For some reason, you don't often see new 3D platformers in this day and age. However, Ginger's here with an old-school approach to the genre so it's time to run and jump over to his world and see if it's worth the trip.
Ginger's world is devastated when a crystal explodes and thrusts the lands into desolation as all of the villagers mysteriously disappear. It's up to him to purify the crystals and rescue all of the townsfolk. To do so, you control him through 15 large stages that are divided between three unique hub areas. Tackling these stages is simple as you run, jump, and perform various attacks such as punching, ground-pounding, and dashing. This basic setup makes exploring Ginger's world a treat. It made me feel as if I was playing a long-lost original PlayStation game but with much better graphics. There is some complexity in the form of different costumes that each contain an ability such as fire-breathing to clear a path or shrinking to fit through cracks in the walls. Overall, if you're in the mood for some great old-school platforming then joining Ginger on his adventure will be sure to satisfy.
An aspect that is thoroughly well done is the visuals. The environments are filled with detail and are vibrantly colourful which makes running around even more fun. Ginger himself is an odd little blue fellow yet his exaggerated animations are rather cute to watch. The rescued villagers are equally adorable while enemies come in many different forms. On top of all this, the music is very pleasing to listen to as you traverse the expansive stages. When it comes to 3D platformers, Ginger looks and sounds top-notch.
As you work your way through the stages, you'll acquire a wealth of crystal shards and building materials. In the three hub areas, you can redeem the shards to rescue villagers and use the materials to rebuild their houses. If you ever run out then there's no need to worry because you can complete a seemingly unlimited supply of side-quests that the villagers send you out to accomplish. These mostly involve fetching items or beating up enemies but you'll be generously rewarded for your efforts. Completing main stages unlocks bonus levels that play like Wario World's although they're not as mind-warping. There's so much to do that you'll constantly be juggling between the stages and hub areas in order to unlock as many collectables as you can. It truly is a long and fruitful journey.
One part of Ginger: Beyond the Crystal that I found to be more of a chore than fun is dealing with enemies. Most of the time, you can punch them and be done with it but some enemies are more persistent and end up being a huge pain to take on. More often than not, I'd just run past enemies because I didn't want to take damage for no reason. That being said, I'd simply restart close to where I perished anyway. Next, I came across many glitches such as enemies being stuck in the ground with only the tops of their heads poking out. Nothing was game-ending but these sorts of things happened often enough that it took me out of the experience. Finally, I found having to change costumes to be very unintuitive. For the most part, these costumes serve one purpose each and you can only use them in designated spots. Therefore, you'd think that you just tap a button in order to proceed. Instead, you have to cycle through all of the costumes until you get to the right one then push the button. That's too many steps for something so simple.
Complaints aside, Ginger: Beyond the Crystal does a great job of bringing back the classic 3D platformer. It's simple, enjoyable, and long enough to keep you playing for hours while also featuring enough variety that it always feels fresh.
- + Enjoyable 3D platforming with an impressive amount of content and variety
- + Colourful world with a delightful soundtrack
- + Rewarding and practical collectables
- - Fighting enemies can be frustrating
- - Frequent glitches
- - Changing outfits is unintuitive