Welcome to the first-ever “Friday eXcursion”, a feature we’ll have on the occasional Friday where we’ll be moving away from our chosen genre and look at some games that just appear to be plain ol’ fun!
First up: Kaiju-A-Go-Go!
Remember the classic 80’s arcade title Rampage? Humans transformed into oversized monstrous beasts and started smashing up city buildings. Take that insanely enjoyable pulverization and transport it into a landscape like SimCity 2000 and you’re getting close to the feel of Kerberos Productions’ Kaiju-A-GoGo. Kerberos, the minds behind Sword of the Stars, have big plans for this casual title, so we thought it worth checking out.
As the trope goes, the evil mastermind (in this case, one Dr. N.E.Farious) has set into motion a crafty plan to take over the world. To achieve his goal, the Doc will use his kaiju, a Godzilla-inspired robotic goliath named Ginormasaurus, to wreak havoc on the planet’s major cities and force them into submission. Operations are conducted from a secret base in the Pacific and the player is tasked with oversight of the entire operation.
The game begins with a short tutorial of sorts as Ginormasaurus arrives on the shores of Anchorage, Alaska and proceeds, under the player’s direction, to stomp the city up as only an oversized mechanical monstrosity can. Buildings collapse, fires engulf neighborhoods, and civilians are crushed underfoot. While stomping, Ginormasaurus also accomplishes two important tasks: reducing the city’s morale, and collecting much needed resources. These two tasks will prove crucial in the game’s progression.
So, let’s take a closer look at these and the other elements that make Kaiju-A-GoGo… well…go.
The denizens of Earth are going about their daily lives; working, shopping, sleeping and queuing overnight for Apple products. They’re not expecting an enormous robot to emerge from the ocean, so they’re in a pretty good mood. Enter Ginormasaurus, whose domicile-shattering antics greatly disturb the status quo and shake humanity to its core. Citizens flee in desperation as structure after structure falls to robotic might. Herein lies the overarching task of Kaiju-A-GoGo: lowering region morale, city-by-city, until they cave and accept you as their ruler. Seems easy enough, right? It would be, if it weren’t for…
As bewildered as the people might be by a robot in their backyard, civilians still have enough sense to call in the cavalry. The more stomping and destruction your kaiju causes, the larger and more frequent the cavalry response will be. Infantry units, small jeeps, tanks and armored helicopters are just a few of the obstacles that cities will throw at the player in an effort to drive the kaiju out. Face too many threats at once and even the mighty Ginormasaurus will be forced to limp home with its tail between its legs. As more and more cities fall, the region begins to respond with greater force, culminating in the creation of their own kaiju to face off against yours.
Here’s where Kaiju-A-GoGo moves from just an action game to a true action/strategy hybrid. Players must make strategic decisions in choosing which cities to invade and for how long. Every time a city is left without falling it learns new ways to adapt to this mechanized threat, making submission all the more difficult to achieve. Certain buildings lower morale quicker than other, which is helpful, but lowering morale is not the only goal of a kaiju attack…
Kaiju-A-GoGo features five resources (Power, Knowledge, Money, Organics and Purpletonium) which each play a different role in gameplay. As your kaiju terrorizes the locality, destroyed buildings will leave behind resources to be picked up. However, some structures yield much higher resource rewards than others, so its important for the player to consider their purpose for the particular visit to the city at any given time. Need more Knowledge? Hit up libraries or universities. Want to expand your Secret Base? You’re going to need some extra Money from the business districts.
Pillaging cities for these much-needed resources is an important part of the game but, as powerful as Ginormasaurus is, the cities and regions will eventually adapt to the threat it poses. Its time for this rampaging robot to receive an overhaul via…
When not invading cities, Ginormasaurus can be found resting and relaxing back at the secret base. Here, programming in new active and passive abilities can help stay one step ahead of the opposition. With available upgrades, which include laser eye beams and improved armor, Kaiju-A-GoGo impressively boasts somewhere in the region of 100 different abilities for the kaiju to learn (although I haven’t yet been able to explore that many).
As the pursuit of world domination steadily grows in complexity, so does the necessary amount of resources that drive the game forward and the need to not only improve the kaiju, but the secret base as well. Building is a mostly straightforward task, although I found it a little confusing sometimes as to what purpose different buildings serve. Nonetheless, the system is for the most part easy to use and to understand.
There’s a lot more I could say about Kaiju-A-GoGo, such as mentioning its strategy map, similar in style to the X-Com series, or expounding on the expertly crafted city maps, featuring unique layouts similar to their real-life counterparts. However, in reflection, Kaiju-A-GoGo is really a game that simply needs to be tried out. Its unique in the genre (there’s a real lack of monster base builders out there) and is executed very well. Graphics are fun and fit the style of a game that nicely blends its action/strategy focus with some humorous undertones. The developers are responsive on their forums and seem to welcome community input, which is slowly becoming a must-see when I decide to check out new indie titles.
Two new kaijus are already guaranteed and in the works (one releasing in June, another in December) and are free for early adopters of the game. Even those who choose to wait will still get a great deal, and this style of game has so much opportunity for expansion. Overall, I can see myself playing a lot of Kaiju-A-GoGo and, for those who like their action/strategy light with a hint of monster trope, then this one might be for you.
TL;DR Kerberos Productions presents a real gem in the form of Kaiju-A-GoGo, an action-strategy title with a heavy dose of monster trope. The artwork is great and the mechanics of the title are well thought out. No laborious management or overly complex systems here. Instead, the simple to use control system (just point and click, and let your kaiju do the rest) makes this a game that could be a lot of fun for a range of ages.
In the days after launch, Kaiju-A-GoGo was not without its share of bugs needing squished, or tweaks needing…tweaked, but don’t let that put you off a game with lots of potential. If you’re looking for a full-fledged RTS or the next Evil Genius base-builder, then this doesn’t fit the bill. If what you’re looking for is a light, playful action/strategy title, then this might just be your match and the price is more than reasonable.
If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if the arcade classic Rampage found its way into SimCity 2000, then Kaiju-A-GoGo is definitely worth a look.