Review: Giga Wrecker perfectly falls into place

There’s a charm to Game Freak games. Each one tends to look very distinctive while offering unconventional gameplay. Pocket Card Jockey, HarmoKnight, Tembo the Badass Elephant, Drill Dozer and even Smart Ball all revel in lavish areas with bright color palettes, memorable character designs and unexpected motivations. I’m happy to report that Giga Wrecker is continuing that tradition. Again we’re presented with a title that doesn’t look or play like anything else out there.

Giga Wrecker is set in a world devastated by biomechanical monsters and their masters. They’ve ruined the world. They almost even killed our heroine, Reika Rekkeiji. It’s only by the grace of Dr. Kouzuki that she’s still alive and in one piece. Well, in a way. Reika is now a cyborg, attempting to take back their world. Thankfully, she has the ability to destroy enemies and the environment, pull their pieces back to herself and use it as a weapon.

We come to care about Reika. Or, at least, I did. They’re strong heroines in a more than unfortunate situation. After what’s happened to her, Reika naturally takes issue with what is now “normal” for her. Rather than being completely gung-ho, there are moments when things seem almost pensive. The problem is the translation. It isn’t the best. It’s worlds better than it was in early access, but there are still many moments when things don’t look or sound right. It keeps you from fully enjoying the story before you.

Giga Wrecker forces you to think about the right moves to use in each situation, as well as which upgrades will be best for the way in which you play.

With her new arm and parts, Reika has the ability to accumulate and use nanomachines. This allows her to send out a very basic projectile at its standard form and use debris to accumulate additional materials to deal more damage over a larger area. As you collect crystals and blueprints, as well as advance through an ability tree, you can earn new blades and locks, acquire offensive and defensive skills, boost her health, increase her range and attack and generally make her an even stronger character. While some special attacks, for example Reika forming her wreckage into a sword, won’t cause her to lose bits and pieces, straightforwardly smashing through enemies and the environment will decrease the size of your garbage sphere and require you to constantly reaccumulate the parts. Giga Wrecker forces you to think about the right moves to use in each situation, as well as which upgrades will be best for the way in which you play.

What’s interesting is how these skills are necessary to both fight and proceed through the game. Giga Wrecker is all about controlled chaos. You need to make the most of the tools Reika has available to you. The puzzles here can involve ripping through blockades in special ways, dealing with switches and such, and sometimes even using opponents to help you keep continuing through each level. They might require you to form the garbage into parts and pieces, like cubic locks, to keep going. You need to be exact and quick, since there are often areas with hazards and moving parts that require you to destroy the right points at the right time to proceed.

Speaking of Giga Wrecker’s enemies, there’s some admirable diversity there. While the most generic enemies are easily cut through, such fights gradually get more involved and dangerous. Some enemies have shields, requiring you to attack from specific angles or use certain specialties. Others have varied AI, which can make them more of a threat. The bosses in particular can be quite devious and may take more than one attempt to find their patterns and discover the secret to besting them.

While Giga Wrecker does quite a bit right, it also has more than a few issues. Because so much is happening at once, there can be some problems with framerates and lag. Controls can feel floaty and imprecise, even if you’re sure you’re aiming properly, due to some rather glaring hit box issues with some enemies and environmental objects. It is possible to overshoot or unintentionally do something that messes up a puzzle or enemy encounter. While Game Freak does give us the ability to briefly rewind time and undo in some areas, it doesn’t make the problems any less frustrating.

Giga Wrecker, like many other Game Freak games, dares to be different.

There’s even an impressive level editor within Giga Wrecker. People are able to develop their own levels for themselves and others to enjoy. All of the elements and properties from the full game are present here, allowing you to create a custom campaign. You can adjust terrain and structures, place all sorts of enemies, alter backgrounds and place gimmick items to prepare your own puzzles and challenges. These are easily searchable from within the game itself, allowing you to go through based upon difficulty levels, size and what sort of content people have prepared.

Giga Wrecker, like many other Game Freak games, dares to be different. It looks, plays and acts unlike many other platformers on the market. Not only that, but the game continues to keep giving beyond what the developer offers. With the level editor, you can create your own and enjoy others’ original situations. It stands apart as one of the many delightfully unconventional titles in the company’s catalog, even when it occasionally falters. There are some good ideas here, even if it isn’t always perfect.

Score: 8/10
Publisher: Game Freak
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Developer: Game Freak
Platform(s): PC
Questions? Check out our review guide.
A review copy was provided by the publisher or developer for this review.

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