When you think of premises that are designed for video games, the idea of giant creatures/kaijus seems perfect. Many video games that utilize kaijus are games have you play as the monster trying to destroy everything in your path. It is generally less common to play as the humans trying to stop the creature. It is even rarer to have a game utilizing this premise in a tactical strategy game. This brings me to Kaiju Wars which released today. The kaiju theme is what initially intrigued me about the game, but the tactical strategy element seemed interesting as well. Kaiju Wars is a really satisfying and fun tactical strategy game that has a surprising amount of depth.
In Kaiju Wars you play as the mayor of Floatio City. Your job as mayor is pretty typical until one day the world drastically changes. Giant kaiju creatures begin arriving destroying everything in their path. Their motives seem odd as they seem to have a purpose to their destruction. There even seems to be humans that are actively helping them. Can you uncover the truth behind the sudden rise of kaiju and stop it before the world is destroyed?
Probably the best way to describe Kaiju Wars is to call it a tactical strategy game. The game is divided into missions. The kaiju creatures are too strong to kill in a conventional way. Instead your top scientist has developed a serum to stop them, but they need time to finish it. Your job in each mission is to stall the monster(s) long enough for the serum to be created.
Basically your goal in each level is to acquire enough breakthroughs to complete the serum. Each turn you will earn science points from your labs as well as other sources. When you acquire enough science points you will unlock a breakthrough. You can also earn a breakthrough by reducing the kaiju’s health to zero. This won’t kill them, but it will earn you a breakthrough and will also take them off the board for a couple turns.
So how do you stall a monster that can easily defeat any building or military unit you put in front of it? Basically you have to chip away at it by throwing units into its path. Each board gives you access to a number of different military buildings which you can use to purchase units. You will gain money each turn from some of your buildings that still stand. Once you recruit a unit you can move it a number of spaces in the grid based on the terrain and the unit’s movement stat. If you move next to the creature you can attack it. If the creature moves over the space that a unit is on, it will deal damage equal to your unit’s counter value to the kaiju.
By dealing damage to the creature you will slow it down by reducing its movement stat. The kaiju’s movement is generally predictable. It will automatically move towards and destroy the building that it is closest to. The game outlines the path the creature will take and the odds that it will move to each space. If there are two buildings equally far away, it will randomly choose a path to travel. This is altered if your security level drops too far which will lead them to immediately head for your lead scientists location. When this happens you must move them to another laboratory as quickly as possible. Should your lead scientist ever die, you will fail the mission and have to restart it. When you complete all of the breakthroughs, you will win and get to move onto the next mission.
If this wasn’t enough, the kaijus will grow stronger during most of the missions. They will gain additional abilities which will help them fight off your units. Both you and the kaiju have access to a deck of cards as well. In most missions your deck is chosen for you, but you will sometimes have to pick the cards for your own deck. Your cards give you beneficial short or long term abilities, while the kaiju’s deck messes with you making it harder to defend against the creature.
In many ways Kaiju Wars plays like your typical turn based tactical strategy game. You basically control units on a grid trying to hold back a kaiju that is destroying everything in sight. Each turn you need to analyze where the creature will be moving next and try to place obstacles in its way. This can include using units to attack it, or just using units as roadblocks which will slow it down and damage it. You don’t have to defeat the creature, but just stall it long enough. Outside of some rare occasions you know what the creature is going to do on their next turn. Thus you need to figure out the best way to thwart that plan as much as possible.
This idea of stalling versus directly attacking the kaiju is interesting. It takes some time to get used to the fact that you don’t always want to go on the offensive. Defeating the kaiju gets you a breakthrough, but you are better off stalling it and forcing it to take longer to destroy key buildings. There are times in the game where you are better off placing units in the kaiju’s path instead of directly attacking it. Countering the monster is sometimes the best thing you can do in the game.
The game is really focused around the strategy. You can win some of the missions without really implementing a strategy, but most won’t turn out in your favor. All of the information you need to stall the creature is available to you, you just need to think of the best way to accomplish that task. You need to put thought into what you want to do each turn as your resources are limited and you can’t defend everything. You will have to sacrifice units and buildings in your effort to stall it.
It is kind of hard to explain exactly why, but the gameplay is really satisfying. It feels good when you come up with a plan that successfully stops the kaiju in time. Your strategy truly makes a difference in how successful you are. The game gives you quite a bit of leeway in what you can do. You need to figure out what will work best for the situation. Anyone who enjoys this type of turn based tactical strategy game will likely really enjoy Kaiju Wars.
The main gameplay of Kaiju Wars basically stays the same throughout the game. The game mostly avoids becoming repetitive though due to the level design. While the main objective remains the same, each level emphasizes different things. One mission may emphasize using certain units. Another might focus on cranking out research as quickly as possible. Some even feel like puzzles as you have to construct buildings in a way to extend the kaiju’s path to your scientist.
The level design is one of the game’s greatest assets in my opinion. The variety in how each mission plays is actually pretty impressive with the main gameplay never really changing. The gameplay could have gotten repetitive rather quickly, but it doesn’t. Some missions only have one real way of beating them, while others are considerably more open ended. The fact that there are so many different ways that the missions can be structured highlights how deep the gameplay truly is.
