Just when you think certain genres are past their time, developers continue to bring gamers back to an older age of gaming. One of these genres is the 3D platformer, gaining notice through designers Rare with such classics as Banjo-Kazooie, Conker’s Bad Fur Day and Donkey Kong 64. Basically all those Nintendo 64 games that you used to play when you called in sick...or still do...I don’t judge.
I digress. Ginger: Beyond the Crystal is a 3D “puzzle” platformer that calls back to the days of the N64. I stress the word puzzle because there basically are none; the hardest thing I came across in the form of a puzzle was running from one side of the map to activate a switch and then running to the other side to progress. Hardly The Talos Principle but I’m not going to dock it marks. For you see, I’m almost certain that this game was made for the younger audience.
The character designs, the storytelling aspect and the real lack of any enemy challenge screams eight and up. That being said, I had an overall decent time playing Ginger. Despite the lacking from what was mentioned above, I enjoyed the story for what it was, simple but effective, and the character designs all have that “cuteness” about them that works well in the setting the game is going for. That setting being the ‘mystical land of mystic.’
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows though. When playing, I found Ginger had some real difficulty running on the PS4. The bugs and screen-tearing really took me out of the experience, and considering the type of game this is, such issues are quite shocking to say the least. Every time I started up the game, I had to fight with the environmental textures popping in. It it wasn’t just at the start though, this also occurred whenever I teleported into a level or started fighting more than four enemies at a time. Needless to say, it’s definitely not something that should be taken lightly.
Speaking of which, the gameplay of Ginger: Beyond the Crystal continues the tradition of 3D platformers in which one attack can defeat all the enemies. Jump, jump, square, next level. I felt kinda bad for the developers, they had put in a lot of effort to have multiple attacks like uppercuts and dashes, but I found the master solution right off the bat and was on my merry way. Also, on the topic of enemies in Ginger, I’m not entirely sure why the people and creatures attacking you are attacking you? The story shows that a magic crystal protecting Ginger’s land shatters and begins launching it’s shards across the land, and with this, evil...happens. There’s no real reason for any enemies to exist at all, but I suppose it wouldn’t be interesting if you just ran around and collected shards without any sense of challenge.
I should probably be clear in the fact that this isn’t really a bad game, it’s just mediocre. A run of the mill affair that, from time to time, does what it set out to do. It has its issues but is still worth getting into if you're a fan of the aforementioned Rare style of game. What could have actually really helped Ginger in the long run is a multiplayer focus, either local or online. This really feels like a title that could have excelled more if you a had buddy alongside you, sort of like what Journey did but actually sticking together throughout the whole game.
All in all, Ginger: Beyond the Crystal is a decent 3D platformer that, despite running problems and a lack of depth and challenge, manages to use what it has to craft a fun experience for players/fans of the genre.
Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.
Ginger: Beyond the Crystal tries to revisit the golden age of Rare-style 3D platforming but instead falls a bit short of the mark due to a lack of depth and engagement.