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Game 47 of 52: Garfield Plus (Modded Garfield 2004 by Planet Clue) - 05/10/06


Ryannumber1gamer

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I was planning to start this off by aping the joke I made the last time, only to suddenly realise it's been done already, but I actually want to show this game a bit more respect. 

You see, this game has quite the history with me. For anyone who's aware of Garfield's game entries, they might know this game was infamous despised. Reviewers hated it. 0/10s all around. It was considered some prime shovelware, with cheap voice acting, and graining music. However, as a kid - I knew none of this. I just received this game one time after finding it in a pre-owned games store and my parents knew I liked Garfield, and whilst I never got super far in the game, I still found it fun enough to stick in every time and then and try and see how far I can get. 

For ages though, I wanted to finish this game, but never could because I'd run into game breaking glitches and freezes, if it was my disc or not, I wouldn't know. So there it stood, for a long while. 

However, that's when this video got added to my recommendations on YouTube:

A look back on this heavily overlooked game, where the creator of the video not only gave it a fair review, but also took it upon himself to full blown create a brand new QoL mod that allows the PC version to run on modern systems, at higher framerates, with Xbox controls included, and with numerous QoL improvements such as new music being added, AI fixes, and more. Honestly, it's genuinely impressive just how great the mod is. My goal was set - to finally bring justice to something from my childhood - I was going to get this thing running on Steam Deck for this challenge.

Getting this onto Steam Deck honestly wasn't too hard a task. Given this game is long since abandonware, this means the game itself is included within the mod download, and it's just a simple process of adding it to Steam as a Non-Steam game, using SteamGridDB to give it some custom art, and running it under a Proton compatibility layer. Unfortunately, this is where the first roadblock hit - the controls were completely broken and the vacuum couldn't be moved up and down, meaning the game in that state could not be completed.

After multiple failed attempts to get the controls remapped, I was ready to call it quits, yet I was determined. I wanted to play this game. I wanted to experience this mod - and as such, I went down a multi-hour rabbit hole of experimentation, Google Searches, and more in search of a answer. It seemed hopeless, until eventually...I found it. The eureka moment that made it click. The magical command I needed. After attempting to rewrite the Xidi file, only to discover Steam was continuing to ignore it, that made me realise the problem - the Xidi file with the rewritten and remapped controls was not being read by Steam.

So, for all of you out there looking for a solution to this extremely niche problem, who - like me - was desperate for their handheld Garfield Plus fix, here's the solution you need. 

Go to the game in the Steam Deck's Game Mode, hit the cog icon, go to properties, and then go down to 'Launch Options' and copy/paste this in:

Quote

WINEDLLOVERRIDES="dinput=n;dinput8=n,b" %command%

With the controls now fixed, it was time to get started on the journey. Given its' one of only three cutscenes, I think it's best to just embed it for all to view.

The story of the game is pretty simple, as you would expect from a Garfield game, although I do appreciate that. After a long day of clawing Jon's clothes to ribbons, eating his food, and generally being a all around nuisance, Jon gives Garfield a simple ultimatum - if he finds one more thing destroyed, eaten, or wrecked - Garfield is going on a permanent diet. Leaving to run errands, Jon leaves a list of chores for Garfield to complete as well. Garfield - as you'd expect, opts to instead go to sleep watching cooking shows instead.

Unfortunately for him, he wakes up not long after to find Odie has now completely totalled the house, destroying a lasanga, knocking around paintings, locking doors, and more. With Jon believing Odie can do no wrong, Garfield is utterly horrified, realising that blame will be left squarely at his feet. Thinking fast, Garfield decides to use a powerful vacuum cleaner to find every single object Odie has scattered, place them in their right spot, clean the house top to bottom, and remake the lasanga before Jon returns and catches him. 

garfield-the-movie-20040906020637647-928345.jpg 

The gameplay, all things considered is pretty simple, but I think it has merit. It's essentially a take on Luigi's Mansion, except instead of running around hunting down ghosts, you're exploring the various rooms of Garfield's home, trying to find objects that're missing, and figure out their rightful place. As you do this, Odie will try to get in your way by charging you - but Garfield can deal with him by kicking Odie away. There's also puzzle pieces that can be found around the map, both in hidden spots, and for finishing certain rooms, as well as minigames that can be completed, both optional and mandatory, such as a space arcade game that can be played, or racing against Nermal. 