As for Kaiju Wars difficulty, it kind of depends. I would say that a majority of the missions are on the easier side if you just want to complete them without worrying about the bonus challenges. I think I have only failed twice in the entire game so far. As long as you don’t make a critical mistake, you generally will have enough time to complete the serum before the kaiju(s) defeats you. Each mission has a hard difficulty level though which is quite a bit more challenging. The optional objectives for the missions can be quite challenging as well as the time limits are usually pretty strict.
When it comes to the game’s length, I was honestly really surprised. On the Steam page the estimated length is 8+ hours for the story campaign. I haven’t completed the game so I can’t give you a definitive length, but I have already played the game considerably longer than that. I still have quite a bit of the game left to play as well. The game has six acts and each act has at least five or six missions with some having quite a few more. The mission length can differ based on what you need to accomplish, but I would guess most will take at least 20-30 minutes while others could take quite a bit longer.
That is not all there is to the game though. The game has a number of challenges to complete for each mission which gives you access to more upgrades. These give you a reason to replay missions to increase your global rank or give you more upgrades for future missions. The game also has a weekly challenge to complete. There is a local multiplayer mode/Steam RemotePlay where one player plays as the creatures and another as the army. The game even includes a level editor where you can share your levels with other players. If the game develops a community the number of levels could be almost endless. If you have any interest in the game’s premise, you will easily get your money’s worth out it.
I really enjoyed Kaiju Wars and think it is a great game. It is not quite perfect though as there are a few issues.
Probably the biggest issue with the game is just the fact that it is what it is. As I mentioned earlier the game does a great job adding twists to the missions to keep the gameplay fresh. Ultimately the main gameplay never really changes though. If you don’t enjoy the gameplay in the first couple of missions, I don’t see that changing the more you play it. If you aren’t really into tactical strategy games, I just don’t see the game being for you.
Next I wouldn’t really say this is a complaint, but I don’t know if the story and atmosphere are as good as the gameplay. The kaiju theme was one of the things that initially intrigued me about the game. The game utilizes it pretty well for the most part. The kaiju designs are good, and the game seems to have a real passion for the theme. It recreates the kaiju movie feeling rather well. The visuals are quite nice for this type of game as well.
The story is decent, but isn’t particularly special. Basically it is all about figuring out why the kaiju creatures suddenly started attacking. There is a conspiracy theory involved as someone seems to be helping them. The story is decent, but it feels like it is going to be kind of predictable. The humor is really hit and miss as well. The game can be pretty funny at times, and other times it is trying to be funny and it isn’t.
Next the game has some reliance on luck which doesn’t always fit well with the tactical strategy gameplay. A large portion of the gameplay is entirely predictable as you know exactly where the kaiju will move allowing you to plan ahead. Occasionally you will get a situation where two buildings are the same distance apart so the creature chooses one of them at random. This can change its future path. This could give you considerably more time, or could send a kaiju directly towards your scientist. On top of this the order in which you and the kaiju draw cards appears to be random. This adds variety to the game. The cards you have available to you at critical points in the game can make a big difference in how well you do.
The final complaint that I had with the game was a number of more minor bugs. I will note that I played a pre-release version of the game so most of these issues may have already been fixed. There are a number of graphical bugs from time to time. For example the characters that talk to you before missions were for some reason placed mostly off the screen. The game locked up a couple times while playing as well. None of these were significant issues though, and if they haven’t already been fixed I would guess they will be fixed soon.
I was curious to see how Kaiju Wars would play after I first saw it. I had pretty high expectations, and yet the game somehow surpassed them. The game is not quite perfect, but it is a very good tactical strategy game. Instead of trying to defeat the kaijus you need to use your units and strategy to stall them long enough to complete the serum. This creates a really interesting gameplay experience. Your strategy really matters and you feel a sense of accomplishment when it comes together. The level design is rather good as well. The game has a few minor bugs, the story isn’t the greatest, and there is some reliance on luck. Kaiju Wars is a great game though that I had a lot of fun playing.
My recommendation for Kaiju Wars comes down to your thoughts on kaiju and tactical strategy games in general. If you don’t like the kaiju theme or tactical strategy games, it may not be for you. If you are even a little interested by the premise, I think you will really enjoy Kaiju Wars and should seriously consider picking it up.
Release Date: April 28th, 2022 | Systems: Linux, Mac, PC
Developer: Foolish Mortals Games, Michael Long | Publisher: Foolish Mortals Games | ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Genres: Indie, Strategy, Tactical, Turn Based
Official Website: http://www.foolish-mortals.net/kaijuwars
- A really interesting and fun take on your typical tactical strategy game.
- Has a surprising amount of content to keep you entertained for a long time.
- The main gameplay doesn’t change much which may turn off people that don’t really care for tactical strategy games.
- Has some minor bugs at this time.
Recommendation: For anyone who enjoys tactical strategy games that has even the slightest interest in the kaiju premise.
Where to Purchase: Steam
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Foolish Mortals Games and Michael Long for the review copy of Kaiju Wars 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.