Mechs V Kaijus is a tower-defence game from Uruguay-based devs, Doble Punch Games. Originally released in 2018 on PC, the game has now made it over to PSN courtesy of publishers JanduSoft.
The game puts you in the role of Commander, overseeing a squadron of powerful mechs as they defend the city from waves of kaijus (big monsters, essentially) and it plays out in a similar way to Plants vs. Zombies in that your units are on the left of the screen and the monsters arrive from the right.
You have three starting areas for your mechs with Odin, your best unit, taking the middle one while the other two slots can be occupied by two others from your squad. As the monsters appear you can shoot them using Odin’s long-ranged guns although, oddly, you’ll be aiming with the right-stick (the left-stick eventually pans the camera when the levels become long enough to require it) and firing with .
Of course, manually shooting these beasties will only get you so far and so you’ll need to get using some towers. To do this you need to press to bring up your defence menu. Here the action slows right down (including slowing down the music and sound effects, which is a clever touch) as you place your towers in whatever pre-allocated spaces the level grants you.
Initially, these start off as just a tesla coil for ground defence, rockets for air targets and walls to block your enemies’ advances and, pretty early in the game, you’ll unlock the ability to move your mechs onto certain landing zones too which is good as many of them have fairly short-ranged weapons.
Clearing a level involves surviving however many waves it throws at you without them getting to the left and destroying the wall that your mechs are stood on. Doing that grants you gold and tech points. The former is used to upgrade and repair your mechs while the latter is a bit more interesting as there are a lot of perks and abilities to unlock in the game’s large and winding tech tree.
You can unlock boosts to existing tower types, new towers and even new mechs. The tree is quite long and complex, so getting the specific upgrades you want might take a while but its good to see so many options in there. However, this does hint at the game’s most pressing issue.
There are two types of tower defence game essentially. Some rare ones give you a set amount of resources with which to take on a level and these are the more tactical and interesting. However, the majority of them essentially make a level impossible until you grind your way to more power. That’s what Mechs V Kaijus does and while the game does keep the level of difficulty up the whole way, it does take away the tactical sophistication somewhat.
The game is still enjoyable, addictive and challenging but there were plenty of times where we had to go back to earlier levels to grind up more tech points to get the next upgrade we needed and that’s not exactly enjoyable. But there are other problems too.
The first is in the porting job. Aside from references to using the Q and E buttons on a keyboard, the transition from PC to PSN is evident in the way that the UI is clearly designed for mouse use with icons not even really highlighting when you’re on them. Many times we simply didn’t know where on the screen we had focus. And that’s aside from a couple of levels just bugging out immediately no matter what we did. These were secondary challenges (you can replay levels in horde and boss modes) but the fact that playtesting missed them means that this game basically wasn’t play-tested even nearly enough.
Between the unhelpful UI and the many options you have for tactical play, you’d want a decent guide to explain things to you but you don’t really get that. A tutorial sits in the main menu but we struggled with it thanks to the sketchy control choices. shouldn’t select things on a menu. should. This is easy stuff.
With all that said, we’re suckers for both tower defence games and anything involving mechs and kaijus (that’s why Into The Breach is one of the best games ever made) and so we still managed to have a lot of fun with this one. Yeah, the porting job is clumsy but the game has a lot of charm to it.
That’s thanks in part to the presentation. Sure, it’s the usual pixel art retro look that 75% of games seem to have these days but the action is reasonably clear throughout, despite the hordes of enemies (although sometimes enemies will be slightly off-screen and you’ll struggle to take them out) and the sound design is pretty good with the beefy soundtrack being augmented by announcements that your various abilities have cooled down and are ready to use again.
So yeah, if you’re into this exact sort of thing then Mechs V Kaijus is a pretty solid choice but it’s tough, not particularly intuitive and it struggles technically at times. However, if JanduSoft can coax out an update from the devs, then there’s scope for this to be pretty decent but that’s if they can really get the devs to revisit code from five years ago.
+ Lots of upgrades to experiment with
- The UI design is pretty awful
- Relies on grinding