Release Date: May 10th 2018
Price as of Article: $14.99 USD, £13.49 GBP
Game code provided by TinyBuild for review
It seems like top-down twin-stick shooters are the in thing these days with indie games, on the Switch at least. We’ve already covered a vast amount here at SwitchWatch and Garage is yet another on to add to the list. How does it stack up against those that have come before?
The story for garage keeps it pretty simple but it does try add some interest to the gameplay. In fact I think the opening sequence actually rather well done. You are Butch, a former drug dealer who emerges from the boot of a car and into the post apocalyptic setting of Garage. Burning cars and dead bodies aplenty with no signs of the living, Butch enters into the depths below. Eventually coming into contact with a mysterious secret agent who helps guide his way.
Obviously it’s not anything new or unique but they have gone all out with the backstory which I can appreciate. There are notes laying around you can read into as well as TVs which give some really good and often disturbing images about what’s going on in this world. I found these very enjoyable even if they were few and far between.
The audio is a pretty good effort. Lots of tense sounds with infrequent, harsh beats. Very reminiscent of a B-movie of the 80’s. The publicity for the game states that it was inspired by those types of movies and while I can somewhat see it in the visuals and gameplay, it’s actually the music which really makes me believe that.
There are lots of moments of quietness to add to the tense atmosphere too but you do have your more exhilarating moments when fighting bosses so it does have bit of depth to the soundtrack too.
Visuals & Performance
The game looks pretty nice. The top-down perspective with 3D models works well and the environments, while often quite similar, look the part. Animation is a little low, and enemies walking around generally looks like they’re sliding or hovering above the floor rather than actually being connected. Still, the effects look good and I like the scan line filter put over it to give it that extra retro feel.
It may sound like an odd complaint, but at times it just feels a little too dark in places. I know it’s supposed to be horror related and add atmosphere, but there are ways to do that without making the player squint at the screen. It is just a minor complaint though but I especially noticed it in handheld mode.
As far as performance goes it seemed to be solid all round except when reaching checkpoints. When you reach certain points in a level the game will save automatically and jerk the game immensely for one second. These checkpoints are usually placed as such in none important areas so it doesn’t effect how well you play the game for the most part. It’s just a little unexpected and it’s something you used to see a lot back in the Wii U days and I have to admit it was a shock seeing it back in full force on the Switch.
From a full on top down perspective, you explore the abandoned environments of this underground garage and fend off the undead and what ever else lurks beneath. Initially you only have your fists and an axe to fend off the enemies and it really didn’t leave a good first impression combat wise. Close up fighting is a little clumsy, it’s one of those where you’re always guaranteed to take a hit it seems. Sure it’s all in the timing and there is a dodge roll so you could probably get pretty good at it, but actually it’s not long until you get a firearm to quickly make you forget about close combat.
The gunplay is twin-stick in nature, moving with the right analogue stick and aiming with the left. Shooting with the ZR button, it’s pretty standard to what we’re used to on the Switch especially us here at SwitchWatch having reviewed a tonne of games of this style such as Jydge, Tesla vs Lovecraft; in fact most games that came from 10tons. It’s a classic gameplay technique that can’t really go wrong.
You get a variety of weapons as you make your way through the chapters including a handgun, shotgun and uzi. It’s just all very safe and normal but enjoyable too. There are some interesting aspects to it, such as the enemy varieties. Not only will you have zombies to deal with but even humans with guns later on. Then there are the rats which are super difficult to hit with bullets so the best technique is to let them come at you then give them a quick kick with the ZL button. As stated, you’ll probably take a hit with how the close quarter combat is in this one, but it’s better than wasting all of your ammo.
Health is regenerated with health packs or snacks found on the floor or from bashing vending machines and stealing their goodies. It’s fairly generous in this regard although I did play on easy mode. I’m not sure why, maybe because it was the default option on the menu.
It’s not all full on action which I do appreciate. There are some slower moments where you are exploring the dimly lit surroundings, avoiding hazardous things. Sure, you’re never too far away from a zombie or two popping out as you kick down a door, but I like the fact there are moments of rest which helps build up a lot of tension. Some games are over the top action which do have their place, but I liked that Garage was a bit different in that regard.
Garage does vary up the gameplay from time to time, for example there’s an escape scene where you’re on a motorbike, then there’s a hold the fort section where a horde of zombies rain down on you while you man a heavy machine gun to mow them down. As stated before, it’s all very safe and standard, rarely does it get adventurous and attempt to do its own thing. That’s not necessarily a negative though, as at least it’s done pretty well.
Garage comes in at £13.49 or $14.99 which is not a bad price for the quality in offer and what the competition offers. TinyBuild seem to enjoy this price range for their games and it’s a fair one for what you get with their games for the most part. You’re getting a very solid enjoyable game and while you can always wonder if it could be cheaper, for what other games are priced at these days it’s not bad.
Nice attempt at a story
Maybe a little too safe