Ginger: Beyond the Crystal Xbox One Review

Glitches and Loading

It is easy to see that Ginger: Beyond the Crystal was inspired by great 3D platformers such as Super Mario 64, the N64 Banjo titles, and even early Spyro the Dragon games but fails on almost every mark.

Imagine if a Smurf and a Snork, cartoons from the early 80s, had a baby – this is who you play as in Ginger: Beyond the Crystal, a stupid looking curly-que alien bug thing. With no super powers, special abilities, and a goofy look, Ginger’s quest in collecting a bunch of blue wisps is doomed from the start.

This screenshot actually makes the game look good... but it is not. At all.

This screenshot actually makes the game look good… but it is not. At all.

After a very long winded opening cutscene, the goal of the game is to collect blue things and crystals to restore a few towns of their townspeople.  In order to do this, the player must run and jump through a series of poorly designed stages while using specific unlockable powers to move further into the quest.  On paper, this actually sounds like a solid gameplay formula but the end result is everything but.

If you want to see how bad this game is, watch my stream below.  At the end of the stream, the game glitched on me and I could not advance because the elevator sequence froze, leaving me to quit in frustration.

In the next world, I also encountered another game breaking bug involving a quest to find four apples. Instead of finding all four, I managed to jump over the gate that would have normally been opened once the quest was completed.  But my excitement in breaking the game was short lived because I was trapped on the other side and needed to backtrack to complete the next objective.  I actually have not played a game this buggy in a long time.

One level randomly put a jetpack on the player with no explanation. Also, fall damage didn't apply to this stage either. This game is so inconsistent.

One level randomly put a jetpack on the player with no explanation. Also, fall damage didn’t apply to this stage either. This game is so inconsistent.

Even if the player has the patience to wait through the unadvanceable dialog bubbles and atrocious load times, the player must deal with the loose controls.  The only way to adjust the camera invert option is to back all the way out to the main menu. Every so often, the game will stutter with a horrific amount of dropped frames even when the action is low.  The menu can only be navigated with the analog stick, not the d-pad. Each stage is also bigger than it needs to be as inanimate giant mushrooms, trees and rocks only get in the way.  In fact, I actually got stuck on the environment a couple of times and had to back out to the main menu to restart. Just standing on a hill and rotating the camera causes the game to stutter which is an easy sign of a broken game engine. Gathering materials to build up the town is also a tedious time sink.  Even the map screen does not give the player any indication where to go so the developers included a waypoint system ripped straight from Skyrim.

Putting the bugs and glitches aside, the player still has to wait though ridiculously long load times and the camera never cooperates. Most of the time, the player can control the camera with the right analog stick. But then there are stages that force the player into a side scrolling perspective with a 2.5D viewpoint. Not only is this inconsistent, platforming is a constant struggle because it is difficult to distinguish depth.  And simply put, each stage is not fun to play.  Jumping on rotating cubes was fun in Super Mario Sunshine because Mario had a jetpack and a wealth of acrobatic moves as his disposal.  Here, Ginger controls like a lubed up worm that can only jump, double jump, and plainly punch 6 inches in front of him.  There is no way to clamber, wall jump, bounce off foes… a bland repertoire of moves in an even duller environment is not entertaining. The ability to switch to a musician that plays Ocarina of Time-like music or a mouse that can fit into tiny spaces is an interesting idea, again on paper, but is also poorly executed and actually winds up hindering gameplay.  Is it fun memorizing eight quickly displayed music notes in a Simon-like mini game?  Absolutely not. Is it fun mindlessly attacking the same repeated enemies that cause cheap and inconsistent damage?  Hell no.  Is it fun trying to figure out where to go while getting needlessly stuck on the environment?  Of course not.

The occasional mine cart segments force the player to flick the analog stick in a weird and unresponsive way

The occasional mine cart segments force the player to flick the analog stick in a weird and unresponsive way

There are so many problems with Ginger: Beyond the Crystal that it cannot be recommended at any price point.  This is disappointing because the game’s trailer and small amount of marketing made it seem like this could have been the next Mario 64.  Instead, we got another forgettable slog covered in more bugs than the Amazon.

Not As Good As: N64 platformers
Worse Than: Gex, Bug, or even Glover
Wait For It: Mario on Switch

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief
Twitter: @ZackGaz


Our Rating - 4


Total Score

An amateur 3D platformer that aims for the stars but never gets off the ground.

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