Okay…where do I begin with this one? I guess we could start with the inspiration for this game. Giga Girl is an indie game that plays and looks a lot like Mega Man. No, wait. What I meant to say is this game is Mega Man. The protagonist is a gender-swapped Mega Man right down to the name. Robots are revolting and she must stop the obligatory villain causing it – the exact same premise as in Mega Man. Giga Girl itself is a retro-esque 2D platformer-shooter with end bosses that have powers that you will come to possess. Just like Mega Man. So why did I not enjoy this game like I have enjoyed the Mega Man series? Well, let’s get this review over with.
I’ll start with the best of the three categories. I like that the music strays from the usual retro-style treatment. Rather than taking the NES chiptune approach, the game instead sounds more like it’s coming from a Commodore 64 or a DOS computer. The soundtrack isn’t particularly memorable but it’s refreshing and has charm to it.
As you may notice from these screenshots, the graphics aren’t exactly what can be considered up to snuff. Some of them look alright such as the tiles and bigger bosses. Other parts look either too plain or half-baked. Giga Girl herself looks way too uncanny with that oddly sized head of hers. Overall the art style simply feels like details are missing. It certainly doesn’t look like an actual NES game that’s for sure.
As expected from the get-go, the objective in Giga Girl is to traverse a platforming gauntlet to get to the end of the level and face an evil robotic menace. Any of the levels on the map can be played in any order. Of course, the baddies’ powers can come in handy in certain situations that could help make your life easier. There aren’t as many situational uses as there are in a Mega Man game but believe me, you will need every advantage you can get. There’s a good variety of enemies in each of the game’s levels and just about all of them can SCREW RIGHT THE CRAP OFF AND DIE IN A HOLE!!!
Giga Girl hits all of the wrong notes for a “challenging” oldschool-esque platformer. There’s annoying knockback, instant death spikes, and annoying knockback that can launch you straight into instant death spikes! Enemies can pop out of nowhere to land a cheap hit on you. Certain objects have a hitbox that’s a pixel or two wider than they actually are (Yes, including the death spikes) and then there are times where you’d simply have no choice but to get hit by an enemy even when you do see it coming!!! This game is unnecessarily relentless! Does it want to be played or not? There is no real learning curve, only the worst kind of trial and error awaits.
Then there are the scrappier mechanics in Giga Girl. The underwater sections. My God the underwater sections! There’s only a few of them in the entire game but they are agonizingly slow and give enemies greater chances to attack since you are unable to react quickly. The spinning mid-air platforms from Air Man’s sta-I mean the sky stage also deserve a dishonorable mention for being nothing but there for the sake of tedium and adding time to the level’s length. Unlike in Air Man’s stage in Mega Man 2, these platforms appear in more than one area.
Worst of all, Giga Girl doesn’t refill your life count whenever coming back from loading a save file or a Game Over. The power-up ammo I can maybe understand since health and item pickups aren’t too rare but freaking lives?! Is the developer sure six people playtested this and not one of them brought this to his attention?! The game’s already too unfair and frustrating to be fun. Whenever you beat a boss, however many lives you had then is how much you have if you continue the game from there. The only reason why I ever had five lives at one point was because I found a spot where there were two 1ups mistakenly placed instead of just one. I briefly used that abuse to my advantage. I don’t feel bad at all for using it too.
Overall the actual Mega Man style wasn’t badly implemented in Giga Girl. In fact, there’s a chance this could have been a decent game. It has the potential to be a fine not-Mega Man if it had fair enough level designs and enemy placements. But guess what? Giga Girl is instead a brutally punishing witch with a capital B. There is no sense of real challenge to be had with this game. Everything is there as a constant disadvantage for the player. That’s not fun.