Release Date: July 12th 2018
Price as of Article: £7.99 GBP $9.99 USD
Game code provided by publisher for review
Ghost 1.0 is set in the future. Boogan and Jacker are two cybercriminals who have desires to infiltrate a space station owned by the Nakamura Corporation. This Corporation is the biggest and richest supplier of androids. The player begins in the chassis which is controlled by a humanoid lifeform known as Ghost. Ghost is a freelance spy who has sneaked into the space station.
The chassis is used as her physical body. The aim of the is to steal the source code which controls the androids and are using Ghost to do it. Of course acquiring such code, it can then be sold to the highest bidder but will this go as planned? I have to say that from an Indie developer the story is quite impressive and the narrative is told well. I really enjoyed how it’s all voice acted which I think is excellent and the fact that the cut scenes are often very funny. Sometimes you even get to control parts of the story later in the game which is a brilliant little touch. The best thing about this though is when you stop playing and then load a saved game. The game tells the story as if you finished the last episode of a series and you are given a recap. I don’t think I have ever seen this before and thought it was fantastic especially if you have not played in a while. Why have more games not done this.
The first thing I noticed was how nice and tight the controls were on the Switch. Everything felt natural and again these types of games are just such a natural fit for playing in handheld. This is your usual 2D affair and if you have played something like Axiom Verge then this is something you may enjoy.
At first things start off very simply, you can jump, shoot your basic weapon at enemies which consist of robots and androids all of varying shapes and sizes. Lasers will fire at you and you will have to dodge these by crouching, rolling and jumping. There are also traps that you will have to manoeuvre through at times.
Often you will be given a task which will mean you exploring the space station or finding 5 pieces of a key card so you can progress to the next zone. Each zone had this similar theme of exploring and finding the next key card which I found a tad repetitive. It would have been nice to just change it up a little more. There are lots of upgrade options which I really love about games like this and because many of the upgrades are also passive you don’t have to mess about with equipping them. They all work in tandem and you can have as many as you like. The more you have the more overpowered you become. My favourite was having my own little drones flying next to me and shooting anything in sight. The little drone, when I had just one, was my best friend. I went into a dark room and it automatically shot all of the floating mines around me which I had not seen, saving my life in the process. Suffice to say the drone was my Wilson ever since.
There are lots of weapons to collect too. Early on you will be able to add homing shots to your primary weapon. You will also be able to add up to three secondary weapons which you can use anytime you like. A nice shotgun comes in handy that’s for sure and I especially loved the machine gun.
Collecting yellow cubes is essential as this is the games currency. The quicker you collect the yellow boxes the more valuable they are. The longer you wait to pick them up the less valuable they become. There are even upgrades on the skill tree to make the timers on these yellow boxes last longer so when you collect them they are more valuable which is so handy.
There are shops where you can then spend this currency on weapons and upgrades. There are also other perks you can pick up and assign to the joy pad buttons for shortcuts such as regaining health over time when you need it most.
Fighting enemies becomes more difficult as you progress so making sure you have upgraded sufficiently is essential but the flip side to this is that enemies will become more difficult the more items and upgrades you collect. There are rooms where you can set off alarms on purpose just to kill everything that comes at you just to gain more income.
Your primary weapon has infinite bullets but will need to recharge if you keep hold of the fire button bullets will shoot out super slowly and when there is chaos on screen you have to manage being able to rest the primary by using your secondary or by picking up blue energy cubes that enemies drop which will instantly boost your weapon up again. You can also use little perks which you have bought to help recharge weapons quicker. Once you use these perks you have to recharge them at the shop and this has a cost as nothing is ever free.
Blasting enemies is fun and keeps you on your toes. There is always some type of new enemy to discover. In fact the map has over 300 rooms which are split into zones, each with their own boss, with each new zone having its own ambience.
Whether it’s a robotic gun shooting you from the ceiling which gets repaired by a little flying android if left long enough (Hate those little buggers), big heavy robots which fire missiles at you that hurt or then just your normal looking androids which will chase you down firing lasers at you; It’s all here. When you get to the green zone the enemies change and you will come across more plant based enemies and insects which can hud you with toxic poison as an example. There are also short cuts within the map to find.
I really liked the saving system in this game, it makes you think about how much risk you want to take and is, I suppose, very similar to the bench system in Hollow Knight except here there are slight differences. Every save room has the ability to 3D print the chassis which you control. If you save with a new weapon then that weapon will always print with you chassis when you load the game. Fail to save when you have just spent your hard earned cubes on a shiny new weapon and become brown bread and you won’t be saying hello to your little friend again unless you’re lucky enough to pick it up again at your death site. Be aware this is not always the case and you will lose most of your cubes if you die as well. So I like that there is a bit of a penalty here. Each save room you find also has the ability to teleport you from one to another making transport from one area to the next rather easy.
The other part I really like to this game is the puzzle aspect. While none of them are brain taxing you do have to think from time to time. At any point you can press X to leave the Chassis as a Ghost and you can fly around the screen going through walls or objects. You can then control enemies wishing to kill you which is a lot of fun as you can use them to kill enemies looking to hunt you down but the main reason usually is to be able to control a robot to get to an important switch to open a certain door. You can then zap straight back into your chassis at the touch of a button. It never gets old. If you have ever played Oddworld and liked controlling Mudokins, Scrabs and Sligs then you will have fun messing around here too.
There are some hilarious moments within the game. Ghost our female protagonist is always in contact with those asking her what to do and the audio exchanges are funny but they will also give you hints. While finding the greenhouse I had to traverse through a place with service bots. If I didn’t say konichiwa while going past them they would raise the alarm. It was these little touches I enjoyed.
There are also skill points where you can upgrade the skills for Ghost, the Chassis and a number of other things. Each opens up a skill tree with all manner of perks that you can upgrade and this adds a nice little RPG element to the game.
Like many Metroidvania games there are certain things you either love or hate about them. Personally I don’t see them much as flaws but I do understand how they can frustrate some people. I think the map in the game is easy to use but I really wish there was a way to toggle a mini map. It would just be incredibly handy rather than pausing to see where you are. The good thing is there is always a little arrow to let you know what rooms you can still explore which keeps you from getting lost. There is a bit of backtracking but this can be mitigated by using the teleport function.
While bosses are tough you can always make sure you keep finding cubes and upgrading as much as you can before facing the boss in the area in order to progress. This isn’t a game where you can choose which ones to fight and at what times. At some point you will have to beat the boss to move to the next area or you will be stuck in that area.
Visuals & Performance
Classic Metroidvania gameplay
Sound effects are grating
Environments are a little same-y