Ghost Song is the song of a secret planet review
Games

Ghost Song is the song of a secret planet. review

played on personal computer

Ghost Song is a real unfinished project. Kickstater campaign The project was completed in the summer of 2013, by which time its lead developer, Matt White, had been working on a dream Metroidvania in Flash for a number of years. Over the next eight years, the project changed the engine a few times, many key ideas were reworked, and the 16-bit style gave way to high-resolution textures. If we compare First roll With the final version, the difference seems colossal. When you study the development of Ghost Song, you sometimes even begin to regret that the original vision remained only in the author’s mind.

    Explore the less obvious paths first - there's always something fascinating

Explore the less obvious paths first – there’s always something fascinating

soul echoes

The Deadsuit wakes up at the wreckage of a spaceship. It is surrounded by bizarre nature: crooked trees, bright flowers, insects indifferent to everything, a dark luminary in the violet sky. Lorian V from the first few frames plunges into a truly alien world. As Main inspiration for Ghost Song Metroid.

The player, like the main character, knows absolutely nothing about the world around him. We don’t even know if there’s even a living being underneath the run-down suit. We must look for answers to these and many other questions. Study is the essence of the genre. That’s why it’s so important to captivate the player from the first seconds, to draw him into the action, to fascinate him with the question: “How deep is Rosso’s hole?”

Ghost Song manages to combine mystery and understandable storytelling. We get at least a glimpse of the history of the moon Lorian V and the fall of civilization as a result of the invasion of the bug roses. We will meet its inhabitants and perhaps lift the veil of secrecy over the personality beneath the protagonist’s helmet. If you are careful enough. Although the stories of the characters that Blue will meet are much more interesting – that’s what our heroine is called by a few friendly creatures.

    Another reference to Metroid?

Another reference to Metroid?

Another obvious source of inspiration was Dark Souls. No, you don’t have to suffer here. Rather, the point is the general atmosphere of melancholic mystery and the storylines of the supporting characters. Instead of a quest log, Miyazaki’s philosophy of storytelling: Other people’s stories evolve alongside yours. You can participate in them or ignore them – one way or another they will reach the end point. It even has its own version of Sigmaier by Katharina.

Too bad some of the original ideas turned out to be too ambitious and went under the knife. First of all, the topic of ghosts shrank a lot towards the release. One of the central ideas was the spirits, separate from the physical shells, infected by an alien parasite. It was believed that the heroine would have to choose between pacifying the spirit by destroying its body, or levitating her consciousness in Lorian V’s atmosphere. The disembodied creatures remained one of the threads in the plot but were moved into the background.

The initially gloomy, hostile world eventually became rather melancholic. On the other hand, the visual style is no longer a homage to Super Metroid. Strange Landscapes are enchanting, sometimes unsettling, and frankly frightening in places (but only in a good way). Even ten hours later you never tire of admiring it. Matt, certainly a gifted artist, gave Ghost Song his own face.

    And this is something from Junji Ito's work (Junji Ito)

And this is something from Junji Ito’s work (Junji Ito)

Well-known obstacle course

But in terms of gameplay, Ghost Song is a compilation of well-known mechanics and tropes of the genre. Although there are a few interesting innovations up its sleeve in Old Moon. For the first half hour, Blue can’t do much: she walks slowly, barely jumps, and wields a fragile blaster. There are almost no dangers on the surface of the planet. But the deeper you descend into the bowels of Lorian V, the more deadly enemies you meet along the way. Fortunately, the arsenal expands over time.

Following the canons of the genre, the heroine learns to jerk to the side, run fast, double and even triple jump. New abilities allow you to peer into previously unexplored corners. The construction of the world deserves special praise – it’s really interesting to explore to find the next secrets and secret paths. It’s just a pity that the dimensions are very modest: a network of intricate underground tunnels remained “on the floor in the cutting room”.

As you pass, short paths open up between different parts of the moon. The locations are skillfully looped, and even modest teleportation abilities (there are only six points in the game for fast travel) don’t bother at all. On the contrary, at levels already studied, no, no, and you stumble along a new route to the goal, and along the way you meet some characters, and one of the five stories (at least the ones that lie on the surface) develops . And in general, as you progress, the environment will change: either a new enemy will appear on the old road, or the weather will surprise you.

    The higher they are, the stronger blue becomes

The higher they are, the stronger blue becomes

Enemies will revive after saving, so there’s always someone to try new upgrades on. About two dozen alternative firing modes for the blaster are scattered around the world, various melee weapons and a number of modules with passive bonuses. The only limit to using upgrades is the max level of the heroine. Pumping any of the three curves also increases the maximum amount of energy expended to activate modules by one.

It’s fun to experiment with weapons. The blaster is set as the main weapon, but alternatives can be allocated for every taste. There is both banal plasma or missiles, and a more original ability to “shoot” friendly gobs of slime. Firing will heat up the barrel over time, and the hotter it is, the more damage you’ll deal in melee combat, giving you an excuse to close range and hit the monster in the head with a red-hot club.

Ghost Song skillfully keeps the rhythm: always throwing up new bells and whistles or pushing one of the storylines forward. But she’s too short. Even if you look under every stone, it doesn’t take ten hours for the credits to crawl across the screen. The feeling of understatement does not diminish. I want to know more about this world, its inhabitants and its history.

    Fighting shoulder to shoulder with someone is such a rare feeling in this world of loneliness.

Fighting shoulder to shoulder with someone is such a rare feeling in this world of loneliness.

* * *

Ghost Song is a small but cozy representative of the genre. Though she won’t turn his foundations upside down like Hollow Knight (fundraiser, which Matt himself and promoted), but it will certainly bring a few entertaining evenings. All fans of Metroidvania in general and Metroid in particular should not stop by.

Advantages:

  • addictive alien world atmosphere;
  • breathtaking landscapes;
  • the game constantly offers something new.

Defects:

  • much more touching than the resulting game – it’s clearly cramped from the form the release took.

graphic

An enchanting image literally breathing extraterrestrial life. And all of this is the result of the hard work of just one person.

sound

The melancholy setting and the deliberately distanced voice-leading of the characters reinforce the overall mysterious atmosphere.

single player game

A classic Metroidvania focused on exploration and the quest for new abilities.

Estimated travel time

Ten hours is enough to reveal all the mysteries of the moon.

collective game

Not provided.

overall impression

Ghost Song is a gift to all fans of the genre. With all the references to sources of inspiration, the game does not lose its face.

Rating: 8.0/10

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About the author

Alan Foster

Alan Foster covers computers and games and all the news in the gaming industry.

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