The mob, vintage cars and the American Dream can all be found in Garage Inc. You play as Angelo, an aspiring car mechanic. The mob has Angelo in a financial death grip, and paying off the debts has to be done by both hard labour and breaking the law. Garage Inc. is a time management game in a masculine setting. Instead of a beauty parlour or spa we get an oily gritty repair shop. Instead of cute customers we get the mob to deal with.
In Garage Inc. all actions are controlled by touch. Tap a character, and then the car to repair to initiate the action. Tap a car, and an empty bay to place it there. All is about direct tapping, and there is no queue system whatsoever. The tactical aspect of the game is extremely limited due to this. Luck plays a big role in determining the success of your actions. As a car enters the shop you place it in the initial slot to diagnose the problem. A car can only move forward into the repair bays, and thus you have to move the crew instead. If the correct mechanic is already in the bay the repair will be quick. If not you have to move them around. Only four different mechanics can stand around the same car. If you place a fifth one of the other will go back to the idle start position.
When you start the story mode you only have one character to control: Angelo. He is the only person who can diagnose problems, and accept payment. He is also able to repair any problem, albeit slower than the specialised mechanic. Specialised mechanics can only handle their specialty. Red electric malfunctions can only be repaired by the electrician and so on. Some cars have multiple faults, and has to be helped by several of your crewmembers. This aspect of the game is quite fun, but hard to execute. As the game gives you more diagnose slots, and repair bays the screen estate of the iPhone gets too cramped. With the full crew consisting of five persons the game turns into a mess. Tapping the correct mechanic gets hard, and too many times the wrong action is performed.
The story mode also includes the night shift where Angelo does shifty tasks for the mob. These minigames are quite fun, and mixes up the game somewhat. Painting cop cars, bullet-proofing doors or pimping the suspension are fun. The game shows you what to do first, and then leaves you on your own. These minigames can be played directly from the main menu when unlocked.
Other than the main story clocking in at about three hours, and the night shift minigames there is little to do in the game. Unlike most time management games Garage Inc. is completely linear. You can’t replay any levels to improve the score, and once the story is over the only option is to start a new game erasing the old. As the story ends rather abruptly it left me feeling somewhat stumped, and confused.
I really enjoy the setting, and both the graphics and sounds are suitable. Sure there isn’t much detail to the mechanics, and some higher resolution display would have made it more enjoyable. In the end the presentation isn’t what makes a time management great, and it is the gameplay Garage Inc. gets wrong. A time management game should not feel like work, and you should be rewarded for actually managing time perfectly. In Garage Inc it is a matter of not messing up taps, and having luck that your mechanics are already in the correct bay.
Garage Inc. is a short, and at times enjoyable experience. For the most part it is a frustrating repetitious experience, and I will probably never play it again. Most time management games featuring a queue system such as Sally’s Spa and Hotel Dash I feel are worthy to replay due to the fact that they are about skill, and actual time management. Garage Inc. gets a mild recommendation due to the cool setting, and colourful characters.
Garage Inc. $1.99
Seller: Breakthrough New Media Inc.