This game is a good example of why you shouldn’t write off games just because they’re cheap or free.

  • Khimera: Destroy All Monster Girls

    2 hours playtime

    10 of 28 achievements

This is an action platformer. You start off with your basic left/right movement and jumping ability, as well as a punch, a dash-punch, and a super punch (takes a half-second to charge but deals twice as much damage). After the intro level, you’re brought to a map which is essentially a stage select, though you can also visit the town and unlock other stages by finding secrets in the main levels. When you beat one of the main levels, you get a new ability (usually performed by holding a direction and pushing a button), and when you beat all four of the main levels, you unlock the final levels. Some powers are fun to use, like the uppercut you get from the blimp level, while others aren’t really worth it, like the projectile that takes two seconds of charging time before you can throw it, killing the game’s otherwise fast pace.

Let’s start with the positives: controls are quick and responsive, hit-boxes are precise, and there’s a decent variety of enemies throughout the game. The game is also fast-paced: around half of the common enemies can be taken out in one hit, and those that can’t don’t have invincibility frames (aside from bosses, but even then, their invincibility frames only last a second). There are parts where it may seem like the game traps you in a narrow corridor with an enemy shooting projectiles at you, but this game lets you attack most (if not all) projectiles as well, though this isn’t conveyed well (one NPC tells you this in the middle of a level, and if you don’t realize you can talk to the NPC, oh well then you missed it).

Now, the negatives. One of the most common of the enemies that takes more than one hit to kill are sword-wielding skeleton pirates, and they’ll hop back and forth, occasionally swinging their sword. When you attack them, they get knocked back just far enough so they’re out of range of your attack, but you’re still in range of their attack, so if you try to move forward to hit them again, you’ll usually get hit first. Plus, if you use your dash-punch on one but don’t kill it, it will still only be knocked back by that small distance, resulting in you dashing into its hit-box and taking damage. Needless to say, these enemies are a little annoying to deal with.

The bosses also have issues. Many of their attacks don’t have adequate conveyance (like when the mermaid zooms from one edge of the screen to the other, or really when any boss zooms from one edge of the arena to the other), so chances are you won’t be able to avoid all of the bosses’ attacks, even if it isn’t your first attempt. A perfect example of this is the boss of the ice mountain level: one of its attacks is to stand at the edge of the arena and throw projectiles in an arc, and another of its attacks is to stand at the edge of the arena and shoot projectiles directly straight, and they both have the same prep animation, so you won’t know whether to jump or stand still (and this is the boss that gives you the projectile weapon, so don’t think you can use that to hit the boss from safely from a distance; you need to be up close). In fact, when you’re at the part at the end of the game where you have to fight all the bosses in a row (a segment which just comes off as padding), you can just backtrack a couple screens and talk to the chef to restore your health to max (because the dev(s) know(s) that this part would be too difficult otherwise). Don’t worry though: this unfairness is balanced by the bosses having low health; just use that super punch on them and they’ll go down in less than a minute. It reminds me of NieR: Gestalt in that they just made the problem not last as long rather than give the problem a proper fix.

Overall, the game does have issues, but since it’s free, I can easily recommend it if you’re a fan of action platformers since it’s well polished in other areas.

P.S. Levels have secrets in them, as well as parts where you have to go down into a hole to progress. However, the game also has bottomless pits, and it isn’t always clear which ones are which. Luckily, the game has infinite lives, only taking away from your collected money (score) when you die before sending you to the last checkpoint.