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Garten of Banban 2 Review

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The first four Garten of Banban games were released in one batch on the Xbox Store. The first game is free, and you can read my thoughts concerning Garten of Banban 1 here. I would highly recommend playing that before the second game, despite the sequel being marginally better. That’s because the action picks up exactly after the first game ends.

Minor spoilers incoming then: Garten of Banban 2 starts with you next to the lift that fell to the ground at the end of the first episode. The reason why it fell was because Jumbo Josh – one of the kindergarten’s many mascots – climbed aboard. Being of a bigger disposition, the weight was too much, and now Jumbo Josh is seemingly crushed beneath it. The similarities between Garten of Banban and Poppy’s Playtime continue as this is almost identical to how Poppy’s Huggy Wuggy meets his demise as well.

The comparisons continue from there.

Garten of Banban 2 review 1
Garten of Banban 2 – a new tale

Your unnamed protagonist arrives at a large open space and sees three areas that they need to go through; much like Poppy’s Playtime Chapter 2, in that you have three areas to explore, each with their own mascot presiding over things. This large area once again brings a sense of uneasiness as a liminal space. It looks like you are surrounded on all sides by office blocks, but you can’t see either the top or the bottom of them. And then later, when you return to this area, there is an additional factor that is very unnerving.

However, to give credit where it is due, Garten of Banban 2 isn’t afraid to completely do its own thing too. However frustrating that can feel.

The first area has you retrieving another key card from a storage area, but on your return you are pursued by a new mascot, Nabnab. Described as a spider, but with only four legs, he chases you down on your return journey through the storage area, landing on you from above if he catches you. Solving the puzzle that focuses on the way out is easy enough, but managing to do it can be frustrating as there is very little room for error when sprinting. You need to hold the thumbstick down rather than being able to toggle sprint on by pressing it, and if your thumb slips, you will get caught and have to repeat the whole section again.

Garten of Banban 2 review 2
Jumpscares

Another section is literally trial and error, and results in a jumpscare every time you get it wrong. It’s effective the first time, but gets repetitive very quickly. You will find yourself in a classroom with three sets of objects in their little cliques: The cool kids (basketballs with sunglasses on), the mean kids (bowling pins) and the unpopular kids (watering cans). You will join each clique at their tables throughout this section, and must answer questions using the tape decks on the tables. Only a few answers are immediately obvious thanks to the labels on the decks. Get one wrong and Banbaleena will stop the class to jumpscare you and start the section again. You will need to try each tape deck and remember which one gives the correct answer.

But in between all that you will be doing a spot of bird wrangling, firing cannons, even taking samples from dead ‘things’. And of course, running away from enemies, but at least these chase sections are varied from one another also. One criticism you could throw at the first game was that there was only really one scary section, but not here. Garten of Banban 2 is relentless set piece after set piece that seemingly don’t have any relation to one another, but that works in the game’s favour. It feels at times that you are being toyed with purely for the enjoyment of the mascots.

Another cliffhanger awaits at the end, but that’s to be expected. There are two more games in the series just on Xbox, with a further two already on Steam and another one upcoming. Though, can anyone explain to me why Garten of Banban 5 doesn’t exist? Why does the series go from four straight to six? I am fully invested now, and I need to have all the answers.

Garten of Banban 2 review 3
Garten of Banban 2 is a step up

A step-up from the first game, Garten of Banban 2 introduces several of the mascots, whilst drip feeding you the story. It is clear that there is a long way to go though, as this game is much more focussed on trying to scare you than relinquishing story and lore. There are some tense moments, but there are others that feel long in the tooth too.

But it does feel like the series is starting to find its stride, and the improvements look set to continue into the third game.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Improvements all round from the first game
  • Plenty of new mascots added
Cons:
  • Some moments don’t work
  • Jumpscares are still a bit poor
  • Leaves you with more questions than answers
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Feardemic
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC
  • Release date and price - 25 June 2024 | £4.19
Richard Dobson
Richard Dobson
Avid gamer since the days of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Grew up with the PS1 and PS2 but changed allegiances in 2007 with the release of Halo 3.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Improvements all round from the first game</li> <li>Plenty of new mascots added</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Some moments don’t work</li> <li>Jumpscares are still a bit poor</li> <li>Leaves you with more questions than answers</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Feardemic</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC <li>Release date and price - 25 June 2024 | £4.19</li> </ul>Garten of Banban 2 Review
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