The 3D puzzle platform genre is absolutely saturated. To stand out in this market, you have to do something unique and interesting. Collectables must be plentiful and challenges must push me to my limits. Scrap Garden is another title that tries to penetrate this much-loved genre. Does it have what it takes to be different, or will it be forgettable?
Developed by Flazm and published by ChiliDog Interactive, this is a classic 3D puzzle platform title. Using many tried and tested mechanics and tricks, I wasn’t too hopeful it would stand out from its peers. You control a bin-like robot who must collect gems, defeat monsters and bosses while saving his fellow robots. This sadly could be the plot of any game in this field, but I have to keep an open mind and remain ever hopeful.
Scrap Garden has a cute story but holds no surprises.
You are Canny, a robot that has a solar-powered energy core. The world, as you know it has shut down! A dreadful event involving the central power crystal and a dragon causes the end of robot kind. Only Canny and a handful of other machines have survived. Together, you must reconnect the four power lines, defeat the foul beast, and bring energy back to the world.
It’s a cute story full of interesting characters and humourous moments, but it’s old hat. I could have heard this story in any other game and I’d know what to expect. Even though I wasn’t captivated by the storyline, this doesn’t mean I disliked the gameplay. With a handful of worlds to explore and evil bosses to overcome, there is plenty to keep you busy. You’ll face an octopus, gorilla, worm, toad, and dragon. None of them poses much of a threat, but it was a nice change from the minor puzzles and collecting of gems.
Basic puzzles and small worlds.
Where Scrap Garden falls down is its basic concept and failure to evolve past it. There are an array of monsters to defeat, yet each follows the same movement and one hit kills them. Overcoming your foes was painfully easy and quickly became tedious. This was followed up with extremely easy puzzles that require no logical thinking to solve. Hitting a combination of buttons or moving blocks from A to B was the extent of the challenge. I desperately wanted more, but sadly, it never appeared.
These problems were then compounded by the tiny and basic worlds you explore. They increase in complexities as you progress, but they don’t amount to much more than basic jumping mechanics. I hoped that the game would explore its well-laid foundations, but the developers never pushed the game past its comfortable opening set-up.
Where Scrap Garden should have excelled was its many boss battles. Flazm had the chance to make a difficult end to each easy level, but they opted for uninspiring battle mechanics and a quick gateway to the next chapter. The simplicity of every element is fantastic for inexperienced players, but for anyone desperate for a challenge, this is somewhat lacklustre.
Scrap Garden comprises colourful worlds, nice sprites, but it’s hard to judge depth.
I liked the colourful presentation and variety of worlds on offer. The bright imagery was contrasted by the cold grey steel of the shutdown robots, and this was a constant reminder of Canny’s plight. The variety of NPC robots was interesting, and the developers have invested a lot of time to create some interesting characters. I appreciated the effort, and it stood out as one of the strongest elements. However, the ability to understand the depth and jumping between platforms was challenging. This led to many frustrating moments, and many profanities expressed. When a game is this simple, it shouldn’t be so problematic to traverse the environment.
The serious nature of the robot’s plight is emphasised in the sombre piano music. This slow-paced soundtrack accompanies much of the action. I loved its calming tones, and it suited every level. The sound effects, however, were as expected. The serviceable noises were okay, but I wanted much more. Luckily, the cutscenes between chapters fulfilled this desire. With well-delivered lines and comical undertones, it’s a welcome break from the oppressive atmosphere.
Canny completes every task with ease.
To match the simplicity of the gameplay, the control system is equally straightforward. With easy to master controls and only a few commands to issue, Canny completes each task with ease. This is certainly a title for beginners and is suited to a younger audience.
Scrap Garden also sadly lacks replay value. With limited collectables to locate and no additional gameplay upon completion, there is no reason to return. An arcade machine is located early on and this offers a fun distraction. I would have liked to have seen more of this throughout as it was enjoyable and matched the robotic theme.
Scrap Garden is a relaxing and easy game, but I wanted much more.
It was always going to be a challenge for Scrap Garden to stand out, and it failed to impress me. With lacklustre puzzles, small stages, and low difficulty, it never pushed on from its solid foundations. I enjoyed the story, the colourful characters, and the audio, but this wasn’t enough to make me fall for it. I can’t recommend it, but you can buy it here! Help Canny to save his fellow robots by going on a simple and short adventure. Kill monsters, solve puzzles, and fix the energy crystal.