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Garage, Inc.

For:   Also on: iPhoneiPad
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A new mechanic

Product: Garage, Inc. | Developer: Breakthrough Entertainment | Publisher: TransGaming | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action | Players: 1 | File size: 30.8MB | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.1
Garage, Inc. iPhone, thumbnail 1
You know those moisturisers aimed at men that litter the shelves of our pharmacies these days? In reality, they're the same as the slap women have been putting all over their faces in a vain attempt to wipe away the years.

The only real difference is the words "for men" have been emblazoned on the bottles – a crafty move designed to make us chaps feel a bit better about buying cosmetics.

It's amazing how our own insecurities can be papered over by a name change, new packaging or colouring switch. Even if we've sampled the product underneath time and again, context is everything.

Garage, Inc. appears as something new and unseen, but the time management game hidden within is a product you've experienced before. This doesn't make it undesirable, but it does give this good-looking game some context.

Time for a change

Instead of serving up a cutesy world sweet enough to rot your teeth, Garage, Inc. rolls back the clock to 1920s Chicago. Playing as Italian immigrant Angelo, it's your job to pay back a loan taken out from the mafia by your cousin Sal by making as much money as you can fixing cars.

The game is pure class, offering just the right amount of backstory - beautifully animated with spoken dialogue - to keep you enthralled.

The action itself is just as classic with taps of the screen enabling you to manage Angelo's shop. Cars come in, you examine them to diagnose any faults, and then you fix them before picking up the payment at the end of the run.

The family business

Initially, only Angelo is under your control, doing every step of the process himself, but as the business builds, so all manner of employees come on board – mechanics, electricians, and so on.

Only Angelo can diagnose and pick up payment, but the actual fixing can be handed to any one of his subordinates, so you spend the majority of your time moving several characters at once, the game's slow and steady start quickly building into a crescendo of mayhem.

You earn cash for each vehicle repaired, though there's curiously no use for these funds. There aren't any upgrades to purchase or items to buy, which leaves the game rather shallow compared to other time management titles in this respect.

There's good variety, though. The occasional mini-game keeps things lively and ties in nicely with the story. Being called upon to complete dodgy tasks for the mob is an interesting way of incorporating mini-games.

Character assessment

At the end of the day, Garage, Inc. works mainly because of its great sense of style and not due to any advances in gameplay or by touting an array of features. On the contrary, the game is lacking on both counts.

The gameplay is standard for any time management game, though the inability to spend the money you earn is a missed opportunity. When you consider the game's surprising shortness, being able to purchase upgrades could have both provided depth and more game time.

Without an endless mode or another substantive mode of play, the game's replay value is limited too. The decision to not integrate a social gaming network such as Game Center or OpenFeint for leaderboards and achievements is a huge oversight.

These missing elements prevent Garage, Inc. from advancing the time management formula. It's unquestionably stylish, though ultimately this is the same product offered in new packaging.
Garage, Inc.
Reviewer photo
Keith Andrew | 26 January 2011
Garage, Inc. offers a neat setting for time management gameplay without the depth and features needed to make it truly stand out
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