Garlic (XSX) Review with Stream

Described as a hot and tasty retro-inspired action platformer, Garlic is loaded with ridiculous platforming goodness. It rides a firm line between being too difficult and being too easy, has a creative visual presentation, and quality stage design. For an indie platformer, this is easily one of the best I’ve been in a good while.

You play as some dude with an onion for a head and wants to climb a tower to meet a goddess.  Reaching the top will be a challenge as there are hazards, enemies, and bosses along the way. The gimmick comes from Garlic’s dash ability. With one button to jump and another to dash, the player can instantly move in eight directions. Uniquely, some hazards will instantly kill Mr. Garlic, such as spikes or a pool of acid, but he can actually take a hit from lesser attacks like bumping into enemies. Taking a hit results in a short cool down period in which the dash ability isn’t accessible and sometimes results in visually comedic set pieces, like having Garlic’s head swell to insane sizes or running with his pants on fire like Wario.  Being able to take a hit without having to collect an item is a refreshing platforming mechanic and wish more games did this.

Thankfully, the dash move and lenient health system plays to the strengths of the stage design. Jumping, dashing, wall hopping, and enemy bouncing is commonplace for any given instant and slowly grows in complexity with each passing stage. The best part, death yields an instant respawn and the checkpoint system is usually just a couple seconds back.  Enough cannot be said about the player friendly checkpoint system. Basically, clearing any tough hurdle will result in a checkpoint so dying, which will happen a lot, is rarely a burden. 

Visually, I appreciate the subtle detail in the 1-bit art style as the color scheme changes from stage to stage. Then, completely unnecessarily, the game will introduce a mini game that is unlike anything else. For example, one mini game involves a full-screen detailed anime looking Garlic walking towards the screen where the player needs to move left or right to kick cans and avoid stepping on poop.  Later, there is an isometric platforming segment that also carries its own unique art style.  These extra mini games do not need to be in the final product but so glad they are there. Not only are they a nice distraction from the main game, they look and play like entirely different games.

Through natural play, all Achievements will be unlocked in 15 minutes but found myself continuing the adventure for hours after earning all 1,000 gamerscore. It is an awesome, responsive platformer, one that was made with care, detail, and heart.  In fact, because of Garlic, I hope the next Mario platformer steals this dash ability and offers ludicrous mini-games.

Also available on pretty much everything else.

SCORE: 8.5/10

Much More Friendly Than: The Messenger

Better Than: 7 Horizons

Also Try: Mangavania

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief

Twitter: @ZackGaz

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