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Garten of Banban 3 Review

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Into the third chapter of Garten of Banban and the biggest questions I have so far are just how big is this orphanage, and how many more monsters are going to be introduced before things are explained? 

With every new entry a new area is revealed underground, and new monsters arrive to attempt to scare you without really wrapping anything up. But Garten of Banban 3 is probably the most lore heavy instalment so far. That doesn’t really count for much if you still don’t understand things, as despite a fair amount of character interaction, very little is actually alluded to.

Garten of Banban 3 review 1
What on earth!?

Things once again start immediately after the events of Garten of Banban 2, where the titular Banban appeared to help us out after lying previously. His flip-flopping continues here as well, leaving us more confused than ever with these mascots.

He isn’t the only one: Stinger Flynn – a giant orange octopus/jellyfish looking mascot – is also on hand. He warns you to stop searching for your missing child because the consequences will be much worse if you continue. Yeah, right.

Stinger Flynn also gives flashbacks to moments that continue to make little sense. One of them directly references the beginning moments of Skyrim, for reasons unbeknownst to me. Or probably anyone else for that matter.

After these moments, you get to play as Stinger Flynn as well. Exciting? Well, not really. One of these moments is a direct copy of a challenge from the second game. Only this time you are using Flynn’s ability to cast little bolts of lightning from his tentacles. Even as I write, that sentence doesn’t make sense, and I have played the game.

Garten of Banban 3 review 2
Darkness. Just darkness.

Replaying these sections from previous games highlights one of the biggest problems with the Garten of Banban games. Because they were churned out so quickly when initially released on PC, there is an awful lot of asset re-use, and it comes to the forefront in this instalment. At times you are playing sections that feel designed by someone who has grabbed assets from a game engine storefront and thrown them together. Trees grow in rooms miles below the surface, you collect buckets with googly eyes and send them to jail, and you have to inject an injured mascot repeatedly whilst keeping a wall of lights green, buttons pressed using the drone and before several receptacles drain of fluids completely. None of it makes sense, even in the wider context of just what the hell is going on in the story. 

At times Garten of Banban 3 has these gamified moments designed to trip you up over and over again just to jumpscare you – which, I hasten to add, are as terrible as ever – but these have almost nothing in common with the story that is supposedly happening.

My point is, I am here to rescue my child that has gone missing. I don’t want to ride Opila Bird and solve a light puzzle whilst Banban chases me. Or maybe I do, but I at least want some titbit for doing so. If I am having to jump through these seemingly unrelated hoops time and time again, at least give me some meaningful story content.

One thing that remains constant though is the unsettling atmosphere. The deeper you go into this expansive orphanage, the creepier it feels. You never feel safe down there. Whether that be the high walls, the prying eyes of mascots, the large sections of nothing but darkness, or just the fact that everything looks a bit cheap, it stays unnerving.

Garten of Banban 3 review 3
Standard Garten of Banban stuff.

Garten of Banban 3 isn’t the strongest entry in the series, but by this point if you have played all three, you are probably invested until the end. Whenever that would appear to be, because this third game makes it feel further away than ever. It feels like you are at the beck and call of the mascots, completing their inane challenges purely for their enjoyment with next to no payoff. But you could translate that to being at the beck and call of the developers, completing game after game as you try and uncover the mystery. 

Garten of Banban 4 is currently the last one available on the Xbox, but with no less than seven on PC, the end is nowhere near in sight yet.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Maintains a creepy atmosphere
  • Plenty of variation in the gameplay
Cons:
  • Next to no story progression
  • Tasks bear no resemblance to plot
  • More new characters introduced with no resolutions
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>Maintains a creepy atmosphere</li> <li>Plenty of variation in the gameplay</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Next to no story progression</li> <li>Tasks bear no resemblance to plot</li> <li>More new characters introduced with no resolutions</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 3 Review
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