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Review - GARAGE: BAD TRIP - Rat-burping cannibal corpses!

Garage Bad Trip - Shooting at lots of zombies with a turret minigun

Directed like a 80s zombie movie shot through a surveillance camera, and all tinted with vibrant and glitchy colors seen on your old beloved VCR, Garage: Bad Trip lets you explore the dark corners of an underground parking, in which you'll find yourself constantly attacked with zombies and other various mutated monstrosities. 
What the hell happened in here?

Grab your fire axe, I get my shotgun, and let's go bring freedom to these zombies!



Store Platform OVERALL RATING: 82%
Buy it on Steam PC
 + THE POSITIVE
- 90s pixel graphics with a 80s VHS horror movie vibe
- Music is on point
- Satisfying fighting once you get some guns
- Interactive props
- Most levels have secret areas!
 - THE NEGATIVE
- Story is kinda generic and boring
- Controls all float down here
- Enemy animations are a bit stiff
- Last boss is infuriatingly hard
Buy it on Nintendo.com Switch

Garage Bad Trip - two-headed dogGARAGE BAD TRIP INC.

The genre: 
Garage: Bad Trip is a top-down twin-stick "zombie horror" shooter, playing a bit like the Hotline Miami games, but less frantic, and more forgiving.

The story:  
You'll play as a lowlife drug dealer "Butch", and begin your story as you awake in the aftermath of a car accident in a parking garage.
  Amnesiac and still clueless of what happened, you discover very soon that something VERY wrong is going on, when you find your first dismembered jolly good fellow, rotting away in the middle of the road, without any shame for his uncovered private parts. 

You decide to explore this gloomy area with no - normal - people on sight, determined to figure out what happened and, if possible, to try to survive and escape this nightmare...

Garage Bad Trip - zombie running to hug you
Be careful! In this game, you shouldn't trust everybody who wants to give you a free hug!

GAMEPLAY - GOOD OLD TWIN-STICK SHOOTING🤤

  The intro itself is a bit movie-like.
You just regain consciousness after your car accident; things are blurry around you, you're badly hurt, and you can barely move. Thankfully, you find a medkit to replenish your health, and more importantly, to "recover" the controls, which are very frustrating when you're injured.

  Even when you have full health, and you're not drunk, controls always feel a bit "floaty".
It's still manageable, though, and overall, the UI is VERY well-made, easy and intuitive, and Garage: Bad Trip is the kind of game which you can learn to play in a matter of seconds/minutes.


Garage Bad Trip - chop your enemies limbs and heads with your fire axe!
In '87, Huey released this; Fore!, their most accomplished album. I think their undisputed masterpiece is "Hip To Be Square". A song so catchy, most people probably don't listen to the lyrics. But they should, because it's not just about the pleasures of conformity and the importance of trends. It's also a personal statement about the band itself. HEY, PAUL!

Note!
  Unfortunately, the game doesn't have a minimap! Levels are not huge, but there are a few situations in which it would have helped to have a minimap. Especially considering that most levels require backtracking.

  Although it's an unlikely comparison, the game made us think of a highly simplified version of either Subterrain, or Project Zomboid
(if Garage: Bad Trip feels too simple for you, check these two games, as they might be the best alternatives!)
Although it doesn't have any crafting(almost), searching, or hunger/thirst management, the slow careful progress and the fact that every enemy fight can be potentially deadly(including rats) make it feel a bit similar... 

Garage Bad Trip - punch freezers to get some juice which will replenish your health!
Punch freezers to get some juice, which will replenish your health! (After 2-3 punches, it explodes, but doesn't do damage to your character.)

  Speaking of rats, despite being the weakest enemies, they might be the most annoying ones we encountered. Basically, you have to orient your kicks EXACTLY towards the rat to kick it.
We think that making the hitbox much wider would massively improve the gameplay, though.


  EVEN on easy mode, if 2 or 3 of them manage to block you against a wall, and you fail to kick them, they'll kill you VERY FAST.
On the other hand, once you get a gun, you can ignore this problem and just shoot them, it's way easier.


Garage Bad Trip - First Boss - Rat-burping fatso with wifebeater shirt
Dude, have you ever watched the EAT LESS, MOVE MORE skit by MADTV?

  You never really run out of ammo in the game(at least in normal mode), so don't hesitate to shoot everything that moves!
Actually, that's the best advice we can give you to make your run a breeze: put some distance between you and EVERYBODY ELSE.  


  At first, you only have your bare hands and you have to go mano a mano against tough zombies. Don't worry, this will last only a few minutes. Very fast, you'll be able to craft your own fire axe, allowing you to break locked doors, and giving you the pleasure to dismember, behead, or just instant-kill regular zombies.

Garage Bad Trip - Confederate flag over car's roof
I'll give you "zombie lives matter"! By the way, nice flag, dude!

  A bit later, you get a pistol, which improves the game drastically.
And then, a machine gun, and so on...
The shooting feeling gets better as you get increasingly powerful guns!
But don't forget that precise aiming will be NECESSARY.


Garage Bad Trip - The Guns
Maybe the game could have been a bit more delirious and add crazy weapons like we see in the Dead Rising games. Overall, despite the 80s tone, it does feel too "serious".

