By Steve Baltimore / May 23rd, 2018
|Developer||tinyBuild, Zombie Dynamics|
|Release Date||May 10th, 2018|
I’ve always been a big fan of 80’s horror flicks. Since I grew up in the 80’s I guess this is a given, but when I saw the new horror title from tinyBuild, Garage, the style of it immediately caught my eye. This was the most violent, dank, B-movie game I’ve seen in a long time, so I had to check it out. Let’s see if there was more to it than style.
The story follows a drug dealer named Butch. He wakes in the trunk of a car on what appears to be a bender. He doesn’t remember how he got there but now he must survive the hordes of zombies and mutants. Your only help is your handler “Anaconda” whom will help guide you through this underground structure formally owned by Smith Investments, which has a less than stellar reputation.
Graphically, Garage looks fantastic. Its top-down perspective coupled with constant scale lines give it that great vintage look that really fits in with classic horror movie atmosphere. The lighting effects always amp up the tension as you explore the darkness, but this can also cause some issues in seeing pathways. I know you’re thinking, “well the lighting was probably meant to do that to raise tension,” and while I am sure that’s what the developers had in mind, it got extreme in certain areas. The game does have some loading times mid stage and when you die. These only last around 30 seconds, but after you die a few times, and you will, they get very annoying. The framerate does take a dip when the screen is filled with enemies or guts. These dips are not usually that bad, but you will notice them.
The sound design is actually really interesting. The monsters all sound amazing, with tons of groans and howls that really add to the game’s overall atmosphere. The music isn’t always playing, but when it is it’s always some crazy metal tune that really does add to the feel of the game. Trippy music playing while your character is high after taking drugs and the screen is melting is just great. This was a nice mechanic and it really fit the story. The gun sounds are a pretty standard affair but they get the job done.
The gameplay is where this title begins to fall apart. This is a top-down shooter for all intents and purposes. You will run through each level slaying hordes of monsters and solving some simple puzzles. There is a bit a strategy involved, since if you just rush into a room you will likely die very quickly. Sometimes you may want to kick an object in the path of an enemy or maybe go into the room from a different angle. There’s a bit of trial and error here but nothing too crazy, until the last boss that is.
As with most games of this type you walk with left analog stick and aim with right. The aiming in this game is touchy as hell and its really hard to steady it up most of the time. If the aiming wasn’t bad enough, the rats in this game are the most deadly enemy you will face. The two-headed dogs and zombies don’t have anything on rats with a tiny hitbox, and on top of that most of the guns you have will not hit them. While they don’t damage you a lot, they pin you in so the other enemies will kill you in an instant.
The game has three different difficulty levels. On easy you will regenerate to around ½ health when you’re standing idle. This means you get one to two free hits before you die. Normal is fairly balanced, giving you plenty of health pickups, till the end of the game, and this mode would be totally broken without the frequent autosaves. I feel like this game would be impossible to complete on hard, but I’m sure someone out there can do it if they wanna suffer through the aiming and rats long enough.
In the end Garage is a really good concept bogged down by some dicey design choices. The visuals and audio set up the atmosphere nicely, but the gameplay has so many issues it makes it not fun to play at times. The last boss here is the most unfair and cheapest boss I have faced in years, and really made me dislike this game when I finally beat him. It took me around seven hours to get to the final boss and another three to actually take him down. While the game is pretty inexpensive at $14.99, I could only recommend this one to avid fans of top-down shooters.
Game provided by the publisher for review purposes.
GaragetinyBuild GamesZombie Dynamics