Review Of Nintendo’s Game Builder Garage
Game Builder Garage allows you to make your own Nintendo games in a fun and interactive way, but how good is it? Check out our review here.
Nintendo is helping game lovers bring their own ideas to life with Game Builder Garage for the Nintendo Switch.
From a 3D platformer, high-speed racing game, or side-scrolling alien blaster and lots more, kids and adults alike can learn the basics of programming logic, step-by-step in a fun and interactive way. Once mastered you can then use what you’ve learned to create your own games and share them with the world!
We were kindly gifted the Game Builder Garage Game and a Nintendo Switch to play it on, for the purpose of an honest review. Here is what our team thought.
Disclaimer: We were kindly gifted the game for the purposes of an honest review. This post contains an affiliate link (see here).
Review Of Nintendo’s Game Builder Garage
We are a house of big Nintendo fans, and my sons Nintendo Switch Light is one of his most prized processions. One of the kids favourite games is Super Mario Maker 2, a game where you can create your own Super Mario course.
We were therefore very excited when asked to check out Nintendo’s Game Builder Garage, which lets you build a whole host of different games and even create your own.
Here is everything you need to know about Nintendo’s Game Builder Garage and what we thought.
What Is Nintendo’s Game Builder Garage?
Game Builder Garage is a Nintendo Switch Game designed to help game lovers of all ages learn how to make their own games. The game takes you through a series of lessons to allow you to build a whole host of games from simple platform games, to escape rooms with puzzles, before moving onto designing and making your own games.
What Age Is Nintendo’s Game Builder Garage For?
Game Builder Garage is designed for those over seven years old.
How To Play Nintendo’s Game Builder Garage.
You would be forgiven for thinking that a game that allows you to build platform and racing games might be hard to play. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The game is split into two sections Interactive Lessons and Free Programming. The Interactive Lessons are broken down into seven different sections which show you how to build a different type of game such as platform, racing, shooting, puzzles etc. You have to work through each of these lessons in order before moving on to the next.
Before you start with the game lessons you begin with Programming 101 and a Check Point which provides an interactive explanation of why you need to programme games. You are set the task of getting a character to reach an apple which is suspended in the air. Working your way through a series of questions with multiple choice answers you are shown that you need a character and that it needs to be able to jump, therefore you need to assign a jump action to the controller and so on. My nine-year-old little girl got this straight away declaring that it is ‘just like coding we do at school’.
You are also introduced to the Game Builder Garage’s cute little characters called Nodons. The Nodons each represent an area of the game you need to build, with Nodon’s for the controller buttons and sticks, the characters, the sound effects, the visual effects etc. There is literally a different Nodon for every aspect of the game and each have their own personality relating to what they represent.
You are shown how you can move between the programme screen and the game itself to check what you have programmed is working the way you would like it to.
Once you have worked out the Check Point puzzle you move on to your first lesson, ‘Tag Showdown. In ‘Tag Showdown’ you are taught how to build a platform-style two-player tag game.
The building lessons are separated into seven parts which you must follow in a set order. The first being creating your character with the help of your Nodons. You create the character; give them actions such as moving left and right and assign the controller buttons to each action.
Next, you move onto the Game Screen using the Screen Nodon. Here you are taught that you need to create a screen area and make sure your character is surrounded by the area in the programming screen. After you have done this, it would be logical to think that your character would appear on your game screen, which it does for a split a second before falling straight off again – because you have to create a floor, the screen is just a blank space where you need to build the game.
You create your floor for your character to stand on, make changes to the Nodon to ensure it stays on the screen and choose its colour. However, something is missing – you also need to create walls, or your character will run straight off the screen. This was a great way of delivering the lesson on what you must think about when building a game which as my twelve year old said is “everything’.
From there the lessons take you through how to make your character smaller, select platforms and place them, creating a second character to play with and allocating them a colour and a controller, adding in balls for the characters to avoid, resetting the game automatically when someone wins and even how quickly the screen resets.
The ‘Tag Showdown\’ lesson ends with Finishing Touches, where you can select different colours for the characters, platforms and balls. The game is then complete. You are rewarded with a certificate and game gets added to the Freestyle section and is available to play and edit any time you like. To say the kids were excited to see and play the finished game they had created would be an understatement.
As you move through the rest of the interactive lessons you learn how to add-in a whole host of different features for a range of different games.
With On A Roll we learnt how to place ‘fancy’ and ‘moving’ objects such as apples and balls, switch gaming views, tilting movement, teleporting and adding a counter.
Alien Blaster introduced how to connect two objects so that they move together, extending the game space and adding backgrounds.
After you finish the lesson for the first game you can access the Freestyle section. Here is where you can see the games you have built during lessons and can build your own game. The kids were keen to start building their own game straight away.
Of course, they had big ideas of what they wanted to build, but after a bit of discussion, we decided to try to recreate the game they had just been taught with a few changes, to help cement their knowledge. You also have the option to copy the game you made in the lesson and then make amendments and you can access each step of the lessons by accessing ‘Alice’s Guide’.
Once you have made your own game you can share your game with the online community or locally to friends around you.
What We Thought About Nintendo’s Game Builder Garage?
We have all been really impressed by Nintendo’s Game Builder Garage. It is a great introduction to the world of video game building for both kids and adults. Although you don’t actually use coding in the game, it does introduce and teach the concepts and the mindset required to code a game.
The simple steps make something complex really easy to understand and the Check Points ensure that you understand what has been taught so that you are actually learning and not just racing through. I also love that as you make your way through the lessons they have you working more independently with the instructions moving from highlighting where to click to simply telling you what needs opened, this really made the kids think so they were not just blindly following.
The lessons learnt are not just restricted to game building, such as the importance of trial and error, checking your work and that mistakes are an important learning tool
Most importantly Game Garage Builder is lots of fun. From the cute little Nodons to the games you build had both my nine and twelve-year-olds completely engaged. They have loved playing, building and editing the games and it has been great to see them suggesting improvements they can make.
If you are looking for a new family game for the Nintendo Switch, make sure Game Builder Garage is on the list.
Where Can You Buy Nintendo’s Game Builder Garage for The Nintendo Switch?
Nintendo’s Game Builder Garage for The Nintendo Switch is available from Amazon here and is currently £21.99.
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