Game Info:

Ginger: Beyond the Crystal
Developed by: Drakhar Studio
Published by: Badland Games
Release date: October 24, 2016
Available on: PS4, macOS, Windows, Xbox One
Number of players: Single-player
Genre: Platformer
ESRB Rating: E for Crude humor and mild fantasy violence
Price: $14.99
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you Badland Games for sending us this game to review!

The world was once peaceful and a goddess protected the tiny blue villagers as they brought gifts to her stone idol. Not long ago, the goddess stopped talking to the villagers and bestowed upon them an infant named Ginger.  When Ginger came of age, his village and others nearby were devastated by an attack on the crystals that have been corrupted and scattered across the land.  It’s up to Ginger to cleanse the crystals and to restore the towns who are missing their inhabitants.

In order to rescue villagers and rebuild towns, Ginger will have collect blue crystals and building materials throughout his adventure.  The blue crystals act as a currency to rescue villagers and to buy accessories to cheer them up after the trauma they’ve been through.  Another way to make them happy is to rebuild their houses that have been destroyed in the chaos.  In order to rebuild their houses and other buildings you’ll need to locate items such as wood and rocks.  Sometimes they can be found scattered throughout the land, but another way to earn these resources is by completing quests.

Ginger: Beyond the Crystal

Strong Points: Cute characters and a decent variety of levels and challenges; nice background music
Weak Points: Forced camera views; clunky battle system; loading screens
Moral Warnings: Cartoon violence; Druid religion references; Halloween and undead themes; magic use

Besides cleansing crystals, Ginger can be kept busy by completing tasks for the villagers.  The quests usually consist of fetching various items, defeating nearby monsters, or winning a timed race.  The compass-like interface on the bottom of the screen makes it easier to find the items needed for the fetch quests, although it can only track the resources required for one quest at a time.  Because of this limitation, you may only want to accept one quest at a time.  

Before moving onto the next town, the current one must be fully cleansed of its evil by purifying all of the red crystals into blue ones.  There are two red crystal level types; one method is when a red crystal appears in a town you can jump into it to enter a 3D platforming challenge.   Typically, you’ll have to cleanse several red crystals that are on floating platforms, which are surrounded by several spinning and rotating ones to navigate through.

The other method of cleansing red crystals involve going through portals to enter various themed areas like a volcano, a crypt, and a mine to name a few.  These areas have one crystal to cleanse but getting to it requires appeasing or defeating a guardian/boss of some sort.  These areas typically have sections that are only available if Ginger has the appropriate outfit/ability.

Ginger: Beyond the Crystal
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 78%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 3/5

Morality Score - 83%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 3.5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Throughout his journey, Ginger will rescue people who will grant him special powers.  For example, a minstrel will give him the ability to  play a lute to unlock gates by repeating a simple musical melody puzzle.  Another ability he’ll acquire is to change into a mouse to access areas that he would normally be too big to enter.  To extend the gameplay time you’ll have to go back to previously explored areas to access and open chests that were not available to you previously.  Another option to extend your gameplay time is to try the hard/old-school mode that transforms the checkpoints to mere healing stations. With some of the timed puzzles, I’m happy with my choice of playing this game on the default/normal difficulty.

Fans of many classic 90’s style 3D platformers will find much to like in this colorful and cute game.  Overall Ginger: Beyond the Crystal is well polished, but there were some noticeable slowdowns on my Xbox One.  The soundtrack is exceptional and sets the mood nicely.   The voice acting consists of gibberish which some may find cute.

Though this game is relatively safe for children to play, they may get flustered at the difficulty and skills required to complete the spinning platform challenges.  On the moral front, there are several references to druid beliefs and goddess worship.  Ginger can wear a magician outfit, which grants him the ability to cast magic spells.  Lastly, some of the levels have undead enemies and Halloween themes. 

If you like challenging platformers and don’t mind the worshipping of goddesses and crystals, then Ginger: Beyond the Crystal is bound to entertain you for a bit.  The price is a reasonable $19.99, but I’d hold off for a sale just in case the jumping and timed puzzles aren’t your thing.   

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