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If not for the studio logo when you start up Giga Wrecker Alt, you'd never know it was made by one of the most successful video game developers in history. It isn't just that this lacks any connection to Game Freak's iconic Pokemon series. Giga Wrecker Alt, an enhanced port of the 2017 PC release, doesn't have the cohesion present in the Pokemon games, and its blend of clever ideas is held back by poor implementation.

The core mechanic behind Giga Wrecker is novel: You destroy robots to gather debris, which can then be formed into objects like blocks, weapons, and tools. These help you to resolve both platforming and puzzles, and the giant debris blocks also make a handy melee weapon against the bots. The bigger the debris pile you carry around with your cybernetic arm, the better it will serve as a bludgeon against larger robots, and the more and bigger tools you can create.

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For example, many puzzle rooms have pressure-sensitive switches that are only activated by the maximum size debris block. The solution, then, comes from taking down progressively heftier machines to build a big enough stockpile. Junk piles can also be cut or drilled through to make platforms, or a block piece can be used to deflect a laser. It's an inventive idea that merges combat, puzzle-solving, and platforming under a single gameplay hook.

However, it isn't long before the concept meets its limitations. Giga Wrecker often asks more of you than it's willing to give, making for an unforgiving and frustrating experience. Most pervasively, the physics systems at the heart of the game are inconsistent. Even when you already know the solution, you'll spend a significant amount of time performing it over and over waiting for the pieces to fall in place just so. Then, with the puzzle resolved, you'll be asked to escape to a door without falling into an instant-kill trap, which is where poor checkpointing issues arise–if you fail, you'll need to begin the puzzle again. At one point, I solved a particularly tricky puzzle and then jumped onto a moving platform, only to have the camera pull away to highlight that I had solved it. By the time camera control was restored, I was in a spike pit, dead.

The checkpointing that does exist is odd and erratic. Since the physics-based puzzles are prone to unresolvable errors, each major room includes a reset point highlighted in noticeable hot pink. These are activated by pressing up, which leads to unintentional activation on a fairly regular basis. If you don't hit these reset points, though, you'll find yourself sometimes checkpointed at the start of a puzzle and other times checkpointed when you first entered a room and repeating a dialogue sequence. I got in the habit of hitting a reset point as soon as I entered any room, just to make sure I set the checkpoint there.

Even putting aside unlucky moments and fiddly checkpoints, though, the platforming can be a struggle. The controls are imprecise, and you'll often continue to slide after releasing a direction or move an uncertain distance from a light, fine-tuned tap. Inching closer to an edge to prepare for a tricky jump will occasionally result in going right over it.

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