I had already sunken plenty of hours into Gigantic before realizing Aisling – a young greatsword wielding akatsuki-esque Scottish girl who’s dead father is her companion – could alter her basic attack chain to be completely ranged. This character, whom I had struggled to play for hours, suddenly had a completely different dynamic. I, along with my teammates, would probably have stood a lot to gain had that information been presented to me in a clear or organized way.
This is Gigantic in a nutshell. A beautiful and interesting game that brings a lot to the table, but fails to communicate the vast majority of abilities, stats, stamina costs, or menu options. Let’s start with with the game’s multiplayer mode and what exactly players are tasked with doing in this MOBA mixed with third-person, action shooting.
The main objective in Gigantic surrounds the fight between two humongous creatures, a few medium sized ones, and you. The two huge creatures, known as guardians, have separate teams fighting for them with an ultimate goal to build power, so that your guardian can pin the enemy guardian, and wound them three times for victory. I often found myself entranced by the power number at the top of the screen growing and, consequently, the guardians movement across the map to hold down their enemy. While it lives and breathes like a MOBA, Gigantic doesn’t have lanes, it doesn’t have towers, and it doesn’t have creeps. Bear with me.
Players amass power, through killing those medium creatures I was talking about, killing other players, and collecting power from nodes as they spawn occasionally around the map. When that number reaches 100, you have time to get in position, and when your guardian strikes, you need to do a certain amount of damage to achieve a wound.
This 30 second window feels like some of the most frantic and chaotic gameplay I’ve ever seen in a MOBA or arena-shooter. I love it. It really feels like planning, stamina management, and teamwork are all necessary. The skill-cap for this game, because of this, is on the higher end — not a winning recommendation for MOBA beginners.
Each of the 17 heroes, with more being added from time to time, feel unique and not just within the game itself. These are character types that don’t feel ripped from Battleborn, Overwatch, or Paladins. This in and of itself allow the game to feel thrilling even alongside its competitors. From Tyto the Swift, the game’s cover art character, who has fencing sword-style, one arm, and a mouse, to Uncle Sven, the Mickey-Mouse-sounding chemistry nut job who looks like a potion himself; these heroes are not only fun to play, but fun to look at and admire and get to know more about.
Interestingly, the game buries all of its lore amongst different screens in the menus. Various bits of information can be found within the tutorials page, the fortune card page, the collection page, etc. And this really encourages the player to familiarize themselves with the game’s menus.
While this hiding of information feels deserved for something like lore, when it comes to stats and abilities, it is a major failure on this game’s part to equip players with the information they need to theory craft or min-max, like all MOBA players love to do. Seriously, outside of arbitrary bars that tell you how good a hero is at defense or offense, you have no ideas how much health each character has, or how much damage each ability does. I’ve had to find out the hard way that The Margrave is a complete bullet (or spell, or punch, or potion, or sword) sponge.
Similarly, the heroes unique ability customization options that I mentioned at the start of this review are not visible anywhere outside of playing a match, or in training. This felt infuriating to me as I tried to figure out who I would feel comfortable with. Uncle Sven, my favorite character, had a damage specialization for each of his moves that I didn’t know about until I had played him for a handful of matches.
And Aisling, the greatsword wielding pre-teen that summons her dead father to fight for her, has an ability to do a dodge attack that applies cripple if you hit an enemy’s back. It feels silly that these things aren’t explained anywhere, or even in a move-set list. This is fine for players who are just getting into Gigantic, but for players who are familiar with the game, it’s truly frustrating and seems like an oversight on the part of the developer.
I can’t talk about Gigantic without praising its unique and beautiful art style. The game is gorgeous and that compliment goes for the guardians, the creatures, the maps, and especially the characters. All cel-shaded, the artwork stands out among other titles in the genre, and that’s apparent the moment you see Tyto the Swift in the game’s cover art.
The graphics, which likely aid the game in being able to achieve 60 FPS, feel as smooth as the gameplay, and in an action game this fast-paced, it’s necessary and it’s what developer Motiga has delivered.
As it exists now, Gigantic is a unique take on the genre, with entertaining mechanics and even more entertaining characters. But the more you play Gigantic the more obvious the flaws become. With a little bit of polish before the game’s official release (including meaningful character stats, the ability to preview the character progression tree outside of a match, and quality of life improvements such as auto-skill leveling and clear explanations for each character’s moves), Gigantic could be an amazing game that makes a difference among its peers. The combat and pacing by itself is enough to interest players, but without recognizing the game’s potential hardcore MOBA audience, Gigantic will have a hard time keeping them around.