This title was reviewed on Nintendo Switch, but is also available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
Giga Wrecker Alt is the console release of Game Freak’s 2017 release titled Giga Wrecker. The ‘Alt’ version for consoles slightly expands on the original. Here we have a 2D platformer with physics puzzles, Metroidvania elements, and action/adventure themes. A bold mold to be sure! But will it work? Or will it trip at the last hurdle and fall flat on its face. Well, let’s find out!
Giga Wrecker Alt’s visuals have definitely been given the love and attention of a dedicated design team. Working for a company where 75% of their product is Pokèmon related must give heavily to the relative freedom of working on a new project and that is what can be seen here. A sprawling 2D levelscape with multi-level backgrounds moving simultaneously from each other make for an absolutely lovely experience. The colours are vibrant and interesting straight from the outset. The character models are straight out of anime but are also intricately designed. The measure of this games visual direction is very pleasing, Game Freak know what they’re doing when it comes to video games and this seems no exception. A beautiful experience all round.
You play as Reika, a girl held captive by the robot overlords that have taken over planet earth. You start out trying to escape their prison with the help of a mysterious stranger however as soon as she finds you and tells you how happy she is to see you alive, the alarm goes off and within five seconds she’s holding a gun at you…which is…a nice change of pace. Anyway, Reika then says ‘whoa why do you have that thing in your hand?! You’ll hurt someone!’ To which we realise our Reika is very naive, she’s not going to hurt someone Reika, she’s going to hurt you. So then the girl says your kindness will be the human race’s downfall and you must be killed to stop it. Before she can land the kill shot, robots grab her and take her away leaving you with a shot through the shoulder… which is fine.
We can just take Reika to a Pokè center and get her heal…oh damn right sorry wrong game. Reika is found by a scientist who offers her a new chance at life if he accepts her offer while she’s lying in a pool of her own blood with no arm and ribs sticking out of her… nice one doc. Fast forward and Reika is now a cyborg complete with cool metal arm and the ability to attract nanomachines. I feel the story has a good premise feels unoriginal, the robot overlord story is nothing that hasn’t been done to death before and I don’t think Giga Wrecker Alt has an ambitious and engaging enough story to change that sense of total overdone toast.
The gameplay is where Giga Wrecker Alt really shines. The physics engine in particular is amazing and I’ve not actually seen a game with such a focus on physics based puzzles on the Switch as of yet (but I could’ve missed it because I’m blind as a bat). So this is a welcome addition to a genre that you wouldn’t usually expect physics puzzles in! Initially you’re started off slow and steady and built up to the more complicated puzzles but by that time you’ll know what you’re doing anyway.
Some of the puzzles have convergence points where can reset them because you usually have to break something into a certain position and that can take a few tries if you’re not used to it. The gist Of it however is that you need to get to the door to exit the level. But, you must first find a button that opens the door that’s always in a convoluted hard to reach place. I am a fan of the puzzles and the gameplay here but some can be annoyingly precise with almost pinpoint precision required to get it right and after a while of trying you may just want to givie up.
There’s not all the much to talk about here if I’m honest. The music only plays at certain times and in the menus, it’s just your standard battle music that actually reminds me of the Pokèmon music. Other than that There’s no voice acting so nothing to worry about there apart from the little anime squeals that Reika let’s out when you jump that are surprisingly uncomfortable to listen to.
Overall, Giga Wrecker Alt is not an amazing game but not a bad one either. With puzzles that can be equally satisfying as they can be annoying, there’s a very fine line to be walked that I think is just missed, but that could just be me. The story has a good base if not a little overdone and cheesy and the graphics are the standout for me as just being fantastic. I would recommend this game if you enjoy physics puzzlers.