Title: Play builder garage
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Release date: June 11, 2021
Play builder garage is something that just came out of left field for Nintendo, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. With Super Mario Maker 2 No longer receiving much more support, this could be the next best thing for Switch owners, especially on the creative side, to get their hands on.
GBG is first and foremost a game creation tool, as it offers a very digestible hands-on experience with basic programming. Think of it like working with flowcharts, but fun and interactive. The game has two modes from the start: one is Interactive Lessons mode and the other is free programming. The latter is the place where you will create your own games, but also where you can download the creations of others.
What the game has to offer is what you make of it. With the creativity of the community and yourself, there can be almost endless possibilities. Take inspiration from all the games you’ve played before and try to make your own. The interactive lessons mode of the game gives you a very solid overview of the features, widgets and the mechanics of things. It’s a tutorial mode that puts a lot of tutorials from other games to shame, again programming is involved so all of this information is crucial.
You will be guided by your very loyal Nodon buddies. It is these colorful creatures that help you through the process and act as the various widgets in your designs to give functionality. The whole presentation of this game is very geared towards children who are interested in programming. Everything is very cute and colorful. The wording of this game has an appeal for those with a first grade reading level.
Interactive Lessons Mode will give you an idea on how to make platform games, racing games, shooting games and puzzle games. They probably last as long as a class period in elementary school, so you know there’s definitely a lot of teaching, practicing, and testing along the way. You can always refer to these lessons, or to Alice and Bob in the menus as you go!
Unfortunately, Free Program mode is not selectable until you complete the initial tutorials in Interactive Lessons mode. The tutorials aren’t too complicated, but for people like me who aren’t the most creative, it can be a bit of a control feature. I tinkered with the creation tools beyond just creating the predefined games that GBG helped me make it, but mostly I wanted to see other people’s creations.
I admit that my engagement issues are rampant when it comes to creative projects in general. I never color my drawings, I have the patience to create anything in Minecraft, or use Forge mode in any Halo Game. In general, I just like to see other people’s creations and have a relaxing time. I understand the requirement, but the free programming mode could have been split into two different modes.
I’ve found some amazing creations in this game before, including a Super Mario Kart demo created by Switch user ZeldaBoi (Programmer ID: P 000 C9K GH4). I didn’t know you could create things like that. It makes me very optimistic and excited to see what people are going to come up with next.
I think what delays the game the most is that browsing creations isn’t as easy as something like Course World in the Mario creator Games. You must manually enter a Creator ID or a specific Game ID. It makes navigation games so complicated. I want to be able to get in and out of games on the fly so that there isn’t too much downtime. Fortunately, there is some sort of fix that allows us to automatically cycle through creatives, as this manual coding system is very outdated.
Play builder garage is a very solid creation tool at its core, with very useful tutorials to help creators get the most out of what they have. This game is what you make of it. Whether you are a creative yourself or someone who enjoys browsing through the many creations of other players, there is certainly fun to be had. There are a few missing features that would definitely benefit the game in the long run if they were present. What we have is just an almost complete package. If you’ve ever played games like Minecraft, Little Big Planet, or even Media Molecule’s Dreams, there’s a lot of fun to be had.
A copy of this game has been provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with increments of 0.5. Click here to learn more about our review policy.