Ginger: Beyond the Crystal (PlayStation 4) Review

By Thom Compton 24.02.2017

Review for Ginger: Beyond the Crystal on PlayStation 4

It might sound crazy to think about depending on your age, but games used to be really simple. The controls used to be just enough to get the point across, i.e. B to jump, A to shoot. Missions were about engaging the player quickly, due to graphical and storage limitations. Of course, as those limitations have fallen away, missions have become bigger, and controls have gotten more complex. Ginger: Beyond the Crystal aims to take us back to that middle point, when the graphics were bigger, but the missions remained quick and simple. How close does it manage to bring that sensation to the modern age?

Ginger: Beyond the Crystal will, at first, give off a strong resemblance to the early Rare games, like Banjo-Kazooie, but it actually feels much more in line with Super Mario Galaxy. After a cataclysmic disaster, several villages have been destroyed. You must venture to each of these villages, completing levels within to restore crystals. Supplies will also be grabbed in these levels to rebuild houses around each village.

Gems can be collected in each of the small levels, allowing players to "rescue" - or more aptly, buy - the freedom of other citizens. Other than this, you can complete incredibly short side missions, grabbing floating items for townsfolk, or killing monsters. This is pretty much par for the course, as every level, every side mission, and every collectible run is incredibly short - and it's fantastic, at least at first. In short, Ginger: Beyond the Crystal is simple fun.

For instance, an early side mission has players grabbing apples for a village denizen. If you dilly dally, this may take all of three minutes. The gratification comes from the almost instant reward you receive upon accepting the request. Levels follow suit, rarely being longer than 10 to 15 minutes. While it's simple fun, it does come at a price. As the game is so simple, it's also incredibly easy. The controls are perfectly fine, but the actual gameplay never feels particularly challenging. In fact, deaths come mostly from the game's poorly designed collisions.

Screenshot for Ginger: Beyond the Crystal on PlayStation 4

Players will sometimes find themselves making direct contact with an enemy, only to fail to hit them and instead take damage. Because there's no way to heal, this will lead to a lot of relatively unfair deaths, despite how easy the game actually is. There are also bite-sized, relatively speaking, levels where platforming across giant blocks in the sky requires tight timing. Unfortunately, you might find yourself jumping through platforms, and even falling through them for no reason. It's a tough blemish to overlook, as almost every death incurred will be due to the shoddy collision detection.

Still, Ginger: Beyond the Crystal is a lot of fun. The building of houses is surprisingly uninvolved, being mostly about collecting the materials and then selecting the type of house you want to build. No customisation, just selecting a house and pressing go. It's all about how it factors into the journey, and it adds to the overall happiness the townsfolk have. This is the central point, and it makes the game an infinitely more positive experience than similar titles. It's just not going to deliver a challenge, and as a result, will suffer a lot.

Artistically, the game is fairly unimpressive, although it does have a certain "cute" quality to it. It never really wows, though, instead hanging its hat on being bite-sized cuteness. Frankly, this is what many will remember Ginger: Beyond the Crystal for. As fun as it is, it seems to stick with what makes it fun throughout its entire journey, never really evolving in any real way. It starts off trying to be a retro game that is more inspired by the 90s, and remains stagnant throughout. It seems content with what made it fun at the beginning, and never asks much more of itself as time goes on. Don't overlook Ginger: Beyond the Crystal, but don't expect it to change how you feel about 3D platformers.

Screenshot for Ginger: Beyond the Crystal on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Ginger: Beyond the Crystal is great, but whether you'll like it comes down to whether or not you're okay never feeling challenged. Once the basics are down, it's the same experience throughout. While there's definitely some technical issues, it's still a solid title any fan of 3D platformers should take a crack at - but if you need a game that will evolve as you progress, this isn't going to scratch that itch.

Developer

Drakhar Studio

Publisher

BadLand Games

Genre

3D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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