Game Builder Garage Review – Building Blocks

Game Builder Garage isn’t Nintendo’s first foray into game creation software, but its previous efforts have all been narrowly focused. Super Mario Maker and its sequel gave you the tools and freedom to create your own Mario levels, while WarioWare DIY for the DS let you create and share brief microgames. Game Builder Garage, on the other hand, seems to have grander ambitions. Nintendo has billed it as a way to “learn to make games from the minds at Nintendo.” While it doesn’t quite live up to that sky’s-the-limit pitch, it’s nonetheless an impressively flexible toolkit and a charming introduction to the basics of game creation.

Fundamentally, Game Builder Garage is an expanded version of the Toy-Con Garage mode from Nintendo’s Labo kits (as evidenced by the various Labo assets featured in the software). Just as in Toy-Con Garage, “programming” in Game Builder Garage is handled by stringing input and output nodes together; connecting a B button node to a character node, for instance, will “program” the character to jump when that button is pressed. The most noticeable difference between the two is their presentation. Whereas Toy-Con Garage featured a stark black background with minimal UI, Game Builder Garage is bright and cheerful, making the software feel much more inviting, particularly for younger users.

To further help ease players into the experience, the game cleverly personifies the different nodes as beings called Nodon. These creatures come in many varieties, each representing a different mechanism or element of the game; there are Nodon that conjure specific items like apples and boxes, and others that track time and control the camera. Each type of Nodon looks and sounds distinct, which helps make it easier to remember their different functions.

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