By: Jeff Cater
Ginger: Beyond the Crystal is a platforming adventure game from BadLands and Drakhar Studios where you assume the role of a cute, blue hero that the game draws its name from.
As Ginger, you must repair your homeland as it was destroyed by a nearly cataclysmic event involving the crystals that keep the land healthy. Now, being a harsh red color, the remaining crystals have mustered their energy to summon their goddess to give a message to Ginger and get her adventure started!
In order to save your village, and essentially the universe, you will collect crystal fragments scattered about the land. These are generally collected by completing platforming puzzles and dispatching enemies. After completing a stage you’ll return to the hub world to check on your fellow villages that will reward you with quests and other cool things as long as you keep them happy!
In order to lift a villager’s spirits, you must rebuild their homes (often from the ground up) and rebuild and upgrade the other facilities of the town. Unfortunately, the system has little depth, and upgrading a building only seems to provide a citizen with more happiness rather than any additional cool bonuses.
Rescuing villagers that are lost while out on your adventure is where the real reward lies, however, as you’ll earn new outfits that allow you to access previously barred areas or perform special actions. I personally liked this mechanic a lot and wished that it was expanded upon a bit more rather than being mostly relegated to back-tracking moments in the main adventure.
When it comes to strict platforming, Ginger works quite well, and when the frame-rate is cooperating, the controls feel nice and responsive. Stage design and puzzles are wonderful fun to contend with, but they’re sadly dragged down by the combat.
Ginger’s basic attack might as well be her just rubbing her nose on an opponent. While you can perform a dash attack that’s much more effective, dashing everywhere during a melee gets pretty stale. While the control scheme is easy enough to figure out it often feels like there’s a bit of unintended latency between inputs. This wouldn’t be too terrible to work around while playing, but the frame-rate also bogs down all… of… the… time…
This, of course, can lead to enemies getting extra hits placed on you or causing you to miss a crucial jump. The graphics aren’t bad, but they certainly aren’t stupendous enough to overshadow how poorly the game can run.
Ginger: Beyond the Crystal has a lot of heart, but it’s an unfortunate case of poor optimization. I feel as though this game could’ve been a lot better had the graphics engine been tweaked before release. In its current form Ginger is an enjoyable game in a genre that’s received little attention over the last few years, but its technical issues significantly hamper the experience.