Title: Game Builder Garage
Genre: Educational, Training
Released: Jun 2021
Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch
Overall Score: 7/10
At some point in our lives, we’ve all played a game that has left us in awe and wonder. When a game gives us endless hours of fun in the palm of our hands you can’t help but think how does all whole pixel world fit in a tiny cartridge? For those that don’t speak the language of code game design, it seems like an impossible task. Enter Nintendo’s new Game Builder Garage a charming sneak peek into how our beloved games began: as 1’s and 0’s.
Programming language is not easy to learn, especially when it looks like a daunting mix of complex math and something out of a sci-fi movie. Luckily, Game Builder Garage takes the complexity out of coding by visualizing it as fun expressive characters called Nodons.
The game offers two modes: tutorials and programming mode where you can either take your time to learn how to fully use all the tools the game provides or jump right into the action and start creating your gaming masterpiece.
Tutorial mode is guided by the lively Bob, a blue dot who guides you step by step on how to create the games. He’s a great teacher by the way! His counterpart is a pink dot named Alice that challenges you with puzzles that show you the ins and outs and tests your understanding of the knowledge you’ve acquired.
Through the tutorials you’ll create 7 games of your own such as tag showdown, on a roll, and thrill racer. After that, anything you imagine you can create. Each game tutorial is broken down into steps that focus on different tools at your disposal. In between lessons there are checkpoints that give you a puzzle to solve to move forward.
Full disclaimer, the tutorial mode can be a bit tedious and long for older players, making them feel like they’re back in school instead of playing a game. Each tutorial can take 30 to 60 minutes per lesson to complete, and unfortunately a step can’t be left until completed or it will have to be done all over. For those who stick it through though, the game is highly rewarding by teaching you all the tools it has to offer to create anything in your imagination. For those interested in going into this field, this game is a fun introduction to get your feet wet in.
Just like it’s popular predecessor Super Mario Maker 2, you can share or receive games online (via a code) to lets others test your games or test your skills on someone else’s. Online features could use work as there is no way to browse other people’s creations, you would need to share the code online for others to see it and find other games in a similar fashion.
Overall, Game Builder Garage is a charming game that gives you a glimpse at how Nintendo thinks about game design. This game earns a score of 7/10 for being able to break down complex coding into fun easy to learn and use visual characters. On the other hand, the tutorials can become tedious and feel a bit like being back in school for older audiences. Even if programming isn’t your thing, for only $39.99 a lot of fun can be had taking lessons with the lively Nodons or letting your imagination run wild in programming mode.