I could describe Ghost Song as a Soulsian roguelike Metroidvania but only if I wanted to eliminate the people reading this post with a trio of surgically precise strikes. Instead, I’ll describe the game as an exploration-based 2d platformer set on a mysterious planet filled with weird horrors. We scrutinised a great wodge of footage back in April and for eight minutes or so it seemed like typical fayre, attractively presented. The twist in the tale was positively porcine, however, and the final minute of the video showed a fight with a deranged robot butler. It was preposterous and unnerving, like a boisterous opera singer in a wind tunnel. The new video below is in the same style – jumping, shooting, rolling, double jumping, and then, around the 6.30 mark, beautifully sinister synths and…eek.
Something ‘orrible is happening there and no mistake but I couldn’t tell you exactly what it is. That’s the way I like it. If I had my way, every game would be packed with the sort of spooky mysteries that make the entire run of Scooby Doo (13 Ghosts included) seem almost comical in comparison. The original Metroid contains an unmasking scene to rival anything that those meddling kids ever discovered, of course, hidden where only the most dedicated players would find it (and now on Youtube).
Ghost Song seems more likely to reveal that the player character is in fact a figment of the dream of a dead alien, or the mangled circuit-spew of a droid suffering from some digital disease. The journey toward whatever grim conclusion awaits should be a good one though, with a large area to explore, more than half of which is optional thanks to freedom of exploration.
It’ll be a perilous journey though.
…the combat encounters were balanced around the core controls and mechanics of the player, which are characterized by a high degree of speed and evasiveness (as you’ll see demonstrated in this video). The player cannot sustain a lot of hits, particularly if those hits are made in quick succession (if your armor/stam bar is above half, your health won’t go below 1, protecting you from ever having a single hit kill you). You must learn to quickly manage your resources in real time, and take advantage of your dash moves in particular in order to avoid being hit. This may sound daunting when described, but once you start playing it — if you don’t mind my saying so — it just feels right. I have a high degree of confidence at this point in the basic gameplay mechanics and controls.