Developed by Game Freak Inc – Published By Rising Star Games – Available on Nintendo Switch on 3rd May 19, Xbox One on 2nd May 19 & PS4 (version tested) pn 30th April 19
Giga Wrecker Alt is a platformer from renowned Pokemon developer Game Freak Inc, where you play as an escaped prisoner on the run from robot overlords who have taken over the world. The game immediately comes across as a one heavily influenced by Mega Man, even down to working with a scientist who has given the main character a bionic arm. As you progress through the game, the arm adapts, learns new skills and gives you new abilities. This is as well as tough boss fights, too. Those come with a lot of trial and error, so you need to be patient as you learn the bosses attack patterns and finally overcome them. The levels are set out in the style of Metroid, meaning that while it’s pretty open, there’s certain areas you won’t be able to explore or complete until you’ve done something elsewhere, or unlocked a certain ability. As well as the platforming side of things, there is another element to the game which makes it stand out from the likes of Mega Man. There’s a puzzle element which has you destroying parts of the level to either manipulate platforms, or just use the wreckage to attack enemies, create platforms or destroy things that would otherwise be out of reach.
The puzzle side is one of the trickier elements of the game, and aside from the boss fights, have been one of the biggest stumbling blocks for progression. The way it usually works is that there’ll be structures, walls or platforms that are made out of a particular substance your bionic arm can manipulate. This means you can move, destroy or shape the material to use as aids in each level. Naturally things start off relatively simple, usually just requiring you to destroy it, as it’s blocking the way or you need the rubble to collect and use as a weapon. This soon gets more and more difficult, as you have cut out so much, use certain elements of the level or even the enemies to help you find away up to the next platform. Failure is usually met with some sort of hazard, be it the classic floor spikes, or even just not being able to progress. But there are reset points, so if you hack away too much or accidentally destroy everything on screen because you’re too impatient and heavy handed, these switches give you another go at it. However, they don’t just reset the building blocks, they also bring back any baddies you’ve killed too, meaning that if they’re a nuisance, you have to take care of them again. And again and again if you keep getting it wrong. Which will happen on occasions. Although there are usually hints which your little robot buddy can tell you, they aren’t always completely explanatory and still require you to figure some of it out yourself. There’s nothing quite like figuring out a particularly fiendish problem and finally being able to crack on with the next area.
The games visuals are fairly decent for the most part, although you can tell it’s done on a budget, as the characters and monsters all seem superimposed. But that doesn’t detract from the gameplay experience and the characters themselves have a really nice hand drawn look about them. The music is great too, and for the most part is pretty chilled out, which seems at odds with this type of game, as normally with platformers, the music usually gives a sense of urgency. It picks up the pace with boss fights, but the main level areas a pretty laid back. Overall it’s a decent platformer that looks nice and has a great soundtrack, and the puzzle elements give it more of a unique edge over a lot of similar games these days. However, the difficulty does spike not long into the game and for some this could sour the experience somewhat.