Kaiju Wars is the 2D turn-based strategy game I never knew I needed, it combines immediately accessible yet surprisingly deep turn-based tactical gameplay with a fun lighthearted b-movie storyline then renders all of it in high quality pixel art and slaps a deliciously cheesy synth soundtrack on top, if all that didn’t sell you I’m not really sure what will but for all you weirdos still on the fence allow me to unpack Kaiju War and I hope you’ll have a better idea of whether this game is right for you.
Quirky wholesome and genuinely funny, Kaiju Wars absurd plot, characters and dialogue left me uniformly impressed perhaps because I admittedly expected so very little in the way of narrative value from such a silly premise, the storyline follows your mayoral administration and its cabinet of hapless yet lovable kaiju hunting clichés, from the uptight science obsessed Dr Wagner to your right hand military man Major Danger, an overly macho machine gun toting simpleton, together and along with a handful of other memorable supporting characters you’ll battle kaijus and more lethally, bureaucracy across the globe from America to Antarctica a mildly interesting alien infused conspiracy runs through this cheeky narrative and the game’s relentlessly self-aware dialogue makes the story of the game more enjoyable than it has any right to be.
Kaiju Wars is fairly refined as turn-based grid combat goes essentially your administration faces between one and five near indestructible kaiju each level that spawn and move semi-randomly across the map Dr Wagner and her squad of scientists predict RNG paths of said kaiju on their way to destroying whatever building is closest each of which carries a different function most important here are labs which turn out science points necessary to creating kaiju repellent serum because you can’t stop these beasts. Allow the kaiju to destroy too many security buildings and the monsters will plot a direct course to Dr Wagner’s location and her death means game over, without her housed safely in a lab your administration will produce neither money nor science. Luckily labs aren’t your only path to victory here as the foundations in each level can also be turned into army or air force bases, pump kaiju full of enough lead and they’ll lose health bars each of which grant the big bad guys an additional move space per turn, thus your role as mayor is to distract and to deter kaijus long enough for your labs to pump out the science points necessary for victory.
As if all this wasn’t enough Kaiju Wars also allows both humans and kaiju to draw a special card per turn, you may gain extra science points, money for troops or the ability to build a free base while the kaijus may replenish health or even gain a new power some of which can prove quite devastating to your puny human ambitions so as you might imagine there’s a considerable degree of depth to each level all of which contain unique map arrangements and objectives, for example some missions find you without access to military units, you’ll instead have to build productionless decoy buildings to lure kaiju away from labs long enough for your nerds to pump out the requisite science points for victory, other missions will emphasize anime-esque special units, unique environmental hazards or introduce brand new gameplay mechanics like buff bestowing researchers, after a successful mission you’ll gain performance-based medals that you can then pump back into troop stats adding a nice sense of personal progress to the 20 or so hour campaign, after that feel free to swing by the map editor and give your own kaiju simulation a spin then publish it for others to try and probably fail because you gleefully added too many overpowered kaijus to one map.
Finally a quick word on style, the game is if nothing else darn fun to look at, over-the-top visual flourishes like the entire map rumbling when kaiju emerged from their lairs gives the game a nice sense of scale despite the relatively small levels. My only critique here is that each chapter of the campaign is really just a color gradient reskin of the last so you may grow gradually tired of the overall aesthetic. For the soundtrack while each chapter adds a new song or two all of which are ridiculously catchy, Kaiju Wars could benefit from a little more everything, kaiju included, this said the game is still a pretty much perfect love letter to PC playing kaiju loving man child like me and while I wasn’t blown away by any singular aspect about the game Kaiju Wars does so many things so well that I can’t imagine anyone not at least casually enjoying this godzilla gone goofy strategy game.