That said however, while it's relatively simple, there's honestly a nice relaxing zen-like quality to the game. If you've played games like Unpacking before and enjoyed that kind of general exploration, and destressing, this is kind of a perfect tie-in game for you. There's no real 'obstacle' in the game, beyond one major one - in a bit of story/game integration, you have a total of eight irl hours to finish the game before Jon returns home, which if you fail to do, you'll get this cutscene...

While it might sound quite daunting to have a legit countdown until a full on game over, this is...honestly no cause for concern. The game is not nearly eight hours long. In my experience, I was able to knock it out before it even hit the 5 hours remaining mark in-game. It's just a neat means of integrating the threat Jon imposed and making it clear Garfield legit only has this amount of time to get the house in order before he's caught and punished. 

So yeah, it really is just kind of a relaxing game where you get to explore the Garfield world for a bit, and if you're a fan of that world? It's a really charming time, genuinely. The level design is just fun to explore and there's a really nice gameplay loop of systematically completing rooms, getting keys to new rooms, rinse and repeat until you're done. It's simple, but sweet.

So, you might be wondering why the game got so heavily destroyed in reviews if that's the case. Well, in the original release, I can kind of see it, as numerous things was present due to poor foresight, lack of time, and lack of polish that went against the great zen-like nature of the gameplay design.

garfield-the-movie-20040906020638162-928346.jpg

For a start, the game generally just has a lack of polish in the original version. There's a lot of glitches - across both versions of the game, such as minigames being broken, or in the original version, 100% completion being impossible because you'd always be missing 2-4 puzzle pieces due to how the game finishes itself automatically upon replacing the final object. Odie's AI in the original version is far, FAR too aggressive, being a constant and annoying hindrance, which while accurate to how Garfield sees him - is not helpful when you just want to relax and have a good time here.

The music and voice acting is also really, really bad. The music is a bad generic mess that doesn't fit the jazzy music of the Garfield series, nor does it really fit for what the gameplay is trying to do. It's hard to really feel relaxed and in the zone exploring this place when you're dealing with off voice acting, and listening to this piercing your ears for a significant chunk of time:

On top of that, the general process of holding items in the original game is really, really bad. Garfield can only hold 3 items at once, and for other items, he has to use three different item boxes. Unfortunately, for some bizarre reason - the item boxes do not apply everywhere. IE - one item stored in one box will not be in the other box, meaning there's a lot of backtracking trying to remember which box you put which item in, which really messes around with the game flow.

Luckily, we're not talking about the original version...

Garfield Plus is great:

Yeah, put simply - this mod is incredible. Not only does it do a godsend in making the game playable on modern PCs, and even on Steam Deck, as well as adding better resolutions and controls, but the sheer amount of QoL changes make this game just such a joy to experience, especially if you're a Garfield fan.

The music has all been replaced - some being original songs composed by the mod creator himself, while others are songs from lesser-known Nintendo titles - all of which are jazzy and easy on the ears, fitting the game's vibes perfectly. The item boxes are now all linked - meaning there's no need to backtrack to different boxes and try to remember which box you put which item into. Odie's AI has been disabled so he just vibes in certain rooms, rather than aggressive chase you to be a pain, and numerous more - just watch the video above for the sheer laundry list of improvements. Numerous glitches are fixed and 100% is now finally achievable. 

This was the perfect way to play the game. I never expected a game fixing mod for this game of all things, but I am so glad to the excellent work Planet Clue put into it so I could finally experience it for the potential it has.

Conclusion:

Honestly, this game got done such a dirty disservice. The sheer amount of hate and vitriol towards it is honestly a shame, because aside from the poor voice acting, and the glitches, there was clearly a clever idea for a game here that these devs did their best to try and get out there. There's such a unique, fun quality to just being able to immerse yourself in the world of Garfield for a short while, vibing and just tracking down all of the items and placing them in their right spots. It's such a simple but effective gameplay loop, and I am so happy to see this mod exist to finally see that to fruition. 

I fully admit there's some nostalgia bias here, but I do think there's a hidden gem here, a hidden licensed game gem at that, and the modded version is so easy to get running (As I say, the game is straight up abandonware now, so it's outright included within the mod), and there's a series of additional patches included to restore functions like Odie if you want a more challenging experience or even to experience some of the original game with some more of the QoL improvements.

Point is, I do think most people should give the game a second try, especially with Garfield Plus being such a great way to do so. If you like relaxing games, or even Luigi's Mansion or what have you, I think you'll enjoy your time with this one.

If anyone wants to give it a try for themselves, you can find the mod here at the official website:

https://planetclue.com/garfieldplus/

tfw this mod bu a single person is fifty thousand times better than the entirety of garfield lasanga party

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