[Review] Giga Wrecker Alt. – Nintendo Switch

  • Developer: Game Freak
  • Publisher: Rising Star Games
  • Release Date: 02/05/2019
  • Price: £22.49 / $24.99
  • Review code provided by: Rising Star Games

I Am More Than Human

Giga Wrecker Alt. is set in the not so distant future after the human race is almost completely wiped out by the Ajeet’s robot army.

Enter Reika Rekkeiji your typical Japanese high school student, who is trapped under rubble. She is saved by a mysterious girl, who wants to kill Reika for the good of humankind. She shoots Reika only to miss and instead takes off her arm. Bleeding out Reika is saved by Doctor Kuzuki, he ‘saves’ her by using Ajeet tech and transforms Reika into a cyborg resulting in her becoming “cursed with cybernetic powers beyond comprehension”.

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What happens when the developers at Game Freak are allowed to use their monster-making brains on something else? You get Giga Wrecker, initially released two years prior on PC. The title is now available on the Nintendo Switch as Giga Wrecker Alt, an extended version of the original, with 20 extra levels

Giga Wrecker Alt. is a Metroidvania that focuses more on puzzles and exploration, rather than the more fighting orientated gameplay. Each of the puzzles is physics-based, which leads to some interesting results.

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Gameplay

Giga Wrecker Alt. is an odd cookie in terms of gameplay. It takes something we all know and love, the Metroidvania style of game, and then shakes it up. Does it make for a good game though?

The main plot of the Giga Wrecker Alt. is to save humanity from the Ajeet, at least on the surface. Reika is cautious to do anything and is reluctant to help but instead wants to find the girl who shot her in order find out why she did it. Over the course of the game, her attitude changes and she becomes more inclined to save the world.

Dr Kuzuki, however, has a totally different reason to send Reika out to the world. He is after combat data so he can improve his current design and make a better cyborg. He is a scientist after all.

Reika will come up against bosses on her way to saving humanity, these fights themselves are part puzzle, part fight. In fact, they are the most enjoyable part of the game for me personally. Each one needs a different approach to finishing them off. Finding out what is needed may take a few tries but they are so worth the effort. Also, their designs are AMAZING!

Giga Wrecker Alt. has a rather extensive upgrade system, that allows for more health to be added, and debris to be flung further. Along with the upgrades it is possible to find blueprints that will add new abilities to Reika’s arm.

Controls

When it comes to controls they are somewhat hit and miss, and the game is majorly hindered by the camera. Firstly Reika feels floaty when she jumps as if physics does not apply to her, whereas the debris and rocks are affected by the physics of the game. This makes for some really annoying moments. For instance, jumping from a lower ledge to a higher one while holding debris, the debris hits the bottom of a wall and most of the debris will fall to the floor as Rekia floats on up. General movement is fine and responsive with the button mapping also feeling great.

Secondly, the camera will zoom in too close, and jumps will be missed, or actions are performed wrong as its hard to see where Rekia is going. It is also just as awkward when the camera zooms out making Rekia tiny on the screen and some enemies hard to see. During my time with Giga Wrecker Alt. I had lost count of how many times I was hit by the little triangle tentacle robots.

Puzzles

Giga Wrecker Alt. is a physic based puzzle game, and with any physic based puzzle things usually go astray fast. Giga Wrecker Alt. is no exception to this rule. More often then not the puzzles will go wrong, be that because you destroyed the wrong brick or the brick were not weighted down correctly. Reika will fail most puzzles the first time. Frustratingly however, it’s not always the player’s fault, more how the physics work. As the game goes on the puzzle become more challenging, leading to more mistakes, and more errors.

However the developers over at Game Freak knew physics-based puzzle would go wrong and accordingly put a handy reset portal that sets the room back to how it was when you entered. Along with the portal, the game will do a soft autosave so that if Reika dies, she returns to the start of the room. It is a soft save so if you turn off the game progress is not saved. Incidentally, the game is saved at blue, glowing orbs.

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Visuals and Audio

Giga Wrecker Alt. is a beautiful looking game, unfortunately with how the camera zooms out the enemies and Reika’s details are lost. As you can see from the picture above it is like playing “Where’s Wally.” When the camera is zoomed in Reika looks stunning, with her cybernetic arm and the extra parts added to her body all shown in great detail with high quality animations.

The soundtrack is average at best, and is overly repetitive with the amount of times puzzles need to be replayed. It would have been a good idea to have more tracks on a loop, rather than the same one over and over.

The sound effects are definitely the best part of the audio though, from the smashing of blocks to the whirling of the drill. Even destroying enemies sounds incredibly satisfying. The sound effects give Giga Wrecker Alt. the much-needed oomph it needs, after the disappointing repetitive soundtrack.

It also would have been a nice addition to have voice acting within the game as most of the story progression is done in text boxes. This slows down progress and breaks the immersion of the world.

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Conclusion

Giga Wrecker Alt. is a good looking game with a different take on a Metroidvania style, with plenty of puzzles to keep you going. It is by no means perfect and could do with some quality of life changes, for instance, more control over the camera zoom. I would have also liked to have seen Reika being affected by gravity more, just like the rest of the objects within the world.

Pros

  • Beautiful art style
  • Great concept for a puzzle game.
  • The boss fights.
  • Great sound effects

Cons

  • Puzzles can be frustrating
  • Need manual camera controls
  • Overly repetitive soundtrack

Verdict

Giga Wrecker Alt. is something so far from Pokemon that it feels strange coming from Game Freak. It has a few problems but overall is a fun game and the Devs, should be let loose more.

3.5/5

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