Finally, an army of zombies has shown up in 16-bit fashion on the Nintendo Switch. Garage, one of the titles we’ve seen on the Nindies showcase, officially released on the eShop last week and aims to fulfill the itch of twin-stick shooter fans with an added apocalyptic twist. Does Garage’s attempt at horror come from its brilliance, or its lack thereof?

The game starts with Butch, a sleaze-bag drug dealer, waking up out of a trunk of a car. There’s an immediate eeriness in the opening areas of the game to set the tone of the zombified underground mall you’re about to traverse through. Blood, broken lights, smashed TVs, corpses, and other carnage paint the scenery for what’s to come. They all do quite a bit of their own storytelling as well. Reading scattered documents and checking the dimly-lit monitors along the way will inform you more of the mall owners, Smith Investments, and the lore behind what’s happened.

Combat can feel great at times, but also can feel annoying depending on what enemies you’re trying to mow down. Believe it or not, rats are the most annoying enemy to take down in this game. Sometimes they’re hard to see, and you can only kill them by stomping on them with a kick. Your kick animation is a bit slow, has terrible reach, and takes up a lot of stamina, so whiffing a kick means you’re going to get a beat down from a horde of zombified rats. To be blunt, it’s extremely annoying. I even found certain boss encounters to feel “cheap”, even on the normal difficulty setting. There’s a huge difference between something being difficult and mechanically unsound, and Garage has more than a few good examples of that through its gameplay.

However, you begin gaining new items in a similar fashion to the latest DOOM game. For instance, once you obtain the axe for the first time you’ll encounter a larger swarm of zombies. This is the game telling you that you’ve become more powerful and can survive in combat stronger than before. Except for rats though. They still need to be stomped. Other mechanics are introduced to, such as being able to chop chains off locked doors with the axe instead of having to find a key. It’s nice to see they added some utility to the weapons like that outside of combat.

Outside of storytelling and combat is exploration. Finding nooks and crannies will help you find keys that you need to move further into the underground mall. They’ll lead you to bigger and worse zombies, brutal bosses, and trippy hallucinogenic scenarios. Some of the art design during those trips moments really stood out, but they also got in the way at times. Some paths became unclear, and enemies would appear at strange times that felt completely unpredictable. Again, it was something that became more frustrating than anything and took away from the experience.

Something I would’ve liked to see was more HD rumble implementation. This game is a part of the Nindies showcase and deserves the attention of the entire machine that is the Nintendo Switch. Getting a good feel of some of various explosions and impact in this game’s action would’ve added a lot to what Garage is striving to do.

My first hour of diving into Garage was extremely promising, but as time went on the honeymoon phase quickly began to fade. Tearing apart zombies and snagging new weapons from a top-down perspective made me feel like I was preparing myself for a recipe of DOOM mixed with an adventure feel from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. In that sense, the game serves its purpose, but Garage ends up being just another average take on the overly saturated slew of apocalyptic zombie survival games we’ve seen over the last decade with an added touch of a twin-stick shooter.