When I first laid eyes on Badland Games’ Ginger: Beyond the Crystal, I thought I was going to be playing a beautifully crafted platformer that played as wonderful and fun as it looked. Then I played it and all those hopes fell apart as I tried to make my way through the broken gameplay and framerates issues that shatter this great looking gem which could’ve been a diamond in the rough for the indie game genre.
The plot follows a young alien-looking thing named Ginger, who was apparently born from a magic goddess that watches over the alien-like people and their world. One day something causes the goddess to stop communicating with her people and breaks all of the crystals she made to give life to the word. So now it’s up to Ginger and his special suit the goddess made for him to fight off baddies and save the world by collecting the crystal fragments and making them and the lands whole again.
While this is already a nice challenge in itself, it is made even more difficult by the sluggish and useless controls, as they’re the kind where as soon as you start playing, you know things are only going to get worse from there. You have a regular and special attack, as well as a jumping attack and dash move. The thing that makes these attacks next to useless is that you have no way of telling if they connect or not when you’re hitting the enemies thanks to terrible hit collision. So more times than not you’re taking damage from colliding into them instead of hitting them. This coupled with the horrendous framerate that is always constantly dipping and dropping is sure to make most who play stop right here. But for those who are masochists and wish to continue, I’ll go into the game a bit more.
There are three hub-like levels you’ll have to walk, talk and quest your way through RPG-ish style in the ten stages that lie within them. Good luck trying to achieve any of these things though, as they would’ve already been a pain if the game wasn’t broken. Oh did I mention that when you talk to the characters throughout the lands that you can’t skip through or proceed through the dialogue until their talking/moving animation finishes? Yeah, fun times abound here.
While it is mostly gloom and doom here, I will go into the best part of the game, the graphics. When I first saw it, I immediately thought of classic titles such as the recent Rayman ones and even The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker, all which look fantastic as this game does. Everything looks fresh and fun until you start playing, which to me is the ultimate letdown for any great looking game. It’s like seeing someone you think could be your soulmate for life, only to find out they’re a slimy, squid-like monster wearing a beautiful skin suit. The audio is okay but it’s a bit sparse with basic filler sound effects and so-so music playing here and there.
I really wanted to like Ginger: Beyond the Crystal, as with a lot of polish and work, this could be a really fun and gorgeous looking platformer. But in its current state, it’s a laggy, sluggish mess with constant framerate issues that will drive even the most hardcore platformer enthusiast away in tears. Until some serious patches come along for it, this is one shattered crystal you don’t want to step on.