Splatterpunk was never a genre of entertainment I expected to be represented exclusively on the Nintendo Switch. An almost exploitative form of cinema and literature popularised in the 80’s and 90’s it predominantly dealt in extreme gore that bordered on the nauseating. So to see it appear on the Switch and in an exclusive no less was first a shock, then a very pleasant surprise.
Garage comes to us from Zombie Dynamics and tinyBuild, honestly, no other publisher would bring a game of this nature to the Switch. Garage is a top down, VHS era inspired gory, violent and gloriously dark action game in the vein of something like Hotline Miami. Garage shares Miami’s penchant for trippy storytelling but quickly becomes its own beast obsessed with zombies, mutants and evil experiments.
As you guide Butch, an ex (more due to a lack of customers than choice) drug dealer deeper into Garage and plumb its depths for new weapons you encounter increasingly vile creations of horror, all to be slain through dismemberment, explosion and gun shot. Combat feels satisfying, chunky and abrupt. Butch is often attacked from the darkness and you never want to be far from a trusty Boomstick or gut busting gat. Thankfully the controls hold up to the job even if your heart doesn’t. The horror is wonderfully handled in Garage and it works surprisingly well considering the perspective, you never know what a chained up door might hide, what grotesquery, but that wont stop you breaking the lock off and kicking those doors open.
The story is a framework for the gore, as it should be. Garage doesn’t aspire to lofty heights of narrative, nor should it. It layers on some memorable moments and the characters are perfectly serviceable, giving you enough reason to push on into the next arena of destruction even if you don’t just want to paint the world red with the intestines of monsters. Frankly the moment to moment action of kicking in doors, unloading a Uzi and juggling a fire axe into a zombies brain was more than enough entertainment to keep me going. Butch’s descent both physically and mentally is fun though and certainly evokes the genre of film making the developers have been inspired by.
Garage creates a world full of evil procedures gone wrong, a visual style heavily inspired by exploitative cinema and a story just insane enough to keep you interested and almost caring about Butch, a very unlikable failure of a human. Inside that world it lets you paint a canvas of gore and grim death, the fact it’s exclusive to Nintendo’s console just blows my mind. It will surely be unique in its offering for some time and I love how incongruous it feels sat next to Mario on my device. If you want to experience a singular vision of pixelated extreme violence you really can’t do any better than Garage.
Garage was provided to us by Xbox/Tiny Build for Nintendo Switch.