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Video Game Review – Ginger: Beyond the Crystal

Platformer cuteness galore in this weeks’ video game review, as we look at the awfully sweet world of Ginger: Beyond the Crystal. Whether you’re a fan of cute games, or if you want to find a perfect title for the children in your life, this multi-platformed platformer could be the one for you. But how does Ginger hold up to the scrutiny of being a good game? Having played the title to get some hands on experience, I found there to be many positives which I’m going to share with all of you.

Overview

Developer Drakhar Studio
Platforms PC (Windows, Mac & Linux), PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Windows Release October 2016
Genre Adventure/Platformer
Price on Steam  £10.99

Review

Story

27

The Gingerians are a peaceful race who lived a relatively simple, happy life. There were elders who spoke to their Goddess who kept them all very well protected and loved. The lands were beautiful and provided the Gingerians a simple, friendly life. However one day the Goddess stopped talking to the elders, but instead, they found a young child who they named Ginger. They knew that so long as Ginger was around, their Goddess was watching over them. This proved to be the divine blessing that the people desperately needed, as one day a man came by with a crystal. This crystal was tainted and caused all of the other crystals to become tainted, causing all the portals to other worlds to stop. Now Ginger must use his divine powers to save the world he was sent to protect, restoring the crystals to their former glory and restoring the homes of the Gingerians.

Gameplay

This rock can be destroyed with a bomb.

This rock can be destroyed with a bomb.

When you first get control of Ginger, you become acquainted to the controls rather quickly. As I was playing on the PlayStation 4 version, you used the left analogue stick to move and the right analogue stick to control the camera*. Pressing L1 and R1 meant you could swap between costumes which you receive in game, all of which have different abilities. L2 opened the town map once you received it. Triangle used the costumes ability, such as the first ability which was the Bard outfit, allowing you to play your lute. Square used a charging attack, Circle used a sort of punching attack but it wasn’t as reliable as Square and X was to jump/double jump. You can combine X with Square to produce a ground-slam attack.

With the controls out of the way, the game was about going around purifying crystals. To do this, you needed to reach the end of a level. Levels were reached through portals, although you could run into enemies in the “world” areas as well. In the world areas, you are able to find quests, which really are side-quests. They are simple, often a little bit too simple. Collect 2 apples, look at the compass for two red specs which represented the fetch quest. Other quests include a race quest, where you must collect blue “urns” in an allotted amount of time and quests to beat up a specific amount of baddies.

The game is incredibly easy, even though I picked to play on the hard mode! The only real challenge I had from time to time was the “Where now?” syndrome that games of this kind are prone to. It wasn’t always obvious, even with a glowing signpost, that I was supposed to climb up specific obstacles, or to go back on myself a little bit. There was one signpost in the second portal which told me to go left and upwards… When actually, it was to go left and back down the way I came before. The signpost would have struggled to have pointed me in the right direction regardless, unless it just said “go back”. However, all things considered, this could just be interpretation of what the signposts were saying. The game is however very good at offering you a tutorial without forcing you to do it.

There were some issues with the game… I found that I clipped through quite a few things. The world itself was possible to clip through, reminiscent of the earliest times I was dealing with collision detection in games. However, given the scope of the game and how I’ve seen vastly bigger budget games suffer with clipping issues, *Ahem World of Warcraft*, I am willing to accept this. There were other issues, but these were more to do with personal opinion which I shall leave to the end of the review. In terms of gameplay, they didn’t really affect much, rather than just make me groan slightly.

*Some scenes didn’t have the camera, but instead had a fixed camera. This was typically the main stages, but the rest of the game was a more open-world environment to roam around in.

Graphics

The graphics of Ginger: Beyond the Crystal is simply beautiful to look at. It’s very cartoony and with how some of the characters were presented, I was sort of reminded of Spyro for some odd reason… I even named one of the people I spoke to “Moneybags”, as he acted as the “you don’t have enough resource to continue” character.

Audio

The music in this game is simply beautiful and oddly catchy; both me and Jake found ourselves bobbing along to the music and even humming it from time to time. That’s always a positive, especially in a very child-friendly game. The voices of the characters was a little bit simple, but then again that must have brought the file size of the game way down, to under 2.5GB. Along with the small space, the quality of the audio was top notch!

Overall

Purifying a crystal

Level complete!

By no stretch of the imagination would I say this is a perfect game. I mean, it’s a fun, cute little game that I will likely play again, but there are some issues with it that prevent me from enjoying it to its full potential. The aforementioned glitching through the world is a little bit of an inconvenience, but because the game is forgiving enough, it doesn’t bother me that much. The biggest niggle I found was in the dialogue. By all means, make it so people have to at least acknowledge the dialogue happened, but to give people a way to skip some lines, but not others (due to animations) is a big no-no to me. Just simply stop the animation to allow someone to press x to continue!

The game appeals mostly to children, although I’m sure fans of platformers will get a real rush out of it. However, since the primary focus is on the kids, you need to give them the option to press x to continue as it were, rather than to force them to either watch an animation play out or skip the whole thing. Other than this little hiccup however, the game itself is rather solid and it great fun. I’d recommend it if you’re a fan of platformer games, but be warned: This isn’t a game for the hardcore. Rather it’s a simple little title which at £10.99 on Steam isn’t too badly priced. You get plenty of content for the amount you pay and it looks stunning.

As always, we now pass over to you. What do you think of Ginger: Beyond the Crystal? Do you think the childish charm to it is beneficial, or do you think it should be a little bit more serious? Do you think the easiness should be tightened up, or is it nice to have a simple game to play from time to time? As always, leave your comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit.

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