Steam's "Next Fest" Becomes Larger Than Life
Beginning on February 21st, Steam has celebrated up-and-coming indie titles all week through an event called "Next Fest." During this event, players can go hands-on with various demos across different genres. With hundreds of titles receiving demos and with the growing advent of PC gaming, we decided to take a look at one of the games. One of which caught our eye was an ambitious, colorful, and action-packed "arena fighter" known as GigaBash. Based in Malaysia, Passion Republic Games is a small indie dev studio that has a "decade's worth of experience in outsourcing AAA developers," according to their About page.
Their inspiration for developing GigaBash stemmed from their love for kaiju cinema. Outside of oversized monsters, much like Bowser's Fury, kaiju extends towards the supernatural. It may be fun being a giant turtle, but how about a giant sentient robot that destroys entire cities. Japanese shows like Ultraman which features 60-foot tall robots that tend to destroy city blocks are famous for this. Rather than "doing more harm than good," like in this iconic shot below, why just do harm and fight against other "kaiju archetypes" for total dominance? This is what Gigabash seeks to attain with its exclusive Steam demo in relation to "Next Fest."
GigaBash Is Surprisingly In-Depth
While playing, I couldn't help but feel nostalgic from its gameplay as it reminded me of several key fighters of my childhood. GigaBash is an isometric 3D arena brawler, which is a rare genre in itself. Games like Smash and Brawhalla come to mind when it comes to "arena-style" brawlers from a 2D perspective. Over the years the term has been synonymous with 3D anime fighters such as the Demon Slayer fighting game. Instead, GigaBash reminded me of two different titles that I grew up with, Power Stone and War of the Monsters.
The former, a Sega Dreamcast classic, was a fighter similar to GigaBash in many ways. Various characters with simple controls and unique abilities. GigaBash takes the "transformation" gameplay popularized in Power Stone and provides its own spin on the mechanic. War of the Monsters was a PlayStation 2 exclusive brawler that took pride in its 4-player combat, city destruction, and creative kaiju cast. There are also elements of Smash, of course, with the "Smash Ball" making its appearance. Players can unleash their ultimate ability this way as well.
The Interactive Venues Aren't Overbearing
GigaBash has various locales for players to fight, ranging from metropolises, coastal cities, islands, and even an army base. Each venue has its gimmicks, with some having dense buildings for enemies to bounce around like pinballs. Other places are more spacious, allowing for enemies to run and recover. The roster is just as diverse, ranging from various kaiju archetypes.
This also includes an "Ultraman" archetype for those wondering, so players can destroy cities and not "protect a damn thing" after all. Indeed, over time, once-bustling cities are turned into smoldering craters and it's impressive to see in real-time. Aside from that, there's a giant robot, a yeti, and some hideous monster thing with large arms. The latter is who the player will use when they start up the tutorial which goes in-depth on how to play GigaBash.
Other elements that exist in fighting games including juggles, combos, and blocking, all exist in this game. The more the player attacks, the more a pink gauge will fill underneath their health bar. Should it fill completely, they will transform, rendering them immune to regular enemy attacks. They can only be dealt damage by other transformed monsters, making the fights "larger than life."
Unfortunately There Isn't Much Single Player Content Currently
This feels like beating a dead horse as this is a demo, so naturally, not everything will be accessible to the player immediately. A Story Mode will be present in the full release among other modes, but all that's available is a local co-op and an online mode. The problem here is that should players not find matches, they will be in a predicament. In my case, I was paired up with the same person repeatedly and they would leave before the match begins.
In this instance, the player will immediately match with AI bots which is something I'd rather do via the local mode instead. Thankfully, the player can try out the various unique characters versus the AI. There's nothing chaotic like setting the AI to maximum difficulty and watching the carnage as you become a part of it.
From a demo perspective, GigaBash is a fun brawler and it's up there with Windjammers 2 as a potential candidate for the next Mystery Tournament at an FGC event. It's the kind of game to pull out after a long hard day of pressing buttons and all you want to do is goof off in your hotel room with friends. I miss offline tournaments.
The GigaBash demo is currently available on Steam