You awaken to the smell of death. It’s a concoction of blood, oil, gas, and fire. It seems like something terrible has happened. Your vision is a combination of hallucinations and corpses. Before you know it, the corpses are reanimating and becoming something you never thought possible: a zombie. You find yourself surrounded by the undead. Zombies, mutant rats, and other grotesque creatures scurry about the place. You realize you are trapped inside a smoldering parking garage. Trapped, you must find a way out of this barbaric and terrible hellscape.
This is Garage from tinyBuild games. Garage is a unique take on top-down shooters as it infuses survival-horror elements with melee and ranged combat. Set within a parking garage and borrowing heavy inspiration from 1980’s B-Movies, Garage is a refreshing take on the genre and one that will challenge the player.
Garage puts players in a challenging situation. The player’s character awakens with barely any memories. injured, he needs to escape the wrecked parking garage that is many floors below ground. Brief traces of communications from television reveal something terrible happening throughout the city. What matters most is escaping this concrete tomb and making it to the surface. Along the way, players will need to procure weapons and items, and also use wise resource management to conserve ammunition and health.
The first thing players will notice is Garage sports an immersive presentation, which is impressive for a top-down shooter. The player will see CRT lines attempting to replicate the fuzzy details of the older CRT televisions of the ’80s. There is a strong amount of pixelated detail and good lighting, though, at times, the game can be a little too dark. The sound effects are sharp as well, evoking a strong, uneasy atmosphere.
Initially, players will not have any weapons, only able to kick away rats trying to knaw at their feet. Eventually, players will gain access to an ax, which will be useful in taking down zombies. From there, players will have access to guns and grenades, strewn about from the various cars that lay wrecked within the parking garage. Players will be able to access the usual lot of weapons, such as pistols, shotguns, and other firearms. From there, players will have to watch their step, conserve their ammo, and continue combating the nightmare in front of them.
Once players get past the slow start, Garage opens up into a sharp and riveting experience, one fraught with horror, disgust, and white-knuckle gameplay. What faces players isn’t just endless waves of mindless zombies, but incredible repulsive monsters. Garage is not afraid to showcases some truly horrendous creatures, including a Human Centipede inspired boss with, was rather challenging to put down.
The zombies can take a significant amount of damage as well. Bullets are effective, but it is best if they are saved for larger encounters, leaving players to rely on melee attacks. The particle effects are quite spectacular as well, as zombies and monsters are shredded in bloody, gory deaths. Garage compounds the combat experiences with a pulsating score and wise use of lighting, truly evoking the sense of dread and terror from an 80’s movie.
The story even evokes such strangeness, with strange poot details, conspiracy, and even hallucinations with deceased characters. In one instance, the players’ character ingests drugs. He begins seeing his deceased father, a veteran, and the entire stages completely changes color, warping and distorting with a plethora of colors. At one point, players have to fight enemies with this visual style, which was challenging, but incredibly refreshing. Garage provides a dynamic change in the zombie-slaying genre and that is to be commended.
Perhaps my only gripe would have to be perhaps making the game a bit too dark. Not in content, but in the visual style. There were times that I had trouble seeing what I was supposed to be doing. However, I can understand that this is to evoke a challenging atmosphere for the player. A horror game cannot evoke horror if does not make the player feel vulnerable, which Garage successfully manages to do.
With Resident Evil 2 has just launched, it may difficult to look at other zombie-focused games. but I cannot recommend Garage enough for taking the genre and approaching it differently. It’s gameplay mechanics are well refined and its presentation is meticulously detailed to call back to another generation of horror, and it works to great effect. Garage is a bloody good time on the Nintendo Switch, whether at home or on the go.