E3 – Project Giant Robot Hands-On Preview

Admit it. You want to pilot a giant robot. I don’t trust people who wouldn’t want to pilot a giant robot. Naturally, I was entranced when I saw that Project Giant Robot was a thing on the E3 showfloor. Recently revealed as Shigeru Miyamoto’s latest project, it was expected that the legendary game designer would bring something new and innovative to the table and, sure enough, that’s exactly what he and his team did.

Making intuitive use of the GamePad was the core focus of Miyamoto’s two projects. Project Giant Robot relies on the technical capabilities of the GamePad to give players the feeling that they are indeed piloting a giant robot. That’s pretty much it as the idea, and it admittedly works pretty well. The game is essentially a big physics-based sumo match between the massive, towering adversaries.

This was actually real broadcast. This isn't a video game at all. I lied.

This was actually real television broadcast. This isn’t a video game at all. I lied.

At the beginning, you can create your own robot from scratch out of anything and in any way you want. Despite being a demo, it’s amazing how many different ways you could make your robot. Equally fascinating was watching other people on the showfloor playing the game to see how they chose to tackle their tasks at hand, prioritizing different parts for an ideal sumo machine. Personally, I made one with a big old torso made out of the top of a Matryoshka doll, and I couldn’t have been prouder.

Once my robot was ready, it was time for the first stage. The right shoulder button moves your robot forward and the left shoulder button moves it backward. The left and right control sticks directly control the left and right arms of your robot, respectively. Lastly, and my favorite part, is what’s on the GamePad as you get a view from the cockpit which allows you to directly point at and shoot a laser with the A button where you please. It’s simple but very interesting as you try to maneuver your robot by moving your body with the GamePad, and holding your arms in whatever direction you see fit to keep your balance and try to knock the opposing machines down.

The robots move slowly, which seems to increase that sense of scale as you hobble and destroy buildings in your path. One of the best things about the demo though was how the levels were seemingly randomly generated. Any other enemy robots were generated by the in-game creator, meaning you could technically create those exact machines, which also offers players some nice ideas for future tweaking and improving of their own robot.

"I'm not your average robot."

“I’m not your average robot.”

My favorite thing about it all was how not all of the robots were robots right away. What I mean is that it’s such a treat to get ready for one level when suddenly the buildings that were surrounding me burst to life and are revealed to be robots themselves, made of pieces of buildings, of course. It’s hilarious and just very badass.

In spite of all this, Project Giant Robot is still extremely early in development, so I just can’t wait to see how it’s expanded on and how the concept is further explored to add more mechanics and features. I’m sure it’s going to be a long time until we see any official release of this game and under whatever title, but we’ll be sure to let you know of any more information in the coming months. For now though, Project Giant Robot is definitely something to look out for when it finally arrives on the Nintendo Wii U.

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