If you like top-down shooters, VHS-era B-movies and the Switch, take a look at the latest gameplay trailer for Garage from studio Zombie Dynamics and tinyBuild:
Garage Switch Gameplay Trailer
You play as Butch, an ex-drug dealer who destroys zombies with axes and blasts the rest with assault rifles. Garage doesn’t take itself too seriously, then. There’s nothing wrong with that, although it’s clear that development is being taken earnestly:
“I announced Garage during tinyBuild’s HelloSwitch2 event, and we’ve been working like crazy with studio Zombie Dynamics to get the game done”. – Alex Nichiporchik.
In a nutshell, it’s a Resident Evil and Splatterpunk-inspired quirky shooter with a high difficulty and lots of blood. It’s due out on the Switch May 10th as an exclusive title – for now.
It reminds us of (no surprise), Mr. Shifty, and that’s a very good thing indeed. That game? A bit of a hidden gem if you ask me.
Retro arcade experiences have been remodelled and re-imagined since the dawn of modern indie games. Each title inherits old gameplay styles while lending new and creative ideas to the experimental games releasing under independent developers. Phantom Trigger is exactly that, bringing old school dungeon crawling elements, while the strategically smooth hack ‘n’ slash playstyle brings a much-needed breath of fresh air to the mildly stagnant, and highly saturated genre.
Starting the game as Stan, you’ve abruptly collapsed in the midst of what seems to be an ordinary morning with your wife. Awakening in a strange, dreamlike world, you venture into the unknown, meeting with the strange creatures and mysterious people who inhabit the phantom realm. Dungeon crawling takes place in a semi-isometric 2D perspective, with beautiful neon coloured pixellated graphics and detailed pixel shading. The further you advance in the game, the more you find out about Stan’s illness, and the mysterious tale begins to unfold.
Equipped with a few various weapons and abilities – such as the defensive manoeuvre to instantly dash a few paces forward, swing your trusty whip, slash your blue sword or swipe your mighty ‘phantom’ hands upon enemies, each tactic proves its own worth given the appropriate time. The dash move is self-explanatory, offering a quick “in-n-out” fighting style, keeping plenty of movement to and from the enemy. Also, this skill becomes valuable when traversing through walls and areas throughout the game.
The combat moves start off with the faithful green whip, which offensively reels in monsters, right into the hands, or blade, of the aggressive protagonist. Once found early on from the mystical talking tree, the blue blade swipes and slashes through waves of various types of enemies. Once passed the subtle difficulty curve in combat, the use of the blink dash ability and the whip’s ability to bring enemies to you sees fast-paced action that is found in few other titles to date. The one-two punch from the whip/sword combo proves a viable go-to skill for much of the modestly difficult game. The red phantom hands are found just a little further into the game, offering a mid-range ability to advance the technical abilities of Stan.
Each move carries its own combo set, increasing the action and strategy gameplay mechanics that’ll help you progress further in the game. As you gather experience points in each weapon category through fighting and defeating enemies, more combo abilities will unlock for the designated weapon, being the icy blue sword, the vine-like green whip or your flaming phantom hands. Each weapon is colour coded in green, blue and red, matching various items and enemies spread across dungeons, as well as providing elemental damage to help you place opportune strikes in the thick of combat.
Though most of the game plays the same and repeats various monsters across similar dungeons, Phantom Trigger plays comfortably and tells an eerie tale of an ordinary man trapped in a dangerous world. At the end of every dungeon lies a powerful boss, each with its own unique method of defeat, further increasing the challenge. The addictive gameplay may get a little tiresome after long sessions of gaming, but it’s moderately short story and engaging action keeps things just interesting enough to pull you through satisfied.
Playing Mr. Shifty will make you feel like a badass quite simply. The eponymous hero of the game doesn’t utter a single line of dialogue as he breaks skulls, takes names and artfully teleports his way through never-ending danger, (inside the most lethal skyscraper ever constructed). Sounds fun, right? Read on.
Across 18 short stages Mr. Shifty confronts increasingly tougher odds: shotgun-wielding guards, exploding tunnels, brutes, lasers, accountants, (we see what you did there TinyBuild) and an evil CEO that just doesn’t know when to quit. Basically, Mr. Shifty doesn’t take itself too seriously, it knows what it is, it knows what it wants to do, and that’s why it succeeds so thoroughly.
The game is so over the top you can’t help but feel a rush of adrenaline as you play it. For Nintendo Switch players, each strike is further emphasised by the built-in HD Rumble feature; punches feel like they connect with the jaws you’re hitting. Not an essential addition by any means, but it adds to the enjoyment and reinforces the point that Mr Shifty is a one-man army. When he gets into the flow of things, that is.
Make no mistake, Shifty isn’t immortal. The depth of the gameplay comes in the rhythmic flow of combat. As the player it’s your job to judge when to shift, and how much to shift. Shift at the wrong time and you’re dead. Shift too much and leave yourself out in the open? It’s a shotgun in the gut for you. There are no second lives here, you will die over and over again. Most importantly though, you’ll want to try again.
Once you begin to master the timing of the shift, you’ll need to smack down your enemies in the precious few seconds you get. In the later levels of the game especially, the fast-paced gameplay goes something like this: shift, punch, punch, shift, shift, collect weapon, broom over the head, shift through a wall, recharge your ‘shifty meter’. To add to this, when you take out enough goons in a row, Mr. Shifty auto-engages his ‘shifty slo-mo’. This serves as the only lifeline the game will give you, allowing you to get caught in a spray of bullets and still come out alive.
While this non-stop action is going on, Mr. Shifty’s excellent soundtrack pulses on in the background, adding to the sense of rhythm and badassery. It repeats over the course of the game, so you can expect to have the songs firmly in your head after your first few play sessions. You can check out the video below for a taster of what’s on offer in the audio department.
The top-down visuals are simple, yet stylish in Mr. Shifty. Crucially, they allow you to see your enemies coming in from all angles as you form your plan of attack, and get ready to dance with your fists. Looking across the levels, by adjusting the movable camera, can be the key to survival as you weigh up which direction to shift through the skyscraper’s many rooms and halls. Often, this means you can outflank goons and eliminate them without retaliation.