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Review: Ghostory (PC)By Ofisil At 06.05.2019 17:35

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A man is being HAUNTED by wolves. He manages to escape, but, after such a near-DEATH experience, he feels drained of his SOUL. He decides to give NEW LIFE to his weary body, and raise his SPIRITS by drinking some water from a nearby lake. Wait, though. Something strange is... uh-oh! The poor fellow has been cursed, and now looks... transparent. You could say that he is a GHOST of his former self. Yes, Ghostory's "thing" is the use of horrible, ghost-related puns - purposely horrible, that is, which makes them one of the most pleasant parts of the experience. In fact, one of the game's flaws is that dialogue sequences don't occur as often as they should, and just serve as the - tiny - cherry on top of the cake that is the gameplay portion.

Speaking of which, your goal in here is to bring back a yellow mushroom to the witc... err, the old lady who lives near that ACCURSED (sorry) lake, so that she can brew your healing potion. The catch? While our hero can now turn into a ghost and fly around the place, he still needs his backpack to carry the DAMNED (sorry again) thing, and this falls through his body each time he swaps into his spectral form. Weirdly enough, the cave where the mushroom was found is an intricate labyrinth that looks as if it was made exactly for a person with his own particular affliction. Strange... Anyhow, the adventure now begins, with pretty much all puzzles revolving around trying to reach each level's exit, without leaving your backpack behind.

This is where the developer should be congratulated for crafting a fine piece of software. The controls are great; the game mechanics are extremely easy to understand; the NES-meets-True-Colour-Palette pixel art style looks really good despite its simplicity and lack of variety; and, generally, this seems to be an enjoyable puzzle-platformer that will please genre fans. The levels add new kinds of obstacles very often, forcing you to constantly think how you can turn into a ghost to fly towards an, otherwise, unreachable platform, and at the same time carry your trusty backpack with you. Sadly, it all goes downhill after a while.

No, Ghostory never really becomes a bad game, just a painfully tedious one. As expected, the structure of each maze becomes more complex than the previous one, yet in the end, it all boils down to the same experience; an experience that's all about pulling lever after lever to activate platforms or deactivate barriers, and trying to reach a key while carrying your backpack, so that you can put it inside it - rinse, repeat, and in an area that has even more levels, platforms, keys, etc. It should be mentioned one more time: this isn't a bad game, but it feels like it uses the same exact stage over and over again, and raise the challenge a bit each time that happens.

That issue turns this into something that is best experienced in short bursts, as playing more than two levels can really make its issues stand out more. The level design is such, however, that overcoming a challenge rarely feels rewarding. To be more specific, Ghostory's puzzles are of that variety that are mostly enjoyable when offered in room-sized stages, but here they tend to be bundled together in one big area. The feeling that summarises that is how, right after completing a part of a level, you gaze upon a new set of levers and keys, thinking to yourself, "Oh, not again! - and this isn't what one should feel when making progress in a videogame.

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Final Score
Deceptively simple in its concept, [i]Ghostory[/i]'s form-swapping mechanic provides all this needs to be a neat and challenging puzzle-platformer - and one that happens to provide some pleasantly ghos... ghastly puns. Unfortunately, the fun dissolves due to the subpar level design, which makes this 25+ level adventure feel the same from beginning to end.

5

/10

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