Ghost Song: A Journey Of Hope Is A Darksoulsvania

By Nathan Grayson on April 30th, 2014 at 3:00 pm.

I bet it is very safe to breathe here, yes

I’ve played a worrisome number of side-scrolling Metroidvanias in my time, but I still have a soft spot for especially attractive and/or purple ones. Ghost Song: A Journey of Hope, thankfully, qualifies as both. It’s also apparently inspired by Dark Souls, as is everything these days be it a tough-as-nails videogame or a painting of some ducklings nuzzling their mother as a perfect sun sets in the background. There’s ten minutes of footage below, and I find myself especially intrigued by the little bits of voice-acted character and story on show. Give it a watch.

The successfully Kickstarted Darksoulsvania touts a fully explorable world of strange characters and dubious motivations. Story is a big focus, but so are solid mechanics and overwhelming atmosphere.

“Ghost Song is a 2D action platformer set in an open world. It takes inspiration from classics such as Super Metroid and modern classics like Dark Souls. Explore a treacherous map, filled with wonders and dangers, strange creatures and even stranger characters. Piece together a deep story by finding clues and meeting npcs. Learn the secrets of the world and discover your own purpose.”

“Despite what my frequent Dark Souls name dropping may lead you to believe, the game is not intended to be punishingly difficult or overly merciless. I’m subscribing to a ‘tough but fair’ philosophy for most areas of the game, with optional areas that may be a bit harder. The purpose of this is intrigue.”

The bit toward the end of the video with the lonely, demented robo-butler definitely had me by the follicles of my Intrigue Cilia, so that’s a good sign.  I do wonder, though, how much (if at all) things would’ve changed if the player hadn’t decided to just haul off and shoot the robot. Could they have bypassed Alfredtron Mk 47x peacefully?

Ghost Song will be out sometime this year. It’s on Steam Greenlight right now, though. Are you interested in letting it play for you the song of its people?

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18 Comments »

  1. Keyrock says:

    Inspired By Dark Souls is the new Zombie Game.

    • Budwyer says:

      Fine by me.

    • mikmanner says:

      someone should really make a zombie rogue-like inspired by dark souls ha. But yeah, same as Budwyer, a Darksoulsvania is something I’d play. Plus the mood, art and audio in this game is fantastic.

    • Turkey says:

      I dodged backwards 3 times when I read this comment. My stamina is shot to hell.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Damnit. That’s two cups of coffee in a row. Thanks, Turkey; that was a good laugh.

      On another note…I too like the idea of more games inspired by Dark Souls. But for slightly different reasons. More games should utilize the Dark Souls method of storytelling. Keep is sparse, and let the player fill in the details through game play and discovery, as opposed to narrative exposition. Level design is also an area where I wish more games would look to Dark Souls (more the first than the second) for inspiration. That moment emerging from Blighttown to discover where I was…wow. Soul crushing difficulty isn’t the only lesson the Souls games can teach, nor even the most important; narrative approach and level design are also very well done in these games.

      Besides…just how many games with that level of difficulty do you really want to grind through? The difficulty in the Souls games is part of the overall atmosphere and world building as much as it is the game play rules. It fits the bleak, hopeless world building and the death-as-a-game-mechanic setup the developers have created and thus, it fits in these games far better than it would in most.

      All games should look to the Souls series for inspiration. But in my opinion, not every game needs to consider, more less offer, that level of difficulty. It would get tiresome before long.

    • thekelvingreen says:

      Call of Duty: Soul of Darkness

  2. Lobotomist says:

    It actually looks much better than i expected it to be ( being another game inspired by dark souls and metroid )

  3. SuicideKing says:

    “Open environment”. Um.

  4. Premium User Badge DantronLesotho says:

    Cautiously optimistic about this one. They hit a lot of right ideas, and the execution looks good so far, but I will wait to see what the final product is like.

  5. rusty5pork says:

    Holy shit, that art is Legend Of Mana-level gorgeous.

  6. Premium User Badge amateurviking says:

    If only this could be so grossly incandescent!

  7. Nenjin says:

    Someone needs to quantify what makes a game “Dark Souls-like.” Because the term has lost meaning by how often it’s been used (by developers and the media.)

  8. The Random One says:

    The first part of the video made me imagine a Dear Esther inspired “metroidvania” where you only walked down a preset path and your weapon could do no damage. But I suppose the passionate robot butler did surpass my expectations.

  9. Premium User Badge Hypocee says:

    Well that was worth the watch. I’m weirdly prejudiced against games that are zoomed in tight on a tall (i.e. properly proportioned) humanoid; that view always suggests an uncomfortable compromise that’s neither platformer nor action, and in its current state that holds true here. It also foreshadows the reason Aquaria and Cave Story are the only side-on metroidvanias I’ve liked: tedious ascents up staircases of alternating floatyblocks. And of course there’s no actual progression in traversal abilities shown.

    But! The art impressed more as it went, the main gun’s mood grew on me a bit, the final battle showed a bit of actual mechanical complexity (albeit in a flat linear tunnel), and most importantly as mentioned the writing and voice acting were stellar for a game. It’s so rare to encounter stuff that’s any more than tolerable. I didn’t expect to meet it here. It remains to be seen whether this project is actually a metroidvania, but what it is now is interesting.