Gigantic Army Switch Review by SwitchWatch

Developer: Storybird

Publisher: Storybird

Release Date: Out now

Price as of Article: $9.99 USD, £8.99 GBP

Game code provided by Storybird

Story

It’s the 21st century; Earth is at war with a vile alien race called the Ramulons. The alien’s primary objective is to stop humanity from reaching the stars by any means necessary!

Gameplay

Gigantic Army is a homage to the great 16-bit era of gaming, with mech shooters like the fantastic Cybernator and Metal Warriors on the Super Nintendo; or even more obscure games, like Target Earth on the Genesis. These were intense shooters where you control huge mechs with a single goal in mind: the destruction of anything and everything!

Gigantic Army is no exception. It calls back to days of good old fashion shooting! You play as a huge mech with an arsenal to match.

When you begin the game, you are aware there isn’t a lot going on in the main menu:  story mode, practice, and option are the only available modes with no other extras in sight – this is indeed an old school shooter.

When you begin the main mode, you get to pick from 3 weapons and 3 special secondary weapons. You only choose one main weapon and one special secondary weapon to take into combat with you, though.

The Weapons!

Here is a rundown of the weaponry available:

Gattling gun – an excellent weapon for quick suppress fire on your enemies

Shotgun – great spread fire, can hit multiple enemies

Rocket launcher – fires a single explosive shell that has an area of effect (definitely my favourite main of the bunch)

The secondary weapons are:

Barrage rocket – can pepper your enemies with ground rockets

Homing missiles – can lock onto multiple enemies and fire on them

Mega laser – fires a massive beam of energy straight ahead, can be angled diagonally

These weapons can be upgraded during gameplay by collecting power-P-ups that are found in large crates scattered around a level.  But there is a caveat: if you get hit after you power-up, you will lose that upgrade, reducing your fire-power back to its original level.

With all this talk of firepower, how are you supposed to defend yourself, you ask? Well, you can use your attached shield, of course, which protects you from most incoming fire. It’s not indestructible, though, but it can help you out in a pinch.

Your health, shield integrity, and boost gauges are located at the bottom-left side of the screen. Keeping an eye on these is vital for your survival.

Destroy Them All!

One thing that is enjoyable about Gigantic Army is that it’s very satisfying to destroy enemies as they explode into massive chucks. What’s even more satisfying is destroying the massive in-game bosses that tower over you.

One of my highlights was fighting on a fleet of ships, only for hundreds of alien death rays to appear and blast all the ships out of the sky. The ship you’re currently standing on suffers the same fate! It felt exhilarating as you plummeted to a ship below and to continue the fight.

There are a few times that this happens and you won’t just be fighting other robots; you’ll also encounter huge gigamechs and large alien plant life to name a few.

There are 6 stages in the game, and while that’s not a huge number to sink your teeth into, they are pretty long and have multiple mini-bosses and large end-level bosses to deal with, all against the clock.

So far, I’ve managed to complete the game on easy but only managed to get to level 4 in normal difficulty as it is quite challenging. I believe there are unlockable difficulty settings too.

The game is definitely challenging, as not only will you go against the clock, but also with the sheer amount of bullets flying around – you need to be on your guard at all times.

Mayday, Mayday!

Let’s get some issues out of the way now so we can focus on the positives. One thing that’s apparent is that there’s not much content on offer in Gigantic Army.

In the main menu, there are easy and normal difficulties and practice mode. Practice Mode lets you try out levels you’ve played in and at what power level you wish to have – that’s it.

I mean, Neo-Geo games on Switch have more extras to change and tailor your experience. So, I was shocked to see that Gigantic Army does not have even the most basic options to increase how many continues you may have in a game. It’s just not available.

In story mode, you get 3 continues, and once they’re gone, it’s game over.

I feel like this game is aimed at people who enjoyed a tougher challenge, just like games from the 16-bit era and that’s fine with me. But I feel that they should have added a few more extras to tailor the experience for younger gamers who may get frustrated.

All About the Mechs!

Who doesn’t want to pilot a mech into combat, and after playing the fantastic DAEMON X MACHINA demo. I can’t get enough of mech games right now!

Controls are OK, but I find aiming a little imprecise.

To move your mech, you can use the left analogue stick, and you can shoot with the Y button. You can jump with the B button and hold it to hover for a short time. You can also dash with the ZL trigger, just like in Cybernator, and you can use your special weapon with the X button. You can also guard with your shield by pressing the A button.

You can control your arm independently with the right analogue stick or with the left analogue stick. And if you’re not happy with shooting with the Y button, you can also use the ZR trigger.

However, I found the left stick to be better for movement and aiming than the right stick, as your arm movement is somewhat imprecise and slow. It’s a shame as the core mechanics work but the arm movement is painfully slow, and most of the time imprecise which can lead to taking damage.

I understand it’s supposed to be a mech and slow movement would be something that would be a part of controlling the massive robot. I feel as if the controls should have tightened, so things weren’t so clunky.

I watched Pacific Rim Uprising the other day and if those robots had moved and fired as slowly as Gigantic Army’s mech does… I don’t think we would have won the war!

Learning Curve!

Ok, so I’ve been a little negative here, but I still really like Gigantic Army even with its shortcomings.

The game is quite replayable and fun just to pick up and blow stuff up! Plus, you can practice levels if you’re struggling on one certain level (remember, you have to complete the level before it becomes available in practice mode) which may help you to advance.

What more can I say about Gigantic Army? If you love good mech games, like blowing stuff up, then its shortcomings won’t be a huge deal breaker for you. I’m a huge fan of shooters, and I’ve only recently just bought a few myself.

Just wish this had been a homage not only to the past but also a homage to shooters of the present. I would have loved to see new ways of improving on past mechanics, and maybe more swift controls with a little more precision.

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Audio

Audio packs a punch, as well as the sound effects, for the explosions. It has a quite old school feel to it, which I really like.

Visuals & Performance

Visuals of Gigantic Army are detailed and look the part. The explosions look impressive and I love the massive boss designs – they tower over you and make you feel insignificant. Also, I really like the backgrounds which are animated and show a huge scale war happening around you.

The performance was great. I didn’t see any drops in framerate. Everything ran as smoothly as expected.

Switch icon is decent. It depicts are mech standing in front and centre with the words Gigantic Army displayed above.

The game supports screenshots and video capture.

Value

The game costs £8.99, which isn’t bad value if you love shooters that hark back to the games of old. But there’s very little here to get excited about. There are a few unlockable difficulty settings, and there’s the practice mode. It’s a good shooter, but there’s not much in the way for long term appeal unless you’re a die-hard fan of the genre.

Pros

P

Control a mech

P

Practice mode

P

Massive boss encounters

P

Blowing stuff up is satisfying

Cons

P

Time limit

P

Slow and imprecise aiming

P

No extras options