Love Can Be Monstrous
By Jon Harvey
Reviewed on Xbox Series X
Released Sept. 7th, 2022 on Xbox One, PC, Switch, PS4/5
Publisher: Top Hat Studios
Is it just me or are dating Sims getting weird? Like REALLY weird? First time I noticed it was with Hatoful Boyfriend, the one where you date different pigeons. And then the one with a sexy version of KFC founder Colonel Sanders showed up. I remember seeing The Bacon Lettuce Biographies, where you date literal portions of meat. Hell, there's even one now where you date the serial killer monsters from Dead by Daylight. It seems like weird gimmicky dating games are all the rage Therefore it shouldn't surprise you to know that Kaiju, the 100s of feet high stars of movies like Godzilla, Clover field, Pacific Rim, and the like, are now also getting a dating sim dedicated to them… Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Kaichu-The Kaiju Dating Sim. Is it a sexy beast? Or just plain monstrous? Let's find out!
Now first off, full disclosure and all that jazz: I don't play dating games. Genuinely not my thing for the most part. Sometimes though, you see a concept so strange that you just need to check it out, even if it's just for the lols. Hence why it's me reviewing this, a game from a genre that I usually would never look twice at. I thought it might be funny. I suppose I should also admit to the fact that by "monster dating sim" I thought I'd be getting sexy, barely dressed, monster mommies in the anime style. Ask the other writers and they'll tell you about my penchant for all things 2D and female, and that'll also help you understand why I signed up, without even looking at a screenshot or trailer… You can only imagine my surprise then, when I discovered it didn't contain well-endowed horror-styled waifus craving my lovin' but instead features actual (admittedly cutesy versions) of famous Kaiju in the style of Godzilla, Mothra, and the gang. So like I said, dating games are getting real weird… But I have to be honest here, I don't know if Kaichu-The Kaiju Dating Sim is a particularly good example of the genre or not. I found it…a letdown. It was just SO simple, there's barely ANY actual "game" to it all. No minigames or engaging stories, no interesting characters either. It doesn't even have pictures of sexy girls to look at. I'm kinda at a loss about how to review it even.
So this is how it plays out. Two newsreaders are doing a show about all things Kaiju. The subject of a new monster on the scene, Kaichu, comes up and they talk about the motivations for its sudden appearance. It's looking for love it seems. Which is where you take over. You control Kaichu, a pink and purple cutesy Godzilla-type giant monster with a heart insignia upon its chest, and can then walk around the very small and simple overworld map. There's nothing much to do here though, your objective is simple: Pick which of the games Kaiju you'd like to date. There are 6 in all, each based on different monsters from famous movies or myths and legends. There's "Queen Seadora", a 3 Seahorse headed hydra that rules over all denizens of the deep, based on "King Ghidorah" of Godzilla fame. Alongside her is "Tephra", a "Voluptuous volcanic Vixen" who is a giant lava and rock lady. Or you might like "Turpio" instead, a gigantic heavily armored turtle with a scorpion's poison-tipped stinger. Perhaps it'll be "Garudan" who floats your boat. It's a buff as hell birdman, kinda looks like Foghorn Leghorn actually, but is based on the legends of the Rok and such. Next up is "Mossra", obviously a nod to "Mothra", this is a massive moss-covered Moth. And lastly is "Megaricus", a fantastical alien fungus, she's the mushroom maiden from beyond the stars. Each has their own personality, past, and likes/dislikes which you'll discover as you go on dates. But where do Kaiju go on romantic hookups? And what do they do?
Well, they go to the various landmarks of Earth and smash them to bits, of course! After picking the monster you want to date, they follow you around the map and you can approach any of the 22 global landmarks spread around it. All the famous locations are here, the Sydney Opera House, Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China, etc, as well as more niche ones, but it doesn't matter which you choose as the game will play out the same regardless. You'll be taken to a screen where you and your potential mate stand on either side of the monument. The newsreaders mentioned earlier will narrate events, and explain there is a "language of love" concerning how Kaiju destroy these landmarks. The better the compatibility between the two is communicated, the more powerful the attack they'll do against the building. A great date ends with nothing left but rubble, while anything left standing is considered less than perfect.
