One of the things I love about working for Niche Gamer is having the opportunity to play and review games from series and genres I’ve previously never had to ability to play. Ray Gigant is exactly that. Now, while I’ve dabbled in games like The Legend of Grimrock, it couldn’t have been for more than a few minutes at most.
However, that’s what made playing Ray Gigant so great – it’s an easy to digest, beginner’s guide to the dungeon crawling genre. Developed by Experience (Demon Gaze, Stranger of Sword City), Ray Gigant felt easy to learn without ever insulting the player’s intelligence.
The game takes place in Japan after humanity was nearly wiped out by a massive “extraterrestrial lifeform” called a Gigant. Before the giant Dragon-looking monster could finish off humanity, it was defeated by a young boy named Ichiya Amakaze, who summons a powerful being called a “Yorogami” to help defeat the creature.
Unfortunately for humanity, the first Gigant that showed up was just the first of many – and soon the world laid in near complete ruin, save for a few small pockets of humans around the world. Society was left to depend on a gang of young heroes equipped with nearly magical weapons to go and take down the Gigants before they completely overrun the last of humanity.
The story centers around three protagonists; Ichiya, a young man from Japan who was the first of what would be later called “originals”, people who could naturally bond with the Yorogami. Kyle Griffin, an Englishman with a somewhat twisted personality, and Nil Phineas, a sweet young girl who lives on a tanker ship that’s stranded in the middle of the coral reef.
Each protagonist has their own chapter and cast of unique characters, which allowed for the game truly to show the scale of the Gigant crisis.
The gameplay is your standard first person dungeon crawler, where you must make your way through a maze-like environment on your way to the big boss at the end.
As you move through the dungeon, you’ll come across floating skulls. These come in three colors – yellow, blue, and red, and a Big skull, which is a boss or mini-boss. Yellow Skulls are your normal encounters, Blue are called light encounters, and red are Heavy encounters.
Once in combat, the game runs as your standard turn-based combat system, where you can select several moves at a time for each of your three party members to use. Each move will cost you “AP” or action points, At the beginning of a dungeon you will start at 100, and they will go up and down as you fight monsters.
Yellow encounters will take a normal amount of AP per action, while red will take twice as much, and blue will take half. If you reach 0 AP, you won’t be able to perform any actions. However if you take damage, you will receive AP as well. Coupling this with the fact that your party will heal back to full after every encounter ensures that the players are always moving forward.
Leveling in Ray Gigant is also incredibly simple, which is perfect for someone like myself who could spend a better part of an afternoon worrying if those stats I just put points into were a complete waste or not.
The leveling system is broken down into three parts, which are also color coded; Yellow is your actual level and stats, blue are your spells and abilities, and red is your equipment.
As you defeat enemies and open chests, you’ll be gathering materials which share these colors. The player can level their characters on the fly, unlock new abilities or gain better equipment. This, of course, is the substitute for experience points, so you actually have the potential just to bury all your materials into one character if you’re like me and have tunnel vision.
The only major drawback to this system comes from the items. What you get from them is completely random, and while they may never be worse than what you are currently wielding, they could perhaps be only a slight upgrade, which makes the expending all those materials a waste.
Each character has their own weapon type and specializations. This, of course, means their development paths (while similar) are unique to them and them alone.
Another feature that Ray Gigant has is the ability for the protagonists to enter a demon-like mode called “Slash Beat Mode”. When entering this mode, the player must play a rhythm game, and the higher their score at the end, the more damage you will put out with the Slash Beat. Slash Beat is similar to a Limit Break that you must build up points to use, and can be used to turn the tide of battle against a Boss.
The final combat feature I want to mention are the Boss fights, which while pretty standard affairs, have one unique style to them. In the world of Ray Gigant, the monsters are broken down into two categories, Gigant-I and Gigant-II. Gigant-II’s are your standard grunt and miniboss monsters, which can be anywhere from the size of a dog to the size of a small house.
But Gigant-I’s are massive, nearly skyscraper size beasts that only appear once in a great while. These are your bosses – and to fight them, the party must find a position that’s most advantageous for their weapons. Meaning they must fight the enemy from multiple positions.
While one party member may be on the third floor of a destroyed building attacking the creature’s face, another can be on the ground floor down the street from the confrontation attacking from afar.
Although this doesn’t really affect how the battles play out, it does a fantastic job at showing just how massive the monsters can become, and make you feel all the more powerful and accomplished after you take them down.
Ray Gigant may not necessarily be a perfect game, and it may be too easy for those who are already familiar with the genre, but it is definitely a perfect entry point for players new to the genre. The combat is engaging and easy to grasp, and the leveling system may be simple, but it also has the benefit of being nearly stress-free.
The monsters all look fantastic, and the artwork by Fuji Mogeo is probably the best I’ve seen in a game outside of Vanillaware. I’ve already ordered copies of Demon Gaze and Stranger of Sword City thanks to Ray Gigant giving me an itch, which I’ve yet to scratch.
Ray Gigant was reviewed on PS Vita using a digital copy provided by Acttil. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. (Editor’s Note: We missed the window for the original release, so we made sure to have a review for the PC release)
The Verdict: 10
- The artwork by Fuji Mogeo is fantastic and really does a great job at setting Ray Gigant apart from other dungeon crawlers by Experience
- The game is easy to learn and easy to master, a perfect game for someone new to dungeon crawlers
- The rhythm sections during the power up phase were a pleasant surprise; I enjoy actually having to put in a little work to deal a massive amount of damage to my opponent
- The characters and universe are great, and I can only hope that we will get some kind of sequel in the future
- The leveling system is easy, but allows for you to play without sweating the details too much
- The Gigant designs are amazing; I loved seeing all the new kinds of monsters I’d run into in each dungeon
- May be too easy for veterans of the genre
- The soundtrack isn’t bad, but isn’t very memorable either