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Khimera: Destroy All Monster Girls (PC) artwork

Khimera: Destroy All Monster Girls (PC) review


"Probably the finest investment you'll never have to make."


It’s point blank ridiculous that something as lovingly constructed and excellently designed as Khimera: Destroy All Monster Girls is available to you, the ungrateful video gaming public, for absolutely free.

How ridiculous? I’ll tell you. After putting a couple of hours into the game, I purchased some cosmetic DLC content that offers you a new costume for the main character that I’ll probably never use. It costs a pittance, but without offering a token purchase of some kind, it felt a little like I was stealing. This game was originally released back in early 2016 and, at the time of writing this review, the latest update patch was only a few scant weeks ago. That’s a hell of a commitment towards a base game earning an industrious developer exactly nothing.

But, still, I get it; there’s an endearing quality that runs through Khimera that makes you want to invest in it. I could, if feeling uncharitable, just tell you it’s a retro-based platformer sharing traits with the likes of Shovel Knight and Mega Man, remind you it’s free, and get on with my life. But that would be leaving a lot left unsaid. There’s monster girl pirates to beat up, hidden stages to unlock, fairy hostages to rescue, extra costumes to recover, false walls to destroy, secret bosses to slay, NPC character profiles to obtain, secret recipes to gobble down, store clerks to glare at, stolen booty to steal back, enemy cannon fodder to convert, quizzes to ace, talking cats to chat to and faux 8-bit Easter egg games to play.

Khimera: Destroy All Monster Girls (PC) image

So, yeah, there’s a lot to do. You do it using Chelshia, the world's first synthetic monster girl. Built by a mad doctor (of course) to do all the boring chores he can’t be bothered with, the island they live on is placed under attack by plundering pirates. The only logical solution to this is to top Chelshia up on golem genes. This gives the would-be housekeeper a giant stone fist, and she’s sent out into the island to beat the invaders to a pulp and regain her creator’s lost wealth.

Chelshia’s chimera make-up means she has more going for her then a huge rock-arm for ease of bludgeoning; she has, for example, harpy DNA that grants her wings for better jumping abilities. But she can add to this throughout the game; defeat one of the monster girl menaces, and you can steal their genetics and gain even further abilities. You don’t even have to kill anyone to do it; the defeated pirates will be held in the jail cells in the middle of the island’s one town for you to visit and gently goad at your leisure.

The map’s full of little distractions, like the town, that often hides other little distractions of their own. On the surface, there’s only a few main stages that you strictly need to beat, each championed by one of the pirate crew who serve as end-of-level boss. But exploring each stage properly might lead to giant explosive plungers that destroy parts of the map and allow you to explore the regions beyond. Maybe you’ll stumble upon these right away, or maybe they’re hidden in a hard to reach corner you’ll need stolen monster girl DNA upgrades to reach. And that’s fine; you can revisit each level as often as you like to try and hunt down captured fairies on the request of the fairy queen (collect ‘em all, win a prize), or snag free food samples from a wandering cook to permanently boost your stock of hearts that serve as HP. You can try and earn an elusive S rank by running through the level as fast as you can, taking no damage and shooting for the berserk bonus scored by slaying all the level’s enemy minions. You can even beat some of the enemy force cannonfodder straight, having them show up later in the monster village, claiming to have left the pirate life behind them. So long as you stop punching them in the face.

Khimera: Destroy All Monster Girls (PC) image

The only thing more ridiculous than the asking price of this game is the endless little details that put much larger projects to shame. Why have bobble-headed lamp posts or dumb little flags to mark out your checkpoints when instead you can have a smug-looking naga holding a “Checkpoint!” sign. That you can interact with. And demand to know that, if she can get to the deepest, most dangerous parts of the level before you can, why she isn’t fighting the pirate hordes instead of you? Why have all your island locations simply be platforming stages? The curious will eventually find Chelshia’s home, where she can play her obsolete retro console’s one game (Cake Boy!) and bounce on her bed just because. If you’re exploring the town anyway, why not take part in a map-spanning series of fetch quests to make new friends and influence people? Maybe you’ll run across the gold-plated skeleton that used to be in charge of the bank’s vault before the bloody pirates pinched it all. By collecting the gems scattered through the stages and the coins dropped by beaten ne’er-do-wells, you can slowly refill it, giving the treasure shark back his natural habitat.

Few games feel as loved by their developer as Khimera: Destroy All Monster Girls does. Even going back to the game to play a few levels in preparation for this review, I keep finding new things I missed the time before. The obligatory aircraft stage has floating platforms kept afloat by propellers affixed to their base. Should you execute a jumping ground pound attack, the flimsy propeller falls to bits and you plummet to your death. A gaggle of witches often serve as mid bosses to most levels, but there’s actually a deserter from that gang hidden away. Track her down, and she’ll reward you with a witch costume of your very own. There’s content upon content, which would mean nothing if it wasn’t already a great retro platformer – but it’s that as well! And all for the low, low price of absolutely nothing at all.

4/5

EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (December 24, 2017)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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