Ponder this: how would Godzilla navigate the dating scene? Developers Squiddershins answered by creating a contender for the quirkiest game we’ve reviewed so far at DBLTAP. In Kaichu, players take on the role of matchmaker between giant pink monster, Gigachu, and a variety of eligible kaiju admirers. Through dates and destruction, Gigachu’s compatibility with each suitor is put to the test, ending with either a happily ever after or a passionless jilt.
Before it all kicks off, players get to choose Gigachu’s pronouns from an extensive selection. I went with she/her, but other options included ze/zir, ae/aer, and the very on-theme chu/chu. The game’s general story is told through news bulletins by co-anchors Brevity Ormes and Lucky Cole. Reporting on Gigachu as she emerges from the ocean, they reveal that numerous kaiju have appeared all over the world and are looking for love. From satellite footage, players move Gigachu around the world map and choose any of the six available kaiju to start dating. In my first playthrough I chose to pursue Garuden, a large, red bird-like kaiju located in Africa. Other potential dates include (but are not limited to) a volcano woman, a giant moth made of leaves, and a mushroom… thing. Something for everyone.
After choosing a kaiju, players must then lead them to a world-famous landmark, beginning the first date and the main bulk of gameplay. The news anchors walk through the fundamentals. Presented with a question, Gigachu must give a response choosing from three possible answers. These questions can be small, ice-breaker questions to start — “Does Gigachu think Garuden looks nice?” — and progress to more loaded questions during later dates. To answer, players choose one of three icons which appear as speech bubbles over Gigachu’s head: a thumbs up, a thumbs down, or a neutral expression.
This is where the game starts to get a little tricky. None of the kaiju speak, so you rely on the news anchors who are somewhat familiar with kaiju communication to provide the questions and answers. They also give a small amount of information on each kaiju, which could hint towards their personalities. Players can also make some observational assumptions based on how each kaiju looks. All of this is needed to make an educated guess on how best to tailor your answers to each partner.
Even with all this information at hand, it still isn’t easy to answer correctly. I provided what I thought was a positive answer by saying, “yes, Garuden looks nice” only for him to mistake the admiration for jealousy and have the situation turn awkward. Some questions are a bit easier to navigate. Garuden, a giant, muscular and flexing bird, asks Gigachu if she’s into fitness. The answer, obviously, is to have her say yes — even if she’s never touched a weight in her life.
With each well-received answer, the pair of kaiju steadily destroy a popular landmark to show their affection for one another. These destructive dates can demolish Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, and the Taj Mahal among others. Following a handful of casual questions, the date culminates with a Dealbreaker Question to determine the outcome of the date. Get it right and the scene ends with some monster PDA, adding some progress to a heart meter and making everyone feel all fuzzy inside. But answer poorly and you'll be left out in the cold, with the alternative heartbreak meter increasing instead. Needless to say, if the heartbreak meter gets too high then the romance is declared dead and you’re hit with the game over screen. Alas, my relationship with Garuden was not meant to be. I cut my losses and moved onto Mossra, a big botanical moth.
There’s no hard feelings if you do choose to pursue another. In fact, Kaichu encourages players to complete multiple playthroughs and successfully romance each kaiju. Each playthrough is quick and very simple, easily completed in roughly 20 minutes. Sadly, that’s Kaichu’s highest merit. Not much changes between each playthrough outside of a few different date questions. The game’s acts, gameplay, and news anchor dialogue offer little variety each time around, making Kaichu feel like a chore to complete fully. It tries to increase its appeal through funny dialogue, but the humor tends to fall flat and, at most, will elicit an eye roll. Still, despite lacking depth the game is charming. Care has been taken to construct a very harmless game, aided by cute, clean animation that gives Kaichu the appearance of a modern cartoon.
But there’s a market for casual novelty dating sims. We’ve seen the likes of Hatoful Boyfriend and I Love You, Colonel Sanders become bizarro tent poles for the genre, and while Kaichu’s concept seems like an equal contender, its content is less memorable. For fans of weird dating sims, it’s probably a great way to kill an afternoon. For everyone else, maybe just throw on "Godzilla vs. Mothra."
DBLTAP Rating: B-
Kaichu - The Kaiju Dating Sim, developed by Squiddershins and published by Top Hat Studios, Inc, is available now on Steam, Itch.io, Epic Game store, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
DBLTAP was provided with a copy of Kaichu - The Kaiju Dating Sim for review by its publisher, Top Hat Studios, Inc.