“We don’t need another MOBA” sang alternate-reality Tina Turner, and if we have too many MOBA’s, we really have too many hero shooters. Gigantic then, a MOBA/hero shooter that’s just recently launched on Steam, might seem unnecessary.
Gigantic isn’t what you expect when you think MOBA, but regardless of how it looks you’re pitching yourself and your team against a giant creature rooted in the enemy teams base, and fighting over map objectives.
With no creeps and no farming to speak of, Gigantic is a game mostly focussed on one big endless teamfight. It’s not a shooter, although there is plenty of shooting, and fights often last several minutes, a dance back and forth as you try to outmaneuver the enemy team and take advantage of slight misplays. Kills are hard to get here, and teamplay is essential to separate your prey from the herd of opposing players and cull them.
Each match is 20 minutes of full-on brawling, with characters levelling up and becoming even more adept at dishing out pain as you try to capture and reinforce control points located around the map. Whenever a team gets to 100 points, they’re allowed to launch an attack against the enemy’s gigantic — I just realised where the name of the game probably comes from — creature with an aim to damage it. Damage the creature three times, and it dies. You win… or lose, if the enemy gives your creature a kicking first.
It’s quite simplistic at a surface level, which makes it an ideal spectator sport. Could this be the MOBA that finally reaches out to the mainstream? I think it’s overly optimistic to a breakout this early in the game’s life, but it has so many of the right ingredients for mass-market broadcast: it is easy to understand at a glance, it has a series of adorable characters that could easily make their way into action figures and ensnare younger children, and it’s not really violent at all, with combat all brightly coloured particle effects and daring assaults.
For fans of the genre, there’s plenty to like here too. Diversity comes not from complex economics, shiny equipment or drafting brilliance, but from the maps and the characters.
Each map has its own unique feel, with the three included at launch each rewarding different strategies and styles of play.
Characters however are the real strength, with each level up not just increasing numbers but offering new options. Take Charnok, a dragon sorceror that’s quickly become my favourite. A left click with Charnok shoots off a fireball, which can be charged over time. The first time you level up the fireball, you can choose whether to let this charge for double the time for more damage, or for a fully levelled up fireball to also set an opponent on fire, burning them. This choices are exclusive, and lead on to additional upgrade trees later on.
Another of his attacks calls down burning rocks from the sky. This can be upgraded to slow down enemies caught within the rockstorm, or to drop a huge meteor from the sky to hit bad guys inside the area of effect at the end of the spell.
Gigantic isn’t super complex, but it’s fun to play and to watch. Developers Motiga have created something fairly special here, and while it’s much too early to see if it’ll have a gigantic (sorry) appeal to an esports crowd, all the building blocks for success are here.
If you’re a tournament organiser or looking for the next big esport to invest in, maybe give Gigantic a look. The endless brawls in-game make it an exciting thing to keep an eye out, and the fledging competitive plays make it an exciting proposition for future tournaments, too.