Why the heck haven’t we gotten a new King of the Monsters game already? Back in the day, SNK made some of the best around, paying loving tribute to the monster classics of lore while, at the same time, giving us something fun to play alongside a friend. I mean, sure, we got a Godzilla game a few years ago, but outside of that…? Nothing. At least, until Dawn of the Monsters arrived.
The latest from WayForward and the developers at 13AM Games (Runbow), Monsters is all about fulfilling that need for kaiju destruction. You select from four large warriors as they fend off against an invasion of deadly creatures. Using punches, kicks, and other great power, they’ll need to fend them off before humanity is doomed.
Even with slight limitations in character selection and lack of true multiplayer, Dawn of the Monsters rocks. It’s not hard to see why.
Talk About Pure Tribute
13AM Games just gets what makes a game like Dawn of the Monsters work. It’s all about the creatures you can select from, but there are humans as well, attempting to keep everything balanced. It all comes into perspective in a fun-loving way, along the same lines as a cheesy Gamera film. (“Hey, Kenny, get bent!”)
The game features two genuine monsters, Megadon and Ganira, along with two Pacific Rim-style warriors, Aegis Prime and Tempest Galahad. Whomever you pick, you’ll be able to chain together combos, smash heads with buildings, unleash super moves, and more. Plus, with the progress you make, you can unlock some cool secondary attacks, attributes, and more. That takes away any fear that this side-scrolling brawler is clearly one-note, because it’s not.
In fact, Dawn of the Monsters is incredibly well balanced. The new abilities come into play immediately, and the go-to combos are outstanding. The supers are highly entertaining on a screen-clearing, head-kicking level that’s even better than Godzilla.
There’s also the option to bring a friend along for the ride. The game supports two player co-op, so you and a buddy can team up for on-the-couch multiplayer hijinks. I would’ve preferred a straight-up multiplayer, but this is just as entertaining.
Regrettably, Dawn of the Monsters only has the four types to choose from, without any new ones to unlock over the course of the game. At least they’re tons of fun to play and unlocking extra stuff never gets old. Plus, did we mention how rad it is to crack a building over the head of a demigod? Because it is.
A Monstrously Good Presentation
Along with wildly entertaining gameplay, Dawn of the Monsters also wins with its visuals. Looking like a classic kaiju film but with a cel-shaded touch, the graphics pop to life on-screen. Watching the animations is a blast (especially the finishers), and the way smaller structures crumble in the heat of battle is astounding. Plus the enemy design is creative, and the locations never really get old whatsoever. Throw in some fun cinema-style sequences in-between (to set up that B-movie feel) and you’ve got a winner.
On top of that, the audio is cool too. Along with full voice acting (cheesy, of course) and thrilling monster effects, there’s also a kickin’ soundtrack. With the exception of goofy Asian singing, “JET JAGAR, JET JAGAR!” (yes, that’s a reference to the video above), this is as good as it gets. The sound effects take the whole thing to a new level as well, especially the explosions. Boom indeed.
Even with its somewhat limited cast and lack of King of the Monsters-style multiplayer, Dawn of the Monsters is a genuine hit. Its co-op battling is fun, though you can go solo as well. Being able to level up your heroes is a nice touch; and getting to know your fellow teammates has its rewards. We love the visuals and sound too, coming straight out of a B-movie.
It may be awhile before we get another game of this type on home platforms, and Godzilla Destroy All Monsters Melee probably won’t happen. So, embrace Dawn of the Monsters if you can, because it’s truly one of a kind. No one should leave a kaiju unloved, damn it.
VIBE Rating: 9/10
Need more classic gaming goodness? Check out the Indiana Jones pinball table review!