GigaBash Review: Happy Together
I love a game that knows what it is and who it’s for. GigaBash is a game almost everyone can jump into and be having fun with after only a few minutes, but it isn’t a game I can recommend strongly to all players. That’s okay. GigaBash truly excels in one very specific circumstance and it knows it. Twenty years ago, that would have been a selling point, but today local multiplayer isn’t a major part of most players’ gaming experience. For those who do still get together on the couch with some friends, do I have a game for you.
To be clear, GigaBash is a ton of fun, no matter how you play it. A party fighter at heart, it brings together elements of games like Power Stone, War of the Monsters, and Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee. You select from one of ten kaiju, including three unlockable ones, and go to town with up to four players. With an overhead view, things are a bit more zoomed out than you might expect, but this lets you get a real view of the game’s generous assortment of levels and when these guys power up, it really drives home the sense of size and power behind these characters.
Speaking of the characters, the game’s ten fighters provide a nice variety of styles. Gorogong is clearly inspired by King Kong despite not being an ape, and he’s a natural when it comes to fighting up close and personal. Or you can play Pipijura who has much better ranged attacks and feels a bit like a home grown Godzilla. I loved playing as Wooley, a Yeti who can roll enemies up into a snowball and has some Kirby in his play style. There are plenty of other options. A giant mech, an Ultraman style hero, a giant plant monster, even a living building, the developers here obviously love their kaiju movies and they’re brought a wide variety of what players will want to their game.
Controls are super easy to get used to. Each character has only two attack buttons, a normal attack and a special one. You can also jump and grab, as well as block. There are variations on their two attacks and alternatives when jumping, grabbing, or blocking, but the game’s brief tutorial if anything overexplains things. Players who pick up GigaBash will feel right at home in no time. The ten characters aren’t perfectly balanced, with some moves feeling a bit overpowered or underpowered, but for me that doesn’t matter all that much in a more casual game like this. GigaBash isn’t trying to headline a future EVO, it’s just fun and sometimes big, overpowered moves can be fun.
As you bash on your opponents, you’ll also build up an energy meter. Fill your meter and your giant creature can grow even larger, into a mega version of themself. This also allows you to unleash a final special move which can be devastating. Levels here are fully destructible and interactive. You can simply grab buildings out of the ground and toss them at your foes. There are also interesting environmental effects in some levels, which give them their own unique flavor.
Not For Solo Players
If you have friends to play with, you could play this for hours. Solo players, though, will perhaps struggle to get as much value out of GigaBash though. There is a campaign here, which is more fun than I perhaps expected. It comes up with interesting scenarios to put your characters in, including some which have you facing armies and environmental challenges that aren’t just an excuse to have a regular vs match against the computer. There are plenty of those too, but even those often have various scenarios such as two vs. one fights. The cutscenes between battles are genuinely funny and give the characters a lot of personality.
The campaign won’t last you long, though. Only four of the game’s ten characters are included, and with only five levels each you can complete this in an hour or so. You can try going through on different difficulties, but anything above the normal difficulty mainly just has the AI hit you with cheap shots and even on lower difficulties I found the AI very inconsistent. I’d fight one match against an opponent that would just wreck me, only to have that followed by an opponent who mostly just stood still waiting to die.
Online play worked well in my testing, but it’s unlikely to be GigaBash’s savior for friendless players. When I got into a match I noticed no real slowdown or any issues with performance, matches were fun and felt great. The issue was finding matches. Playing over the weekend, only a week after the game’s release, it wasn’t impossible to find an opponent, but it often took several minutes to do so. I want to be clear that I’m talking about one single opponent too. GigaBash’s online modes don’t give you an option to wait for four players to be found before starting. If it can’t quickly fill a game, the remaining two spots are filled by the computer, and a match starts. I wasn’t able to play a single online match with more than one other person, and I doubt you will either unless you’re playing with friends.
I had an absolute blast with GigaBash. Despite this, solo players need not apply. There just isn’t enough content here to justify the investment. Still, that’s not who GigaBash was made for and for the target audience, Passion Republic Games have delivered. If you regularly have friends to play with, there are few games released this year I would say are more worthy of your time and money.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Available on: PS5 (Reviewed), PS4, PC; Publisher: Passion Republic Games; Developer: Passion Republic Games; Players: 4; Released: August 5th, 2022; ESRB: T for Teen; MSRP: $34.99
Full disclosure: This review is based on a copy of GigaBash provided by the publisher.