Preview: Giga Wrecker promotes controlled chaos

You have the power to destroy most things. Not all, because that would be overkill, but most. Such power would bring with it the temptation to use that ability to smash through everything, perhaps shouting, “I’m gonna wreck it!” as you do. Giga Wrecker, Game Freak’s newest non-Pokemon game asks you to control that impulse in favor of more moderate massacres for the good of humanity.

Giga Wrecker begins as many games do, in a post-apocalyptic world. Gigantic, biomechanical monsters roam the lands, enslaving and killing humans. Our heroine, Reika Rekkeiji, is almost one of many casualties, but she’s found by Doctor Kouzuki. Since the only alternative is death, she allows him to experiment on her, transforming her into a cyborg with the ability to destroy parts of the environment, collect debris to use as a weapon and briefly rewind time, in the event she accidentally destroys too much. In her reborn form, which I like to refer to as Wreck It Reika, she’s tasked with testing her new powers, exploring ruins and destroying the robots that nearly cost her her life.

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Reika’s primary attack is generally her most useful in Giga Wrecker. She can smash through the most obvious things in the game. If there are blue crystals inside the debris, she’ll collect it to eventually acquire powerups for herself. If there’s an orange liquid inside, she’s able to call it to her to create a debris ball to increase the power and range of her basic attacks. The latter requires a bit of caution, as constantly damaging enemies or environmental objects will cause bits and pieces to fall off, meaning Reika must constantly be pulling them back to herself. As time goes on, she does get stronger. New debris weapons can be constructed.

From the very beginning, Giga Wrecker trains you to think before using these destructive abilities and weapons. Simple physics come into play, when tearing apart the environment. You’ll need to hit some blockades in the right places and at exact angles to create bridges, passages and stairways that take Reika from point A to point B. You’ll know when you’ve happened upon one of these puzzles, as a Tachyon Burst waypoint will appear, offering you the option to briefly rewind time in the event of a misstep.

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In this early stage of development, such mistakes are possible. Reika doesn’t move fluidly; she’s rather stiff. Finding the exact position and point of attack might take a few tries, before you learn to compensate for this in-progress Giga Wrecker build. It took me two puzzles to realize that there are multiple planes in an environment, even if that isn’t obvious, and that the debris could shift from one to another to make an impromptu path.

But so far, all I’ve done is talk about how Reika’s abilities are used to damage inanimate objects. Her skills are also needed to destroy robots in a rather clever fashion. She’s able to collect debris to compile wrecking balls and other weapons. But, she can’t just smash through all of these enemies; they have shields. You have to collect a certain amount of junk to bust through their defenses, then deal actual damage. By implementing this shield system, Game Freak has made the action portions of Giga Wrecker as methodical as the puzzle parts. You can’t go rushing in, swinging shattered remnants of ruins around like Reika just doesn’t care. You have to gather resources, attack when prudent, pull back her parts, then deal the deathblow.

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Again, all of this is a work-in-progress, so Giga Wrecker has its issues. The one area in which it does seem most polished is in regards to its level editor. People can already begin piecing together their own puzzles. You determine which blocks to place, how to set them and can “Testplay” at any time. Accuracy is lauded, with exact coordinates and detailed information on angles offered, to ensure you’re getting exactly what you expect. The Steam Workshop is even already open, with people able to submit the levels they’ve made.

There’s something to Giga Wrecker. It has areas that are in need of slight adjustments and tweaks, especially regarding Reika’s controls and movements and the script’s localization. The bones are good, though. Game Freak has an interesting idea for a platformer that demands people pay attention, whether they’re solving puzzles or decimating opponents.

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