A world to complete, a Crystal to restore.
We need more platforming games. I’m not saying this as a want, but a need. It is nice to see the indie scene doing its best to provide players with more of these experiences when the bigger studios are letting them pass by. Drakhar studio is bringing out its creation, Ginger Beyond the Crystal, and it’s something platforming fans should take note of even with its issues.
Ginger starts with the world he knows being destroyed, cities falling, and the world needing to be restored. The crystals are necessary in restoring the world. It’s a simple story, one which goes into a bit more detail than I’m leading on with, but it’s suitable and provides the player a reason to go on the adventure, fair enough.
Price I’d Pay: $12.99
How long to beat: 5+ hours
Taking place in a hub world setting for three various locations, Ginger has to explore, restore the towns, and do a bunch of platforming to his heart’s content. To say that Ginger has taken a lot of inspiration from other platformers before it seems a given. The hub world leads to two different types of levels. The more standard, side scrolling platform levels and then the red crystal challenges that provide a gauntlet of platforming madness similar to Mario Galaxy or Sunshine stages.
The variation between the two style types add in some good variation, but even Ginger can gain access to new costumes that allow different abilities. Like a mouse that allows Ginger to shrink and move through an area or gain a collectible. Another being a lizard that allows to burn down elements. It’s a bit limited as the costume abilities only can be used at key parts in levels, but still, it’s a nice touch. Levels also have different elements from spike traps, deadly plants, or perhaps even racing to find honey. Combat also factors into the game but it feels like one of the weaker elements. Combat feels limited and not satisfactory at all, lacking any sort of satisfying feedback on fighting. Bosses feel the same also.
The soundtrack for the various levels and hub worlds has that colorful and lively feeling, which only goes to add to the visuals which are very bright and colorful as well. The various levels in the different worlds are nice to look at and take me back to the days of playing the genre on N64 and PlayStation, with big environments, enemies, and level design. The environments are nothing that strike out as wholly original in the genre but they serve their purpose.
This is a platformer at its core and those elements it does fairly well. I did notice a few times I’d fall through object or part of the environment, but it only happened a handful of times. The platforming felt solid enough with a double jump, though depending on the camera, jumps can feel hard to gauge. Combat is the weak point here. The hub world is nice to explore with side quests to do, but boil down to mostly time filler fetch quests and finding supplies to rebuild the city, which ultimately just feels a bit pointless. It takes away a bit from the focus on the levels and platforming.
Issues mentioned, I have been having a great time with Ginger Beyond the Crystal, warts and all. It’s got a lot of little issues or oddities, but it hard charm and heart, and at the center of it all is a decent platforming title.
Favorite moment: Unlocking more levels and the classic platforming feel I miss from the genre.
Worst moment: The various little quirks. Combat also doesn’t feel good.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.