 By the way, there's no auto-reload, and... We actually loved it.
It's just a good idea in a zombie game, and adds a bit more tension. 


  You also have an impressively fast dodge-roll skill, which will be really useful only later in the game, when you actually have to face the MILITARY. 
By the way, have you guys ever tried a dodge-roll in real-life? I know a guy who tried once to prove me that he could dodge-roll and avoid a truck rammed at full speed at him. It was a nice guy, you know.

Garage Bad Trip - When Chuck Norris farts...
Not all of Chuck Norris' farts are silent... But ALL are deadly.

  As for the story, it's remarkably non-intrusive, and it's up to you to read journals found scattered throughout the levels. Also, don't forget that you can also watch most televisions you can find during your progress. 

  There are no quicksaves in the game, only checkpoints.
In some situations, it would have actually been a good idea if it automatically saved again once you pass a checkpoint a second time. 


Garage Bad Trip - Bike mini-game
This is EXACTLY the part where I wish there was a checkpoint right before I ride the bike. The controls didn't work(see the "Note!" below) and zombies killed me in 2 seconds.

  It's not too much of a problem though, as the game is PERFECTLY balanced in our opinion, whatever difficulty setting you chose.
It never feels too easy nor too hard; the game doesn't take your hand, and yet, you're never lost. Everything is just very well polished in this area.


  The game is unfortunately quite short, even for an indie one.
Some people have claimed to finish it in 6 hours, but you can do it even faster if you speedrun a bit. 


Garage Bad Trip - Acid Trip, Dude!
Now I understand why it's called "Bad Trip", dude.

Note!
  We had a bug with the part in which we had to ride a bike.
The keyboard didn't respond at all so we died... And had to use the gamepad to be able to accelerate. Please fix this!!😉 (edit: strangely, for some people, it's the opposite??)

GRAPHICS - A HORROR MOVIE SEEN THROUGH A SURVEILLANCE CAMERA😎 

  At first, we thought the CRT TV filter combined with some VHS artefacts were a bit too extreme, but after a while, we realized that making the whole screen very "blurry" or even "smeary" makes it a bit more creepy and adds to the nice dreadful ambience.

  On the other hand, having the ability to turn it off in the options would have been nice, just to see the nice pixel art. And a few glitches are just too extreme and make your eyes hurt.


Garage Bad Trip - Nice juicy ass - I'd buy that for a dollar!
Look at these VHS buttcheeks! And yes, this is the best picture we found as a showcase for the game's graphics.

  The main character is very well animated, but the enemies, on the other hand, often look like what you would see in a flash game, almost like when you're moving a pawn over a board. 

  The color palette is actually slightly vibrant, which makes it look more like a 80s horror movie than a 2000s one, a nice touch. As for the creepy lighting, it's just perfect. You will love AND hate opening doors in Garage: Bad Trip! ha ha

Garage Bad Trip - American Psycho
Why couldn't you put the bunny back in the box?

Note!
  Although the Switch suffered from some slowdowns, the PC version we tested runned perfectly smooth!👍

MUSIC & SFX - DARK INDUSTRIAL LO-FI MIXED WITH SOME GOA TRIPS😆

  Not that original and yet quite varied, and terrifically efficient!
Without being too stressful to the point of getting annoying, it puts you on constant alert,
aware of the unknown dangers lurking in the darker spots of any room you visit...


  You'll enjoy a wide range of different tunes, from the usual slowly-evolving horror drone tones to some lo-fi industrial music, evolving later to 90s goa...
Sometimes, the music dynamically reacts to a scene, but it's not always the case.


There's no OST on Youtube, but you can listen to the music in this nice "no-commentary" gameplay video :


  Weapons sound very realistic in general, which makes them even more satisfying to use.
As for the zombies and various monsters...  Although they WILL creep you out, just adding a few more variations of them would have been great.


RATING BOX
Garage Bad Trip - Game cover

VERSION TESTED:1.0

Publisher:

Developer:

Release Date:
6 July, 2018

Genre: Shooter, Zombies

Single-player

Difficulty: Normal 


Store Platform
Buy it on Steam PC
Buy it on Nintendo.com Switch
GRAPHICS: 81%
  Although the pixel art is not spectacular, it does the job, and with the help of the convincing VHS filter, we're convinced to watch the game through a surveillance camera!
MUSIC: 84%
  Surprisingly quite varied for such a "little" game, it either scares the hell out of you with slow dark pads, or pumps you up with a few goa beats.
SOUNDS: 72%
  Weapons sound great, but monsters don't have enough variations.
Ambient SFX seems rather limited as well.
GAMEPLAY: 80%
  Too bad the game is way too short, even in this genre. Because everything works well, mechanics are satisfying, and level design is well done. Oh, and it's perfectly balanced, as we already said.
OVERALL RATING: 82%
  Despite the plethora of great twin-stick shooters, we thought that it would be just another boring clone, but Garage: Bad Trip proved us wrong, thanks to its immersive atmosphere which successfully recreates a 80s zombie movie seen through a surveillance camera.

  This game NEEDS some additional content, and then it could become a megahit.
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