Game Builder Garage Review – Learning Through Play

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Game Builder Garage on Switch

When it comes to game design, few come close to the folks at Nintendo. Over the years, the Japanese gaming giant has given us many awesome experiences and influenced even more game designers looking to leave their mark on the industry. With Game Builder Garage, the doors are even more open, as Nintendo launches powerful and accessible video game development software for the Nintendo Switch.

It’s not exactly the first time Nintendo has allowed players to go wild with their own creations. The likes of Super Mario Maker, its sequel, and the Nintendo Labo VR kit offered varying tastes when it comes to game development. However, they are all pale in comparison when compared to the capabilities of Game Builder Garage.

Freedom of creation

Instead of keeping creators in a genre narrow lane, Game Builder Garage gives players the keys to a world full of possibilities. Do you want to create platforms? You most certainly can. Maybe a shooter or even a puzzle game is more your wheelhouse, that can be done too. Whatever type of game you can think of, chances are you can make it possible in this environment. The only downside is that you have to understand the logic to make everything work in unison for your vision to come to life.


Of course, being on Nintendo Switch, the creations will all be able to take advantage of the different functions of the console. Touchscreen controls, motion controls and even the infrared camera can be used to enhance your work. Perhaps more importantly, like all other game publishers, you won’t be faced with anything hard to watch or even functional. Nintendo is always keen to put a seal of quality on everything, even if it is your own crazy business using Game Builder Garage.

To help creators on their journey, Nintendo has chosen to present programming in Game Builder Garage in a more visually understandable way. Instead of letters and numbers, you will use the Nodon, creatures that replace the code. To create objects or establish a logical chain, just add the appropriate Nodon. Soon you’ll be putting some complicated Nodon chains together before you know it.

Designed for all ages

From an accessibility standpoint, this allows Game Builder Garage to be more than just an enthusiast. As long as you’ve spent some time learning the ropes, there’s a good chance you can create something on your own. The tutorials available are some of the best on the market, guiding players through the journey of learning programming and coding through Nodons.


The seven interactive tutorials are necessarily packed with content, each spanning around an hour. It may be too long for some, but it is absolutely necessary for players to exploit the capabilities of the software. Step by step, you’ll be facilitated in more complex creations, ranging from adding and linking objects to creating 3D spaces that require camera work or even triggering a chain of events.

Just to make sure your skills are up to par, Game Builder Garage has also placed some assessments between the tutorials. Think of it as a game development pop quiz, where you can put your newfound knowledge to the test. These aren’t just boring tests either, Nintendo challenges your understanding of language and logic with fun challenges that make learning enjoyable.

Once you’ve solidified your basics, you can jump straight into free programming mode to let your creativity run wild. As someone who enjoys other people’s creations a lot more than doing it myself, it was always fun to be able to put together a racing game in under an hour. There’s no doubt about the potential that lies here, especially when paired with the power that Nintendo places in the hands of the creators. It sure won’t be long before you see some amazing creations taking the world by storm, all made possible by Game Builder Garage..


Not without flaws

Unfortunately, despite all its merits and amazing features, Game Builder Garage is not immune to some issues. For one thing, creating elaborate experiences will likely test your patience. Of course, you can make things easier by plugging in a USB mouse for easy editing, but the workspace isn’t exactly huge. Things can get messy and cluttered in no time. While Nodons are a great visual learning medium, perhaps a text-based alternative could be offered in due course.

Game Builder Garage’s online functionality is also taking a hit thanks to Nintendo’s continued reluctance in the space. If you want to play other people’s creations, you have to be friends first. Otherwise, you’re stuck on your own island of creativity. To make matters worse, there is no community or hub that allows Game Builder Garage players to search for each other. Restricting yourself to friend creations is bad enough, but not bringing players together to celebrate original creations just doesn’t make sense.


As a first step in game development, Game Builder Garage represents a fun and engaging way to dip your toes. It’s not overly complicated and is accessible when it comes to creating fancy experiences with a little work. The software educates, guides and makes the fun of the creator a key part of the process. If only Nintendo fixed the gaps online and in the community, then this would truly be a playground for creativity.

Exam block

Game Builder Garage review

Reviser: Jake Su | Award: editors Choice | Copy provided by the publisher.

Advantages

  • Powerful 3D creation tools.
  • Accessible and engaging creative processes.
  • Excellent in-depth tutorials.
  • No creative restrictions.

The inconvenients

  • No online community.
  • Only friends can play the creations.

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