We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Mechabit Ltd for the review copy of Kaiju Panic used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.
What do you get when you combine cuddly kaiju creatures with a tower defense? You get the game Kaiju Defense which was released on Steam last week. Huge meteorites have hit Earth. Everything seems alright until giant Kaiju monster start invading cities all over the world. You must build towers to save civilians and destroy the kaiju that are taking over the globe. With a great art style and some interesting new mechanics for the tower defense genre, Kaiju Panic is a good tower defense game.
A Traditional Tower Defense….
While Kaiju Panic has some unique mechanics (which I will get to later), the heart and soul of the game is a tower defense. The basics involve gathering resources which are used to build different towers. Some of the towers include your basic towers, machine gun towers, acid/shield-breaking towers, laser towers, and even anti-air towers. You use the towers to fight the Kaiju forces. The goal in each level is to kill all of the enemy forces before they destroy the headquarters of each city.
When an enemy is killed they might end up dropping research points which can be used to purchase upgrades from your lab. These upgrades include increased stats for your towers, new towers or special abilities for your character.
The main tower defense mechanics work pretty well. Based on the game’s control setup you can tell that the game was designed with a controller in mind. The controls were designed in a way where everything could be easily accessed for players choosing to play the game with a controller. All towers are accessed through menus that can be easily accessed with the analog sticks on a controller and the game focuses on your character which limits where you can build to the area around your character. You don’t have to play the game with a controller though since the game works perfectly fine with a keyboard and mouse.
With Some New Twists
While the game plays like most tower defenses, Kaiju Panic does some interesting things that makes the game different from the typical tower defense game.
Let’s begin with the resource gathering. In most tower defense games you get money for each enemy you kill. I am guessing most tower defenses do it this way since it lets players focus on building towers rather than making money. Kaiju Panic takes the idea of resource gathering from the RTS genre. Scattered throughout the map are some purple crystal deposits. In order to gather the shards that you use to buy towers you must build an extractor next to the purple crystal deposits. This extracts the crystal which you then have to pick up off the ground. While this mechanic adds some complexity to the game, I liked it. It helps make the game unique and adds some strategy to the game.
The other big mechanic added to the game are the civilians. In addition to saving the city, you are tasked with finding all of the civilians in a city and rescuing them. It is really easy to rescue all of the civilians since all it takes is a little time at the beginning of the mission to search the map until you find all of them. Once you rescue a civilian you can use that civilian to help you defend against the Kaijus attacking the city. Civilians can help you in a couple different ways. They can man towers which increases range, damage and other statistics for the tower that they are placed in. If you have civilians following you they can fix buildings or help build a tower quicker. While at first it may seem like a gimmick, how you use your civilians can have a big impact on your success in a level. The bonus they give to towers or building speed can really help.
Cute But Dangerous
Well I could go on an on about how cute the kaiju are in the game but I will let this gif do the talking.
I have to give the game a lot of credit for the graphic/visual style of the game. The game is kind of cutesy but it’s hard not to love it at the same time. The visual style is one of the best features of the game.
Don’t let the visuals fool you though. Despite the visuals making the game seem like it is kind of easy, Kaiju Panic isn’t easy. Kaiju Panic is a moderate to hard tower defense game. When you get to the later levels you will fail your first attempt on most of the levels. Trying to 100% the levels is even harder. Eventually I got to the point that I decided that it wasn’t worth trying to save the whole city. I started to just focus on the main headquarters where all of the monsters head towards which has to survive for you to beat the level.
The game is harder than you would expect for a couple reasons.
The main reason the game is kind of hard is that a lot of the levels require a trial and error approach. Since you get very little information about what enemies attack when and where, you pretty much have to play a trial run just to see what you are going to end up facing. This is particularly true in the boss/mini-boss levels since the only way to defeat them is to have a majority of your towers on that path or you will stand no chance at defeating the creature.
The other main issue with the enemies is that they don’t really take any specified path towards the main building in the city. In a lot of tower defense games, enemies follow a specific path which makes planning a lot easier. In Kaiju Defense enemies always enter from the same points but don’t really follow a designated path. This makes it hard to plan where you should place your towers. This is one of the main reasons for the trial and error approach.
Since the kaiju take somewhat random paths it is hard to place your towers in areas where they won’t be attacked. Combine this with the fact that enemies can quickly destroy your towers and you will likely lose a lot of towers to enemy units. While you can set up mines and barriers that slow them down, they seem like kind of a waste of money since the barriers can be destroyed quickly and the mines usually only take out one enemy.
Bang For Your Buck
I have been playing Kaiju Panic for around 3-4 hours and I would estimate that I am around a third to half way through the game. I am guessing that you should get at least ten hours out of the game. If you want to perfect every level it could take considerably longer since some levels will be very hard to 100% complete.
The price of the game kind of surprised me though. Most tower defense games are $5-$10. Kaiju Panic retails for $20. For ten plus hours of gameplay $20 is not too bad but the game is more expensive than you would expect. Due to the higher price tag I would probably wait for a sale on the game if you don’t love tower defense games.
Overall I would consider Kaiju Panic to be a good tower defense game. The game adds some interesting mechanics to the genre with the addition of collecting your own resources and the civilians that you rescue that help you in defense against the kaijus. The artwork is really cute and really well done. You should be able to get at least ten hours out of the game.
Most of my concerns with the game comes from the fact that you need to do a lot of trial and error with the game. To complete some of the levels you need to play a level just to figure out what you will have to do to be successful in future attempts at the level.
If you hate tower defenses you most likely won’t like Kaiju Panic. Due to the price I probably wouldn’t recommend the game to casual fans of tower defenses at full retail but I would consider it during a sale. If you really like tower defenses and really like the theme, I think you should enjoy the game.