Astro Port's new 2D mech sidescroller, GIGANTIC ARMY, brings back the days of yore when you would skip class just to play some games at the local arcade. The game may seem short and simple at first glance, but soon enough, you realize you've embarked in an adventure that will challenge your patience and sanity.
GIGANTIC ARMY's story, like any other classic arcade game's, is quite simple: a war between an advanced extraterrestrial life form and humanity breaks out. The Ramulans, as the advanced life form is called, possess overwhelming firepower and have become a fierce enemy to face. To fight the threat, humans use their technology to send group after group of mechs in order to thin the Ramulan's lines. As you may be thinking, it is your duty to take command of those mechs and destroy the Ramulans once and for all.
Gameplay-wise, GIGANTIC ARMY doesn't bring anything new to the sidescroller mech shooter formula. Your mech can be customized only with three different options for your main weapon and another three options for your special weapon. Although it doesn't seem like much, the nine different combinations available can result in an easier and smoother playthrough. Of course, the best combination is the one that suits you better, but something that has been poorly handled is that you can't change weapons between levels. That can be a real pain in the butt if you are playing for the first time and realize you've chosen wrong. Another key aspect that makes you feel like you're spending your allowance in penny arcades is the credits system. That's right, you receive credits, three to be more specific, and you have to make it until the end of the match with them. Once you've reached game over, you're done and have to start all over again. To make things worse, each level, your energy supply, your HP, will not be set to the maximum. Instead, you will inherit the HP left from the level you just cleared. To assist with this, you will encounter power-ups. There are three kinds: HP, Power and Time. Moreover, time is another factor that makes for feistier gameplay; not only because it's very limited, but because it runs normally. Not satisfied with this, the foes you'll face are numerous and more aggressive each time and, on top of that, you'll have to face several mini-bosses before you reach the final boss in each level.
In terms of graphics and art, GIGANTIC ARMY looks like it was developed 20 years ago and in some moments you feel more like you're playing a ROM in an emulator. That's not necessarily a bad thing; quite the contrary. This game is designed to tickle your nostalgia button and take you back to when videogames were almost impossible to finish. Another thing to take into account is the light resemblance the Ramulan army has with some of the vehicles of Halo's Covenant. If you customize andadd more purple to the Ramulan machines, the outcome is Scarabs, Locusts and Revenants. On the other hand, the mech you control is nothing new, but it doesn't resemble anything either. It's quite generic-looking.
Due to the ridiculous difficulty level of the game, it was almost impossible for me to finish it, but after a few attempts I finally could make it through. It reminded me of those times playing Contra or Double Dragon, but with a jetpack and inside a robot. If you want to play this game, you are going to be dealing with a lot of failed attempts and frustration, but GIGANTIC ARMY is very rewarding in the long run.
GIGANTIC ARMY is a nice option for gamers looking for a challenge and wanting to revive the good old days. If you like enormous enemies and countless hordes of organic-looking machines, download GIGANTIC ARMYand save humanity...if you can.