Ginger: Beyond the Crystal is described as “an adventure platformer in which you have to rebuild and restore balance to a world devastated by the explosion of a mystical crystal.”
Ginger is a platformer that has so much potential to be a good game, but unfortunately due to terrible camera angles and glitchy/repetitive gameplay, Ginger falls short of being average.
If you can get past the terrible voice acting and poorly written story that greets you at the start of Ginger, you will begin your quest. You are tasked with saving your people after the Crystals that keep everyone safe somehow become corrupted. Your objective is to travel to strange levels and purify crystals by completing oddly mundane tasks given to you by a guardian type creature. It may be to bring a rodent 3 pieces of cheese so he can open a location for you or even gather 3 apples for a strange creature to eat so he/she will open a gate for you. I never felt any sense of purpose for these fetch quests, and they certainly didn’t line up with the story in any way. You then travel back to the main “hub” and use crystal shards you collect to save the Gingerians. You also collect supplies during your playthrough to rebuild the towns. I never really got a good sense of why I am doing this or if I gained anything of any importance by doing so. While I spent my supplies on re-building, I never felt like I wanted to go out of my way to fix every destroyed house/building. I have no problem looking past a mediocre story in games, as long as the gameplay makes up for it…
Ginger’s gameplay starts off pretty ok. You start in town and for the most part you have free movement as well as camera control. A slight bother was that the controller starts off inverted, which is not for me. I paused the game to go into the controls to reverse them and I noticed that there was not a setting section in the pause menu. So I annoyingly had to restart the game and change the control at the main menu. Just a slight annoyance.
For the most part, the general world controls are pretty solid with the occasional scenery getting in the way. Nothing you haven’t experienced in countless other games. Where they lose me is when you enter these “Levels”. You enter a mirror growing out of a plant like creature and are immersed in a new and strange world. You also enter this world with a fixed camera – and I do mean fixed. You cannot adjust the camera at all. That also includes when you have to go backwards in a level to get something you may have missed or for a new task you have been assigned. This means you are often walking/running blindly into walls, items and enemies. So you will be frustratingly taking damage and dying in a situation that you should not have to be in at all.
This brings me to another point. I don’t know who this game is for. Is it for kids? No it is not. On the surface you would think it would be, cute characters, kiddie music, etc. But this game slowly builds to a difficulty that is hard even for me. Not necessarily in the sense you may be thinking. As an example, there are a few levels in the game that launch you into a timed run in which you must complete several tasks. No problem, right? WRONG. There is very little direction given, and there are no maps accessible inside these levels. So you sometimes have to attempt a level multiple times just to figure out where you need to be going. So is this for adults? I don’t know. I do know that it is not for me. Maybe if you are a die hard platformer, I supposed it could be for you.
Now I want to get to the glitches. Yes, I understand that games sometimes have glitches, but the ones present in my playthrough actually affected my gameplay experience. There would often be times where the game couldn’t keep up with what was happening on screen. You would jump and kind of just hang there for a second, or trying to pull up the map would freeze the screen temporarily. I can forgive those, I mean I’ve played Assassins Creed, so I am familiar with glitches. The ones I have zero tolerance for however are the ones that cause you to take damage or die. I frequently found myself taking damage because my character would enter a room or come through a tunnel and while the game tried to catch up, I would pop up right on top of an enemy and get hit before i even had control of my character.
The things that work for me
I hate to come off across so negative, so I want to touch on the things I do like in Ginger. During the course of the game you will unlock different costumes for Ginger to wear. Each costume gives him different abilities. For example The Wizard can use magic to move items. The Dragon breathes firs to light pots, etc…. It reminds me of Little Big Planet, which I love.
The game really shines the first couple time you experience entering a corrupted crystal. You are launched into a very impressively looking puzzle type level. Jumping across moving platforms in a very well designed environment. The best part….. You have control of the camera again!! Hooray! This makes navigating the level a joy, and much easier than the level you would have just had to complete to unlock this. Unfortunately, after about the 3 or 4th level like this, they all start to blend together again. Then you are just left with another tedious task. The controls are not in your favor either, as the responsiveness will often lead you to fall of objects when you clearly should have jumped even though you pressed the jump button.
Overall, Ginger: Beyond the Crystal falls short of being a game I can recommend. It’s frustrating and confusing. The level design is intriguing but doesn’t shine through the terrible controls, glitches and lack of direction.
Ginger: Beyond the Crystal was reviewed on Xbox One using a code provided by the publisher. You can read additional information about PSVG’s review policy on our disclaimer page here.