GIGA WRECKER ALT (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Drew Hurley 01.06.2019

Review for GIGA WRECKER ALT on Nintendo Switch

Game Freak has been around a long time, hitting their Pokémon Pearl anniversary this year as they reach 30 years in the industry. But it was in 1996 that they hit the big time when they created Pokémon. Since then, the majority of their games consisted of installments in that series, but from time to time they come out with entirely new IPs. Case in point, their collaboration with Rising Star games for 2017's Giga Wrecker. There's platforming, puzzling, and intense combat on the cards, in this 2D Metroidvania that sees a Japanese schoolgirl battle against a world of robotic invaders.

Reiko Rekkeiji lays injured in a post-apocalyptic land, surrounded by robotic killing machines, but it's okay. Another young lady appears to save the day - or so it seems. That girl tells Reiko that she may one day doom them all, and she's here to stop that. She's here to kill her. Luckily, she gets interrupted, and Reiko survives, though is mortally wounded and left to die in a scrap heap. It's all very Battle Angel Alita, as a doctor stumbles upon her body and hooks her up with some upgrades.

Using the technology of the enemy, the robots that have been slaughtering humanity, the doctor - Kuzuki - grafts Reiko a robotic arm that can take in parts of the enemies and the environment and use them in puzzles. At first, this basically means Reiko is able to smash up small robots, pick up the scrambled piece, and turn them into a decent sized rock to throw at larger enemies. Rinse and repeat as she jumps through distinct screens.

These screens are each separate areas in an absolutely gargantuan map, each with platforming and physics-based puzzles to overcome - smashing up parts of the scenery to craft platforms and paths to get over gaps or to make it to other sections. Not all puzzles can be completed the first time, and there are tools to assist in re-attempting them. On most puzzle sections, there's a glowing purple portal that can rewind time and reset the puzzle, giving for another chance. For sections that Reiko isn't equipped to deal with yet there are teleport beacons that can be used to fast travel and return to.

Screenshot for GIGA WRECKER ALT on Nintendo Switch

Becoming equipped for the various obstacles means upgrading the technology within Reiko, giving her the ability to transform the scrap she collects first into cubes of trash, which can be used as a stepping stone to reach greater heights, or as a key/weight to open doors. Later the pieces she collects can be transformed into more diverse tools to progress; into blades to slice through wires holding up parts of the environment; into spears that can be driven into the side of parts of the terrain, weighing them down, or to use as a path across chasms - drills can be fired off and slowly bore through anything in its path.

The modifications aren't the only changes to Reiko, she also gains a tachyon drive to manipulate time, and a little friendly robot to guide her in her quest named Dolma. This character is actually completely new here, introduced with this Alt version of the game in addition to some new areas and puzzles to overcome, along with a new hard mode. Dolma is counterpoint to the new hard mode, as it is actually a tool to make the game easier. Now, on some of the difficult puzzle areas, a little totem is placed, where Dolma's guidance can be requested. Dolma won't solve the puzzle, but will hint as to how to overcome it and show a screenshot of the completed puzzle. It's a very useful addition with some of the puzzles that can be particularly difficult.

Screenshot for GIGA WRECKER ALT on Nintendo Switch

The issue with the puzzles in Giga Wrecker Alt. isn't their difficulty however, it's with the random nature of the results, and worst of all, actually finding them. The world is split up into a few distinct zones, and each zone is split into numerous areas, each usually containing a single puzzle. Often, establishing where to go next is a pain. There's a map which places a marker on which zone to head to, but there's no way of establishing the route, requiring considerable backtracking and random wandering that gets tedious. Then there is the random nature thing.

The puzzles often require an element of the area to be destroyed. For example, there is a section where a laser has to be bounced to a receiver. Doing so requires smashing some parts of walls to get it to drop and form a series of obstacles to bounce the laser between. The way the environment breaks and falls, occasionally caused random failures completely without fault. Another frustrating element... and frustration is at the heart of the many puzzles.

Screenshot for GIGA WRECKER ALT on Nintendo Switch

Platforming is a big part of the game and there are some tricky jumps, combined with tight timing required. The controls aren't particularly responsive or accurate either, resulting in many unearned deaths. Something central to the game, something the game needed to be as good as it could be and it is really subpar. There are many deaths waiting here. Not as many as something like Sekiro or Super Meat Boy, but enough to build a decent amount of rage. There's no downside to dying though, other than losing a little time in restarting the current puzzle. Though, that's something required on most puzzles anyway. Using the tachyon portals to reset them when it becomes clear success isn't possible. There are no lives, lost experience or currency.

There is an experience system, and a skills tree tied to it. In smashing up the world, crystals are collected. 100 crystals give one skill point, and these points are used to buy perks like more health bars, health regeneration, a further-reaching throw, or more damage - standard upgrades. These are rarely used with puzzle-solving, and are instead required to make it through the combat. There's plenty of combat. A varied host of robotic enemies, each with repeated patterns and behaviors, highlighted by some enjoyable boss battles.

It should also be emphasized that there's a lot of inspiration from anime clearly throughout this. Not just in the artstyle and presentation, but also in the narrative itself. However, although this updated Alt version or Giga Wrecker looks a good deal better than the original release, but it still has its graphical issues. The pixelated style looks pretty basic, lackluster, and without charm.

Screenshot for GIGA WRECKER ALT on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Giga Wrecker Alt. is a bit of a mixed bag, and it's hard to see just who would get the most out of it. There are some great elements in here. Some really great ideas. The sad truth is, it's a pretty poor execution of so many promising elements. The flawed controls, combined with the major issues on establishing how and where to progress makes ultimately for a pretty frustrating experience. Not the good type of frustrating, where a roar and a smile inspires a confidence to overcome. The sort of frustration to lead to just wanting to dump the game.

Developer

Game Freak

Publisher

Rising Star Games

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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