Having a short term memory like a goldfish, I sometimes forget something I’ve only just learned and end up repeating myself. When I saw the Ghostanoid trailer, I thought “that reminds me of Arkanoid. I like that. I want to try this”. Then I re-read the title and the penny dropped.
Having a short term memory like a goldfish, I sometimes forget something I’ve only just learned and end up repeating myself. Oh, bugger. So yeah, if reading isn’t your forte, Ghostanoid is a bit like Arkanoid, out now on the Nintendo Switch for all you gamers.
Ghostanoid Switch Review
Let me make it clear, and please don’t take this one hard Qplaze, but first impressions of Ghostanoid is clutter, making use of every bit of real estate on the screen. Help files are chock full of comic book fonts and would make you think that white space is a political movement that we should all be against. It’s a design thang.
On my first playthrough, I played on the telly and had a hard time following the ball, in this bat and ball type affair. We don’t have a ludicrously sized device, it’s 55inch (it’s what you do with it) but I found it a bit hard to focus on the screen as too much was going on.
The ball has a glitter-like tracer on it, making the trajectory a bit hit and miss. When the tracer is off, it’s much more manageable, but there’s no option to turn it off. That is perhaps my biggest critique of the game, having finished this, re-read and edited.
Have You Ever Played Arkanoid?
There’s a narrative thread, though an unimportant one, as you’re going through the process of demolishing some vacant properties, only they’re occupied by spirits (the Casper kind, so family safe).
If you haven’t played Arkanoid or any similar titles, you play a bat/platform that scrolls along the bottom of the screen, ricocheting a ball upwards to knock down the blocks above. Think Pong banging Tetris and you have a rough idea.
I want to get it out my system and use a word I’ve been using a lot lately, Ghostanoid is a bit garish in its presentation at first. The illustrations of the mad scientist type that advises you are great, and I do like the art style, but with so much going on, it takes some getting used to. But, persevere, and it pays off.
I Like The Way You Reverse It, No Diggity
It’s a bit mad, but the handheld mode is better than on the telly, in my opinion. Note that this is also available as a mobile title. While there’s so much going on, grasping the Switch in your mitts is a bit more bearable than having your eyeballs darting all over a larger rectangle.
You almost need a co-pilot to tell you about your combos, or what power-ups are available as you can’t focus on it all at once. What happens then is you’ll knock a block out of the way, a power-up will drop, and you’ll trigger it if you’re in the vicinity – such as reverse controls, that also happens in the likes of Lost Wing.
Those reverse controls are so devilish that restarting a level was common, adding to the longevity to the very many levels. If that wasn’t enough to keep you going, as well as the star rating system for performance, similar to Angry Birds and more recent Piffle, there’s a workshop for upgrades.
Ghosting The Demolition Industry
There are three worlds, each with separate homes and individual stages. Plenty of content, methinks. Naturally, you can’t skip to the end as you need to accumulate stars to unlock the more demanding levels. If you haven’t earned enough, why would you want to skip ahead?
We have a workshop feature that depicts a few help pages, which coming back to, are pretty helpful. These early tooltips were more of an interruption in-game, but they’re a good reference point for learning the power-ups by sight as you progress.
It also reiterates that if you beat all the ghosts in a stage, you can fast-track the level and don’t need to destroy all the blocks. Still… as a completionist, I like to clean up where I can. Alas, that’s my downfall as the quickest way out in Ghostanoid is also the hardest.
But the repeat deaths levelled up my inner masochist, and while I can’t say it didn’t affect my mood occasionally, I didn’t bail on it. With time, I started to like the graphics a lot more, including the catchy, somewhat repetitive music.
Ghostanoid Review Summary
Ghostanoid is a fun, yet challenging ‘inspired by Arkanoid‘ puzzler for solo play. First impressions were so-so, but that changed once I got into it, realising that this is the kind of title that I’ll come back to again and again, if only to get all the stars.