Review | God Damn The Garden

Spanish publisher Ratalaika certainly has a reputation on consoles – namely focusing on fairly short, cheap, and unfortunately often uninspired little indie games, yet their low entry barrier and their usually quick 1000G completion (or platinum, on PlayStation) made them interesting enough for some players. This isn’t to say they don’t have their share of “bangers” – the Anodyne franchise and Greylancer, for example, are legitimately great games. Oddly named God Damn The Garden also stood out for me, offering a retro-style 3D first person presentation for a fast-paced and diabolical shooter. It’s cheap, it’s a fairly easy 1000G, it’s stylish – but is it enjoyable too?

Let’s bring it back to 90’s

The player is immediately thrown into interconnected 3D rooms, separated by doors. These areas are all made with very basic polygons and intentionally muddy textures, mimicking the style of late 90’s shooters, while also employing a game design more reminiscent of modern roguelikes. The rooms may feel basic and perhaps randomly generated, but they are crafted by hand. Most rooms contain various enemies rushing towards the players, either running or flying, or even wall-mounted demons and traps. The player’s health is limited, and in an ispired visual choice is displayed via a floating hand in the protagonist’s left hand. The playable character is a skeleton, by the way, with the game not even really attempting to give valuable lore explanations as to why.

Indeed, God Damn The Garden seems to employ an almost Family Guy-esque random humor in its exposition. The various rooms sometimes feature some weirdly big animal, from chicken to capybaras, all with their quirky expository dialogue. The player can even choose to listen to their rambling or straight up kill them, albeit an achievement encourages players not to use the latter option in their playthrough. Along with a handful of visual aspects, like an oddly placed painting in a room, there really isn’t much in terms of worldbuilding and lore. The player needs to overcome challenges and beat the final boss and that’s about it.

Bang bang, he shot me down

So how does it all play, then? It’s a very basic old-school shooter. Fast movement and complete freedom of aiming (with a generous aim assist that can be turned on, if the player desires) is basically a must, given how certain rooms can contain a dozen or so little spiders running against the player or multiple flying menaces. There’s no advanced movement options aside from the usual jumping, strafing or bunnyhopping that you may have long learned in shooters of old. Indeed, the desire for simplicity is one of the game’s main shortcomings: with a single weapon, only a handful of enemies, very similar rooms and so on, there’s just not a lot of variety, with the title losing steam well before the ending, despite being completeable in less than two hours.

There also really isn’t much else to do besides progressing from one room to another. There’s 13 somewhat hidden skeletons, scattered across the game’s limited locations, but there’s little incentive to look for them aside from the achievement that is tied their collection. The game is all in all very short, with a regular playthrough taking me just over an hour. Sure it makes sense to go back and hunt for some achievements (it’s a Ratalaika game, after all), but the game doesn’t quite have the meat to justify more hours.

Damn son, where’d you find this?

Ultimately, the shooting is serviceable enough in its old-school style, but it’s a bit wasted on braindead AIs in near identical rooms and no variety whatsoever. Despite the game lasting just about an hour or two, it somehow manages to feel stale before the end credits roll. Still, it’s a supercheap game, debuting at just under 5 dollars (or your regional equivalent) and a 20% launch discount on top. A low price doesn’t hide the game’s shortcomings, and indeed the low variety, uninspired level design and basic AI weigh against the game – yet the charming visuals and odd random humor makes it worth a quick run for hardcore shooter fans who, like me, feel the need to play everything in the genre that looks even remotely interesting. And God Damn The Garden is interesting, if flawed.

Reviewed onXbox Series X
Available onXbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo Switch
Release DateOctober 14th, 2022
PublisherRatalaika Games
RatedESRB T for Teen, PEGI 16

God Damn The Garden

4,99 EUR | 4.99 USD | 4.99 GBP (-20% launch discount)




  • Stylish retro visuals
  • Bizarre humor
  • Cheap


  • Very short
  • Almost no variety
  • Very basic gameplay

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button