In my playthrough of tinyBuild’s and Zombie Dynamics’ preview of their new top-down shooter, Garage, I learned that it can be described as a multitude of things. Action-packed, gritty, raw, gripping but perhaps most importantly, Garage is a lot of fun.
Much like the VHS era B-Movies that inspired it, Garage aims to create an experience that allows the consumer to dive deep into its world or not take it too seriously, either way, the end result being immensely entertaining. Its commitment to the look and feel of an 80’s cult horror flick shines through in many aspects, more notably in its visuals and premise.
While the game’s description is vague, the preview that I had the chance to try gave a more in-depth look at what’s going on in this underground world. Garage tells the story of Butch, an ex-drug dealer who — of course — somehow has uncovered a secret underworld while in an underground parking lot. Butch’s misfortune is soon manifested in the form of creatures, zombies, and military that are out to kill him.
You start off the game by getting out of your vehicle, with your environment hinting at the fact that you just suffered a car crash. You’re then greeted by an anonymous voice that asks you a few questions, attempting to recruit you into some sort of rescue team. Up to this point, the situation is unclear but after agreeing to join the rescue team our anonymous helper tells us we have to get on the move. Creatures and military are on the prowl and our anonymous helper emphasizes lethal force as the necessary tool if I want to survive.
This buildup happens within the first 5 minutes and I, for one, enjoyed this exchange between Butch and the anonymous voice. It takes a cliche scenario and owns it by not straying away from the roots of its inspiration. Much like a VHS horror B-Movie, the protagonist doesn’t fight against the scenario or ask deep questions, he just rolls with it. I believe this helps invoke the same feeling for the player, letting us know it’s okay to accept things at face value here — especially when the payoff is in the gameplay.
Garage’s intro begins to set the splatterpunk mood and as you follow the anonymous voice’s instructions you begin to run. As you do this you hear nothing but your own footsteps and see nothing but corpses on the ground. Then suddenly, those corpses become the zombie and creatures that the anonymous voice warned you about — and they scared the hell out of me. I quickly found a gun and — shamefuly— to my satisfaction I began blasting away, spilling guts and blood around me.
While I enjoyed shooting aimlessly at enemies, I was very surprised to see that, although this is a splatterpunk style game, every weapon gives a strategic approach to each situation. It was nice to have a reason to switch between weapons for more than just aesthetic or damage purposes. It speaks to the level of detail zombie dynamics placed into the game.
Though I was able to see a lot of action, I did end up missing out on things like puzzle solving and climbing in vehicles for example. I also can’t say that I got a true feel for traversing the underground parking lot either. What little I did explore, however, was well designed with the dark and gloomy details one would expect from a B-Movie horror inspired game.
I believe Garage has the potential to be a hidden gem, especially with it being (console) exclusive on the Nintendo Switch. The irony here is that it would probably end up with a cult following much like the VHS era B-Movies that inspired it. I want to get back to Garage when it releases on May 10th and see how it handles as a complete package.