhancing your Giga and come back stronger the next time–which is the way games should be in my opinion.
Although it plays fine with the Xbox controller, the game feels rather like it's designed to be played with a mouse. The menus are easy enough to navigate and understand, but the designer seems to have forgotten that us Xbox gamers are used to going back a screen with 'B', and you have to guide the cursor to and click on a small triangle to do so.
Being generous I'd call the graphics retro, but they kind of suit the subject matter and match the game's price, which is only £7.99. At the same cost as three Costa or Starbuck's coffees, or a packet of cheap smokes... It's a subjective thing which you'd get more enjoyment out of, but I think you'll keep coming back to Gigapocalypse for a quick blast, and as addictive as it is, that might even turn into a long blast.