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Gameverse | September 22, 2020

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Kaiju-A-GoGo Review: Ginormasaurus Requires Further R&A

Kaiju-A-GoGo screenshotWith my previous review being  Chroma Squad , it’s only fair that I look at the other side’s plight with Kaiju-A-GoGo, a strategy game where you control a mad scientist and his kaiju creation on the path to world domination. After Sword of the Stars II, a game we will pretend doesn’t exist, developer Kerberos has been focusing on smaller titles set in the SotS universe like The Pit and Ground Pounders. Kaiju-A-GoGo is their first new IP in some time, and just barely surpassed its funding goal on IndieGoGo. That last bit is fairly important, because I think it does a lot to explain the current state of the game.

Kaiju-A-GoGo follows a very XCOM-like formula, except your goal is to take over the world instead of defending it from invaders. Using your giant Mecha Godzilla clone Ginormasaurus, you’ll launch attacks against cities from your secret island lair, wrecking buildings and the military opposition to gather resources and break the population’s moral until they eventually surrender.

Controlling your kaiju isn’t all that different from a very basic ARPG. You click to move, your kaiju auto attacks anything in its path, and you have a skill bar full of special abilities like plasma breath, eye beams, deflector shields, etc. You’ll immediately notice that your kaiju feels like a giant, skyscraper-sized monster, and not always in a good way. Smaller buildings are crushed beneath your feet (though bizarrely, your kaiju has to stop to stomp on infantry and small vehicles) but maneuvering around is an extremely clunky affair made worse by your general lack of control over your kaiju’s auto attacks.

I’ve encountered several frustrating deaths because Ginormasaurus stopped near a blade of grass he decided just absolutely must die while on low health and being chased by M1 tanks and Apache gunships. At the same time, getting him to attack specific enemy units, especially aerial ones and enemies hiding behind buildings, can be a tedious affair. You just never really feel like you have total control over your kaiju. Eventually you’ll find that the best way to tackle cities is to run from the military and keep to the edges of the map, racing to destroy as many buildings as possible before the withering fire of tank shells and rocket artillery becomes overwhelming.

When you aren’t having issues battling your kaiju’s controls, destroying cities can actually get rather fun. Eye lasers sweep across the ground, jets of green fire engulf buildings and spread across the city, even the tallest skyscrapers crumble to your kaiju’s talons. Most buildings drop various resources, and one of your goals in a city attack is to gather said resources to bring back to base and spend on upgrades. Resources include Cash, Food, Knowledge, Power, and the incredibly rare space material Purpletonium. There is some degree of strategy to targeting specific buildings to get each resource. Schools will likely have Knowledge, banks and malls have Cash, stadiums tend to yield a lot of Food, etc.

On the other hand, the strategy pretty much stops there. There will sometimes be army bases or airfields you can destroy to stem the tide of higher level enemy units, but for the most part it seems that 90% of the enemies just spawn from thin air. You’ll encounter buildings like fire stations, town halls, and various monuments, but they don’t seem to really do anything. It would be nice if there were more special types of buildings you could destroy to somehow damage the city’s ability to defend itself in future raids…Then again, those could exist already and the game just doesn’t tell you. Kaiju-A-GoGo has a bad tendency of not telling you things, which I’ll get to later.

Eventually, you’ll cause enough damage to a city that they’ll surrender, which will give you their income each month. Each city has a morale stat that steadily declines as you rip the place apart, and once they get below 40% the chances of surrender drastically increase. Even on lower tier cities this can take some time however, and you’ll almost certainly need to make several trips to the city to force their surrender. This makes a very repetitive and often tedious gameplay loop even worse as you have to keep fighting in the same environment over and over again.

Once you do return to base with your resources, you’ll have a chance to construct new buildings and upgrade your kaiju. It’s all a fairly basic system without too many surprises. You can build various types of power plants or food processing centers to help with your resource income, training facilities allow your kaiju to learn new abilities, repair pads increase the rate at which Ginormasaurus regains his health, etc. But, like I said, Kaiju-A-GoGo has issues when it comes to giving you the information you need. There are advanced structures like weather control devices and broadcasting stations, but the game doesn’t really tell you how they work. From what I can tell, the weather control device just causes random disasters in random cities, but again, I don’t really know because the game’s description is vague at best. The broadcasting station is more straightforward, giving you the option to threaten cities into giving you money, calling off reinforcements, or even surrendering. I used it twice, but then the option to threaten just disappeared. I don’t know if it’s a glitch or if the game is just, once again, not telling me something important.

Other complaints I have about your general lack of control and decent information in the game is how some resources work. If you end a month without enough resources to power your base, then a random selection of structures will just shut down and you can’t use them until next month. This is a massive issue because you’ll sometimes find yourself unable to access vital structures in your base, severely limiting your options for a month. Allowing you to choose which structures go offline would make things far less crippling while still penalizing you for not having enough resources.

There is a summary screen of your monthly income and costs, but it isn’t particularly clear at times and seems to be hiding information. There have been times where it looked like I was going to have plenty of resources to pay my bills, but then stuff gets shut down anyway. The way the Power resource works in particular is pretty wonky. You need Power to keep your base running, but Power is also essentially your kaiju’s mana bar and allows you to use special attacks. This means that, if you are in desperate need of Power, you’ll have to raid cities without the ability to use special attacks, leaving you to rely on the kaiju’s auto attacks. This is boring and a really slow way to damage a city.

The game has numerous bugs still too. You’ll often see infantry or tanks crossing water, ships driving across land, enemy units bugging out and deciding to continuously spin around in place, and all the other issues I’ve brought up that are either bugs or just poor design choices. A lot of places also seem to have missing tooltips, and the sound options are pretty dire. Beyond that, the game is frankly just too repetitive and grindy. I hear that later on you’ll start fighting enemy kaiju, Power Rangers-like defense forces, etc., but I just don’t feel compelled to get that far. After around six hours and getting into the tier 2 cities I just didn’t feel like battling with the game’s issues anymore.

I wouldn’t say that Kaiju-A-GoGo is a terrible game. Like I said, for a while I actually found it rather fun, and I hear that the middle and late game get much more interesting, but the process of getting through the early stages just gets so tedious and repetitive that I stopped caring. Kerberos even admits that there is a lot of content that didn’t make it and will be added over time, like the two other playable kaiju. Kaiju-A-GoGo probably should have launched in Early Access in its current state, not as a “finished” game. I see the foundation of a pretty great game here, it just needs more content and what’s here already could use a lot of tweaking. If Sword of the Stars: The Pit is any indication, Kaiju-A-GoGo will be getting lots of post-launch support and will probably, eventually, be a pretty solid game. Right now though, I don’t think I can recommend it unless you have a very high tolerance for repetition and strange design choices. Kaiju-A-GoGo is currently $13 on Steam.

Frank is an aspiring game designer that currently writes for Indie Game Source and Bell of Lost Souls. You can follow him on Twitter @Frank_Gaming for updates on future articles and reviews.