Games have been focused on the 1980's and 90's for quite some time now. Millennials and late gen-Xers love the nostalgia, and honestly, I love it too. There's a lot of games with that nostalgia, or a cool new location or something else really unexpected that makes us yearn to play, but have failed. Garage: Bad Trip has some of the good and some of the bad of this line of thinking.
You are Butch. A bunch of mutants, zombies and others are in your way. A girl is in danger. You need to save her. I could add more details like specific monsters and things, but for the story, that''s what it boils down to – the Mario plot. At this point its more how you do it rather than innovate. That being said, Garage makes it it's own and adds enough twists and turns to make it interesting.
This game has a top-down 2D shooting graphics scheme....then it gets interesting. The whole scthick with this games is the 80's/90's VHS feel. It works well, but it also adds a lot of color. Pinkish gas, trippy graphics, bright red blood, crumbly architecture under sub-standard light – there's a lot to go on. Some of it is actually beautiful. The only down sideside are the lazy looking speech lines in out of the box colored text and suddenly wild different and not very good still art. Overall the graphics are good, but would have been much better if those parts weren't as lazy.
Controls are typical topdown shooter. Even free to play games used the same keyboard controls. Not inventive, but they weren't broke to begin with. Its very par for the course.
Gameplay is, at first, standard fare. Axes, guns – the sorts of things the movies it's homaging uses. Also, you solve things and figure things out. Again, pretty standard. Then it pisses you off. See, there is a kicking feature too, and it seems to kill random enemies. Like rats. Apparently they're immune to everything but kicking. After you figure this out its ok, but before that you wonder if there''s a bug. It does get inventive when it goes all colorful and digital, but then it goes back to completely normal fodder. The theme is constant, but what the game wants you to do and how to do it is all over the place. Still above average, but scattered.
The music in the game is great. It has an 80's almost-Stranger Things score at points, to thriller music, to mystery, to techno-synth – it all makes sense within the game and Id listen to it on soundtrack if I could. The less said about sound the better. Screams come out of nowhere from zombies and have that 'on track audio voice' older games used to have. Sounds are all the same. I get it''s trying to be like older games, but even they seemed to have more variance. Most annoying is that Mario 'level-up' sound. I played through a lot of the game, and I'm still unsure why it came up. So, very split here.
There were no glitches per sey, just things that happened that there was no way around. I checked around, and others had the same problem, so it may be patched. For example, in one level I needed fuses and I only had one – despite looking everywhere. It made the game dead end and I needed to go over it again. Nothing really glitchy – just a few annoyances.
Garage: Bad Trip is a pretty unique game once you go past main story and game type. Solid action, solid music and solid atmosphere are great. It's also a style not usually seen – I honestly think they outscored Hotline: Miami on many things. But man, every negative bit is like a gut punch. I'd say it's worth a play, but maybe wait for a Steam sale first.
Final Score: 7.8 out of 10
A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of review.