I’ve never really been into wrestling. I don’t have anything against it—so please don’t misconstrue what I’m saying—but it’s just not something that I’ve ever been interested in sitting down and watching. But all of that changed when I was introduced to Kaiju, or, rather, its video game spinoff, Kaiju Big Battel: Fighto Fantasy.
Kaiju Big Battel is a half-wrestling-half-performance-piece hybrid centering around a group of heroic (and ironic in at least one form or another) kaiju, whose ultimate goal is to stop the nefarious, plastic-surgeon-turned-supervillain Dr. Cube. Being incredibly new to this wonderful spectacle, I won’t pretend that I’m anywhere close to being all-knowing about the subject, but the little that I do know about it I absolutely love. It’s hilarious, surprisingly witty, and never takes itself too seriously—and I’m incredibly happy to see that all of that was successfully transplanted into Fighto Fantasy itself.
Just Another Day in the Ring
Kaiju Big Battel: Fighto Fantasy begins in the same way that I would assume that any normal wrestling match would; with a patriotic kaiju (American Beetle) facing off against an evil plastic surgeon (Dr. Cube). Unfortunately, things don’t stay normal for long—just when American Beetle looks like he’s going to win, Dr. Cube throws a chair at him (which I think is illegal in wrestling) and then uses a gigantic slug to send himself, American Beetle, and nearly every other do-gooder kaiju into various points in time and space (which also might be illegal in wrestling). Waking up in an alternate, and very purple, dimension, American Beetle finds himself very much lost. But you can bet that that won’t deter him from trying to put an end to Cube’s latest evil scheme (with the help from his pals, of course).
Fighto Fantasy‘s plot is dumb. I don’t even know how else to describe it. But it’s dumb in the best possible way. I’ll admit that I’m fairly picky when it comes to writing stories that are intentionally set up to be goofy or borderline nonsensical, but Fighto Fantasy absolutely surpasses my expectations. Everything—from the overarching story to the little conversations with NPC—has been crafted with an incredible amount of care, and it shows. While I won’t get too deep into specifics, because I think this kind of thing ought to be experienced personally, I will say that, from start to finish, Fighto Fantasy‘s exceptionally clever script will never fail to keep you entertained.
Given the source material of Kaiju Big Battel, you might think that Fighto Fantasy would end up being some kind of fighting game. And that’s a good guess! But it’s entirely wrong. No, there’s no fighting game to be found here. Rather, in true Kaiju Big Battel fashion (that is to say, very weird), Fighto Fantasy is a turn-based RPG—and an incredibly retro one at that! Putting aside its consistently high level of zaniness for just a moment, the easiest comparison that I could make for this game would be to the original Final Fantasy (maybe that’s why their names are so similar). Sure, there are some major liberties taken, it looks nicer, and it’s a heck of a lot smoother, but it’s still an apt comparison. The entire point of the game is to go through various time periods—fighting monsters along the way—possibly stop by a town to pick up some gear, make your way through a dungeon, fight the boss waiting for you at the end, rinse, and repeat.
As far as retro-inspired RPGs go, Fighto Fantasy is incredibly competent. Each of the game’s worlds (i.e., time periods and/or alternate dimensions) may be rather small in size, but they’re all incredibly diverse and do a great job at staving off the kind of repetitiveness that these games are wont to accrue. Additionally, the game does a great job of including more up-to-date gameplay elements—like sidequests and a hub world—without sacrificing the old-school feel that it’s going for.
Pump Those Numbers Up!
Kaiju Big Battel: Final Fighto‘s overworld exploration isn’t the only retro part of this game—you can bet your sweet bippy that things carry over into combat as well! Once again, the easiest comparison that I can make is to the early Final Fantasy titles. I mean, just look at the physical setup in the picture above. How can that not be based on a Final Fantasy game?
Of course, the similarities between Final Fighto and Final Fantasy go further than just the on-screen placement of the characters. Combat itself is turn-based, with players choosing an action for each character beforehand and then watching everything play out (with faster characters acting first). Even the playable characters themselves are Final Fantasy-esque… mechanically speaking, anyway. While there aren’t exactly “classes” or “jobs,” every character boasts a highly specified skillset and stat layout, meaning that figuring out proper party composition is a very easy task (once you have more than four party members, anyway). And, as for the battles themselves? Well, there really isn’t much to say. They’re your standard fare turn-based, JRPG battles. So long as you don’t shirk on the random battles and at least have some general RPG knowledge, you really shouldn’t have much difficulty at all.
What a Knockout!
Kaiju Big Battel Fighto Fantasy sure is something. While pre-existing Kaiju Big Battel fans will most likely have no issue picking this gem up, it’s such a high-quality game that I genuinely recommend it to anyone who considers themselves an RPG fan. Sure, it might rub you the wrong way if you’re particular about games being “serious” and whatnot, but everyone else who isn’t a stick-in-the-mud will probably end up loving it as much as I did—which is, to say, a lot.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Available on: PC (Reviewed), Mobile; Publisher: Super Walrus Games; Developer: Super Walrus Games; Players: 1; Released: October 31, 2018; ESRB: N/A; MSRP: $9.99
Full disclosure: This review is based on a copy of Kaiju Big Battel: Fighto Fantasy given to Hey Poor Player by the publisher.