Gigantic developers Motiga describe their game as a free-to-play team-based action game. That’s pretty vague and there’s a good reason for that. There aren’t many games out right now quite like Gigantic. The closest example that I could think of was a fellow PAX East 2015 game, SMITE. It feels like a mashup of action-RPGs, MMOs, and MOBAs (despite not labeling itself as any of these games).
Unlike traditional MOBAs (and more like SMITE) the camera is zoomed up right behind your hero. Throughout the game you’re constantly getting experience, leveling up, and upgrading your abilities. I was told by a PR member that the heroes are designed to appeal to players with different tastes in gaming genres. For example, Wu, a martial arts specialist frog, prefers to be up close and personal, and can combo its different abilities much like you would in a brawler type game. Motiga is trying to cast a wide net in order to appeal to as many different types of gamers as possible. Luckily, Gigantic never spreads itself too thin and although it’s still early on, Gigantic is shaping up quite nicely.
I played as Tripp, a lightning quick assassin that’s sort of a glass cannon. If I could take enemies by surprise with my speed or invisibility, I could dish out a serious beatdown. If I turned a wrong corner though and ended up staring down the barrel of a turret or a group of players, I’d quickly be made into mincemeat. At times I had trouble landing my attacks but I believe it was more because I chose to use an advanced character rather than there being any kind of problem with the game’s controls.
Right away at the start of the game, just about everyone bolted towards one of the labeled points on the map to spawn allied helpers known as creatures. These creatures hold down strategic points and can either heal teammates, provide recon, or attack enemies. You can take down enemy creatures and spawn more of your own. I learned quickly to capitalize on un-defended minions but to not get too aggressive and spawn mine deep in enemy territory. When I tried anyway despite a Motiga team member warning me not to, my poor creature ended up being an easy target for the opposing team and provided them with more experience points. The MOBA concept of feeding comes into play in Gigantic. Don’t die needlessly and/or allow the opposing team to get easy experience points. Early on mistakes can be made, but by the end when the respawns start to get brutally long, a single death can spell disaster for your team.
Everything that happens in a round of Gigantic exists to support your Guardian. Whether it’s killing enemies, summoning creatures or stealing power from the enemy Guardian, you’re constantly working towards getting your Guardian ready to launch an attack. Success or failure in Gigantic depends whether or not your team as a collective is making the right decisions on the micro and macro levels to give your Guardian the best chance destroying the other Guardian. Ultimately winning comes down to your Guardian surviving and isn’t directly tied to having more kills or anything like that (although that helps of course).
After about 20 minutes of battling the opposing heroes and watching the Guardians take turns bashing each other, the game comes to a climatic end as the two Guardians fight for the last time. Probably thanks to my risky behavior and knack for picking fights that I couldn’t win, my team’s Guardian was crushed.
One round wasn’t enough to grasp all the intricacies of Gigantic but it was just enough time to see that Motiga has something special brewing here. That broad appeal it’s going for, it has it in spades. It’s easy to pick up the basics of just going around and fighting everything you can. However finding the perfect strategy for each encounter and managing the chaos that ensues when the Guardians leave their post will keep hardcore fans busy and repeat games feeling fresh.