Title: Kaiju Wars
Developer: Foolish Mortals Games
Release Date: April 28, 2022
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Foolish Mortals Games
Did you ever grow up watching kaiju films? The rubber suits and cheesy dialogue take me back to a time when I would sink hours into the Sci-fi station. So, when Kaiju Wars promised to distill all of this into a game, I knew I had to play and see how it captured my nostalgia.
Kaiju Wars puts players into the perspective of the newly appointed mayor of Floatio. Calm and idyllic, nothing ever happens in Floatio until your first day as mayor. One day, a colossal monster rises from the sea, leaving you as the only one left to fight against the beast.
The game’s story presents itself as a retro game, that would have been played in the 80s. The UI represents each mission as a panel in a comic book, giving the story vibes reminiscent of pulp fiction, signaling that players are in for a ride. It may not always make sense, but you’ll be glad you stayed for the whole trip.
However, players may have difficulty finding reasons to care about the narrative as the humor and scientific jargon clash. The story segments include dialogue between NPCs, discussing the creatures adding their pseudo-science to explain the kaiju’s origins. These sections feel lifted straight from any Godzilla film, where most of the film is characters standing around talking.
However, the characters will then spout a joke merely seconds after some technobabble. These jokes force players out of the atmosphere and remind them that this game is more of a parody of the kaiju genre.
So, unless you hold some serious nostalgia for the genre, I could see players skipping the scenes to get to the battles. Many story beats serve as an excuse to put players into a limited situation. For example, an early mission requires players to sacrifice buildings to slow the Kaiju down. The reason for this? Your war advisor has sent your army to defend the city leaving only one tank in the area.
Other missions have absurd conditions that make them overwhelming. For instance, one stage had a kaiju frequently revive, gaining new abilities with each resurrection. Unfortunately, this challenge pushed the stage to last over an hour, leaving me exhausted by its end.
The most egregious mission that comes to mind was a victory condition by achieving twenty breakthroughs. Players can earn a science breakthrough every three or so turns. This amount increases by building more labs and special effects players can activate through cards.
This mission lasted for over twenty turns, and by the end, I felt like I couldn’t play anymore and needed to step away for a bit. These particular restrictions add challenge to each encounter, but they feel like they should be optional, allowing you to earn more medals for completing the mission under these restrictions. Despite these absurd conditions, though, the system is interesting enough to keep players engaged.
The best way to describe the combat would be a mixture of SRPG and Tower Defense. Players have to build bases that allow them to produce troops that move around the map to fight the kaiju. Each unit dies in one hit but has various effects.
These abilities range from slowing kaiju down by trampling on the unit and reducing its movement speed by one to eliminating extra fires. These abilities allow players to shape the battlefield in their favor and add additional depth by giving them the option to decide which units to sacrifice and when. Combinations can also come down to luck when players can play a card from their deck each turn, allowing for a lucky draw to change the tides of battle. Players need to be mindful, as these benefits can also be used by the enemy, and frequently you will be scrambling to try and hide your lead researcher.
These various moving parts create a steep learning curve while the story tries its best to acclimatize the player to the nuances of the battle system. However, even after getting over ten hours and many missions under my belt, I still felt like I was only getting a partial insight into the systems. As if I was missing a crucial piece of information that would unlock a further understanding.
The result of this may cause players to keep coming back to figure out that special ingredient or quit in frustration. While I may have missed what that is, I still feel like playing. Once this kaiju bites you, it doesn’t let go.
This feeling is great as players will find plenty of side content once they finish the story, from making custom maps and tackling user-created maps. In addition, weekly Challenges will test Players’ strategy and patience in favor of wacky battles. So, there is still plenty more to keep your attention once the credits roll.
Kaiju Wars can be an unforgiving experience, from missions that take all of your stamina to a story requiring familiarity with the source material. However, the gameplay is deep and nuanced enough to be exciting and rewarding. I am confident that Kaiju Wars will become a cult classic amongst a niche group of fans, much like the films that inspired it.
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