Developer: Beeline Interactive
Compatibility: iPhone 3GS/4/4S/5, iPod touch 3rd/4th/5th gen, iPad
Requirements: iOS 4.3 or later
File Size: 104 MB
Age Rating: 9+
In reviewing the new Ghostbusters game on iOS from Beeline Interactive and Capcom, I had the enlightening dilemma of answering a thoroughly unimportant question. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t like the Ghostbuster movies? Although the ’80s throwback response would be “obviously no,” the actual answer isn’t so clear cut. Most people like the movies, some people love them but I couldn’t find anyone who hated them.
I can see that Beeline seriously considered this thought when developing Ghostbusters. They knew there was a core base of mega-loyal Ghostbusters fans who would pour much scorn on any attempt to deviate from the sharp Murray wit and art-deco locales of the movies. But they understood this following was dwarfed by the vast majority of the market who just enjoyed the movies for what they were and fancied a bit more Slimer!
So, newly released on the App Store comes the much anticipated Ghostbusters game on iOS. Before I start, it’s free, so download it now if you have any interest in the Ghostbusters franchise whatsoever and a bit of extra space on your iPhone. If you’re like me however and you procrastinate over every purchase of everything no matter the cost, you’ll want to read on and find out whether the enormous task of pressing the “free” button is really worth it.
The game is set in New York in modern times. You start the game and navigate through it from an isometric top down view of the city.
The playable area is in sunlight and the not-yet playable area isn’t. You have immediate access to the famous fire station, which in the game is always referred to as HQ. In here you’ll find a plethora of options, clickables, characters and tasks to keep you informed and mildly entertained throughout the game.
HQ is split into different levels and you can navigate them with a simple slide of your finger. Each floor holds a purpose; for instance, the top floor is where you can research newly captured ghosts and baddies. Researching allows you to level up and receive new items. As per the current industry norm, you can speed up the process of a research project by offsetting it with credits or cash.
Inside the HQ you will always have access to your notepad (which keeps track of all outstanding tasks) and your shop. Here you’ll find new equipment, new resources and the ability to hire new “busters” as they’re called throughout the game. In the beginning you are literally spoon fed every piece of information through a sometimes bewildering number of dialogue boxes and pointy arrows, leaving the initial experience to feel very linear and choreographed.
When you eventually get the chance to experience some action, you’re taken to a 2D side scrolling locale, a la Final Fight. This is where you can put some of that equipment research time into practice. The game does a great job of showing off new laser beams and power packs and magic broaches, but somehow the whole experience feels “samey” and under thought.
The movement of your “busters” is simple and effective enough. Drag your buster from one place to another; when a baddie appears, draw a line from you to him. It does add some level of strategy, but with the consistent info overload on screen you struggle to keep up sometimes.
Luckily the difficulty curve is spot on and your ghostly opponents are less than a match in the first few stages of the game. The thread of story that winds it’s way amongst the dialogue boxes comes from the enormous 10 story tower in the middle of the city scape. Here you’re blocked at every door by green slime which can only be dissolved by collecting further green slime at other locations.
Behind each door is another floor with more ghosts and a ramp up in the general story. It must be said that the humor in this game is nicely portrayed and not weak, with little nuances that remind you instantly of happy movie memories. The animation and illustration is also spot-on. It really is lovely to look upon the depth of color and intricacy woven into each scene and character. It’s worth downloading for that alone.
Overall, this game is crafted excellently with some well thought out and clever paradigms that offer the player an interesting prospect. However, the lengthy tutorial process and consistent dialogue boxes will put off some of the less patient among us. If you’re looking for a reminder of movie memories past and a chance to jump the hilly brush with Dr. Venkman and the like, then go over to the App Store and download it right now. But…if you’re looking for something quick, easy and fun, don’t bother.