Feature Article

Pokemon Developer's Metroidvania-Inspired Game, Giga Wrecker, Is Coming To Consoles

It's getting a physical copy release as well.

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Game Freak is best known for its work on Nintendo's Pokemon franchise--which continues in Gen 8 with Pokemon Sword / Shield for Switch--but the studio has made several other games as well, such as the Metroidvania-inspired Giga Wrecker. An expanded version of the game, titled Giga Wrecker Alt, is scheduled to release later this year, and it's also launching on Xbox One, PS4, and Switch.

Giga Wrecker is a 2D action adventure platformer that first released on PC in 2017. You control Reika Rekkeiji, a teenage girl who struggles to survive on a future Earth, one that's been nearly destroyed by powerful robots. Reika becomes humanity's only hope after she's grafted with cybernetic parts that allow her to reshape debris into different forms, including weapons and tools. As Reika, you must journey across a devastated world in search of the robots' leaders--that take the form of various bosses--in order to defeat them and grow stronger. As Reika learns new attacks, she'll acquire additional means of navigating the world as well, which allows her to traverse to previously unreachable areas.

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The expanded version of the game, Giga Wrecker Alt, adds new puzzle stages for you to complete in the game's campaign. Alt also implements features that allow you to change the type of experience you can have. For example, for players who want a harder combat experience, you can turn on Giga Wrecker Alt's new Ironman mode. "Simply put, the enemies are much stronger and...players will be able to enjoy the challenge of a really tough fight against the bosses," Game Freak lead game designer Hiroto Ito and director Masayuki Onoue said in a joint statement to GameSpot. "That being said, in terms of the puzzles, we've ensured that the balance of thinking about the solution and solving them and playing the game is maintained."

If you want to remove the challenge of the game's puzzles entirely and focus on just combat, Alt offers a new companion character that will help you get through the brain twisters and back to the action. "This companion character will aid you by providing hints on some of the puzzles stages but it's optional so you could simply play the game with no hints whatsoever," Ito and Onoue said. "In terms of the story, this character is an escapee from the robot army that Reika is fighting against. In fact, there's a deep connection between this character and with Reika, but you'll have to play the game to find out more."

Conversely, for those who want more puzzles, Giga Wrecker Alt features new content in that regard as well. "In the Steam version we had about 100 stages and quite a lot of players tended to clear them in about 10 hours," Ito and Onoue said. "We've added 20 puzzle stages which would make it about one to two hours on top of that so I think the total play time would be something in the region of 11-12 hours. In these extra stages, there are hidden sub-events that allow the player to discover the story in more depth. If all the sub-events are seen, the story towards the end changes, allowing the player to see a different ending."

Giga Wrecker was first conceived as a part of Game Freak's Gear Project, an in-house initiative that allows individual developers to pitch their game ideas to executives. When accepted, these games are typically worked on in-between Pokemon releases. In Giga Wrecker's case, Ito and Onoue pointed to "the mechanics of using the physics engine to destroy things and incorporating that with playing with the various topography" as the deciding factor for following through on its pitch. After the pitch was accepted, the game took about a year to complete, releasing between Pokemon Sun/Moon and Pokemon Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon.

According to Giga Wrecker Alt's publisher Rising Star Games, the game will release digitally on Xbox One, PS4, and Switch all on the same day, with further details announced "in the coming weeks." Giga Wrecker Alt will also release physically on Switch and PS4 via a partnership with Limited Run Games. Game Freak has no sequels for Giga Wrecker planned "at the moment" but the studio will monitor the reactions to Alt and "consider that possibility for the future."

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