Now I don't want you to get too excited here. You won't be going crazy and rampaging across the world breathing nuclear fire and smashing things up. Instead, you'll answer questions. Yip, that's it. The sum of the gameplay here is moving around a tiny map and answering a few questions at each location. Okay, there's a LITTLE more to it, but not by much to be honest. "Brevity Jones", one of the newscasters, can interpret the wants, needs, and intentions of Kaiju, and the conversation between her and her co-host "Lucky Cole" is used to help you understand how you should answer the questions posed by your date. These questions are really simple questions with 3 answers to choose from. They start with things like "Do you come here often?" Or "What do you like most about me?" and each Kaiju will react differently depending on their character. So for instance "Do you come here often?", If you answer "No" to this, Queen Seadora will be happy as she likes to experience new things together. Other characters however like if you show them places you love, so will react negatively. Basically each question has 3 answers and can have three reactions, "Great", "Good" and "Bad". A "Great" reaction will have both Kaiju unless a powerful breath/energy attack against the monument, doing tons of damage. A "Good" reaction has them physically attack, doing minor damage to the target, while "Bad" does no damage at all. Each location has you answer three questions, with 3 "Great" reactions being the best result, before you're asked a Deal-breaker question. This question can ruin the date if you don't get it right, having the result being overwhelmingly negative at the end regardless of how you answered the questions before it. Depending on how you do at answering these questions, you'll get rewarded with progress on either the "Love" bar or the "Broken Heart" bar. Filling these bars fully results in a "Good" ending or a "Bad" ending, depending on which you fill first.
The "story", of which there is VERY little, plays out over 3 acts, with Acts 1 and 2 having you travel from location to location. You'll answer a few questions at each landmark, and hopefully learn little details about your partner in the process. These are surface-level details about the character; don't expect a tragic backstory, shocking revelation, or horrible secrets. It's basic stuff but you'll need these little details for Act 3. Going to avoid spoilers (despite the story not being Shakespeare) but here the game changes ever so slightly. Instead of answering questions and trying to get to know your partner, you'll now be tested on how WELL you know them. So I hope you paid attention to the responses you got in Acts 1 and 2. You'll be asked where your first date was, where you first kissed, what things they love, what their most influential moment was, and so on. Answer these questions correctly and you'll win the heart of your chosen potential partner and get an ending. That's it. Pretty simple "gameplay", if you can even call it gameplay. This was my real problem with this one. I admittedly haven't played much of the dating genre but I expected more to the game than this. I thought it would have minigames, gift giving, carefully choosing locations to take them, etc. I at least expected to manually control the Kaiju when wrecking the monuments. But no. What I got though was answering basic multiple choice questions, picking the best response from a list of 3 answers. The questions are always the same regardless of the location you pick and are always in the same order so you can learn the correct answer easily through trial and error, taking much of the worry out of how to answer. You can even save between dates, which only takes a couple of minutes anyways, making it quick and easy to save spam your way to a perfect date. All in all, you can complete a Kaiju quest line in 15 minutes easily, even faster if you know the answers, and there's isn't any reason to replay each date over again except to get the "Good" and "Bad" endings for an achievement. So gameplay wise it was a bit of a letdown and the story was rather basic too, consisting of mild, simple, and rather easy-to-guess character traits for each date. Some banter between the newsreader hosts who act as a framing device tries to be funny but fails miserably, not even reaching dad joke levels of humor.
But how's the art? That's important in these games, yes? Well, it's…okay. I suppose. If you like that kind of look. It rather reminds me of the CalArt style that's popular right now in Western animation. That's the style of Stephen Universe, ThunderCats Roar, Gravity Falls, and the like if you're not familiar. It's kinda like that, sort of round and bright, but has simpler designs than the shows I mentioned. It's well done I suppose, with some cute-looking versions of the famous Kaiju to look at. It's not very busy though, the animations are very simple and reused repeatedly throughout the game. You'll see the same 3 attack animations throughout, the same 2 closing screens after dates (depending on whether it's good or bad) and these are really the only major animated parts of the whole thing. With barely a story and almost zero gameplay to speak of, they could have at least given us some amazing art to look at but we don't even get that. I suppose I COULD give it points for being different from all the anime-styled dating games out there, but I suspect it would have been better if done that way. They could have at least made the monsters sexy. Give me some scantily clad buxom monster girls and I'm likely to forgive many sins but I don't want to try to seduce a giant moth or a Foghorn Leghorn knock-off. Isn't the point of these games to try to date your perfect waifu? If so you won't find them here. But maybe I just don't get these dating games. It seems to me though that they've knocked this together and are hoping the Kaiju dating gimmick will be enough to drive sales. I'm certain many will be talking about it for that reason, but will they enjoy playing it? I ain't too sure about that one, to be honest.
So, ultimately what we have is a very simple dating game. You can pick one of six Kaiju to date, you take them from landmark to landmark, picking an answer to the questions they pose from three possible choices. A great answer will do major damage to the iconic location you visit, a good answer does minor damage, while a bad answer will do no damage at all. Your aim is to answer these questions as best you can, hopefully getting a great result and filling the "love" meter. That's it. That's all the gameplay you get really. Moving around a map and answering a few multiple choice questions in each location. You don't even get to ogle some sexy 2D girls while doing it. Maybe I've missed the point of these types of games, or maybe I'm right and this isn't a great example of the genre. Hard to recommend to anyone but the most ardent fan of the genre or those who want to chuckle at the concept. If you're looking for something with actual gameplay though, it's probably best to go elsewhere.
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 4/10
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