All strategic situations involve a clear goal to “win.” In the majority of these fights, the idea is to outsmart or overpower an opponent. In Kaiju Wars, that isn’t an option. Your opponent is a monstrous creature. It is huge. It is powerful. It can evolve and develop new abilities in the midst of a fight. You aren’t exactly “winning.” You’re surviving. Which means success involves very different approaches.
You are the new mayor of a city. You should be dealing with typical, ordinary issues. However, the unimaginable happens while visiting a local military base. A kaiju appears. It quickly wrecks a nearby building and begins to head right for the player. You can’t stop it. You can only push back. And so, it becomes about going from one area to another, repelling kaiju until scientific discoveries can catch up for a more definitive preventative measure, as you gradually figure out what’s going on.
Kaiju Wars is a tactical title. You have a small, grid-based map in front of you. At the start of both your forces and the kaiju’s turn, you begin by pulling cards that provide potential benefits. Maybe you’ll get a free army base or science points. Perhaps the monster of the day will get eight points of health restored. The start of the kaiju’s turn also means your security will go down a level, which is a countdown to how long before it determines where Dr. Wagner, the scientist working on the actual measure to “defeat” it, is.
The thing is that you can’t use typical tactics. The kaiju is stronger than your units. The forces you send out will not deal major damage or force it back. They’re stalling tactics while you wait for the folks in the lab to work out an actual defense. As time goes by, the creature will decimate the area. Which, in turn, cuts down your income and bases for deploying units. That means when your units do get destroyed, you can’t rebuild them. Not to mention when it works out where Dr. Wagner is, you need to evacuate and head to another lab. When the scientist is on the move, you don’t earn income or science, which means more time for the monster to recover and the goal post to success gets pushed back.
This means Kaiju Wars comes down to desperate measures. Instead of thinking about a unit’s fire power, their side effects and range can prove more beneficial. A tank will take longer to get somewhere. However, when the kaiju is on the move, a tank placed in their way can slow their advance by one. Artillery can’t move and attack on the same turn. However, if you know the kaiju is about to head straight for Dr. Wagner’s last known location, you can position it and hopefully get in multiple hits as it passes by. Especially since there will be a percentage showing the likelihood the kaiju will pass by certain squares. (You’ll generally know exactly where it will end their path of destruction on their turn, so you can place a unit there accordingly.) It becomes about knowing which sacrifices to make to perhaps buy a few extra turns of income and when to have Dr. Wagner bug out and run to safety, ideally with some additional trucks or ships there to get to a new lab.
It is a fascinating approach. Especially since there are measures to make things “fair,” while still maintaining that the kaiju is big and unstoppable. For example, you know what their special attacks will be. The game shows which squares could be hit if, say, the giant ape is going to perform a special Wind-up Punch attack. While the monsters’ “cards” can be strong or heal a lot of damage you worked hard to deal, many of yours give you an edge. For example, getting Military Surge when most of your civilian buildings are destroyed is a godsend. That means you can deploy and repair units for free. You might get an experimental unit. Which means even though the kaiju will still be stronger, you could perhaps get a Shark Jet that could keep moving after attacking.
So all of your attacks are really buying time. Instead of a health bar, enemies essentially have ones based on exhaustion. As you wear it down, it won’t be able to travel as far. This means you could send out other units to halt fires, rebuild your army, prepare for their possible mutations, and even be ready in the event you do drive one away and it comes back. Also, you want to try and complete challenges to earn Medals. Because those not only show you completed a mission in a stage, but let you bolster the stats of your Ace units.
I appreciate what Kaiju Wars asks a player to do. You’re in a doomed situation. Make the best of it. As long as you keep the scientists alive and don’t wind up completely obliterated, you did a good job.
Kaiju Wars will come to PCs on April 28, 2022. It will also eventually come to the Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.