Ghost 1.0 is a puzzle platformer with metroidvania elements, does it do enough to invade our minds or has no soul of its own like its protagonist. Let’s find out :
Genre: Puzzle Platformer
Release date: 7 June, 2016
Ghost 1.0 puts you in the shoes of ghost, a robot tasked with infiltrating The Nakamura Space Station. Nakamura is a generic evil company which is trying to take over the world with the use of human like robots. The story is as basic as it gets. Ghost gets in a transport vehicle to get in Nakamura castle and is being commanded by two guys. While initially, it seems that Ghost 1.0 will be a stealth game, mostly from its name and its starting missions. In the very beginning, Ghost is told to get pass a guard by using stealth and no loud noises. She drops down when the guard is facing away, jump up again and starts to run away towards the door when the guard spots her and tells her to stop, she turns around, shoots him and then open the door. When the guys ask her what she was doing, she replies “Stealth”. This segment sums the stealth portion of the game, it is only there so you can say that the game has stealth, but is actually non-existent.
Ghost blows up everything she comes in her part and in the process gains various upgrades and abilities. She has a gun which recharges its bullets itself, a power through which she can control enemy robots and turrets and some others. When ghost dies, she resurrects by creating a 3D model of herself in a 3D modelling machine. This resurrection theory is not only true for ghost, as the turrets also build themselves back with the help of small mechanical bugs. This becomes frustrating really quickly as the speed with which the turrets resurrects is not fair. You get to the other side of the room to complete your objective and the robots are back. It takes mere seconds for the bugs to come out of their hiding and building the turrets again. You can shoot these bugs but that doesn’t stop more from coming out.
Early levels when Ghost is not equipped and upgraded properly, it is easy for any player to rage quit the game and never look at it again which is a shame as Ghost slowly does build up to make a surprisingly pleasurable gameplay experience. The Space station itself is divided into various zones and are unlocked by using various keycards. That is the only metroidvania element present here, as whatever door you couldn’t unlock now would need a keycard which you will find later on. These do not require any abilities or anything else other than the keycards. Difficulty ramps up pretty quickly and the game is pretty difficult even on the easiest difficulty. There is a good amount of enemy types available and all of them require thinking before going head on against them. There are two game types available: Classic and Survival. Classic is the mode where you lose your items when you died and start from where you saved. Survival mode plays more like a roguelike where you are granted various powerups and lose everything when you die. These two modes are a fun distraction from each other and in survival mode, it sometimes felt like Rogue Legacy, which is a great compliment.
Despite a few highlights here and there, the overall visual design of Ghost 1.0 is pretty generic. There were some unique enemy designs but from the comic style static cutscenes to the Nakamura Space Station itself, it all felt like a fairly basic platformer. Visuals can really elevate a game to another level, like Ori and the Blind forest but it’s a shame that Ghost 1.0 doesn’t do that. Even the colour palette is very basic and the colours don’t pop as much as they should.
For a indie game, the voice acting is surprisingly good. Ghost sounds like a generic robot but her two hacker companions have a lot more life in them. The Soundtrack itself is pretty good and compliments the cyberpunk theme of the game pretty well. What visuals don’t do for ghost, soundtrack manages to balance it by some really solid sound design.
Ghost 1.0 is a game which will test you patience, a lot. It is very frustrating in the early stages and takes time to get going. When it does get going though, it can be a pretty fun time killer to sink your time in. The backtracking involved is not great but does provide some additional gameplay hours for the completionist gamers. It is nothing exceptional and is overly ambitious at times but it still makes for a very good experience.