I haven't used my PlayStation VR much at all recently. At E3, however, I saw one game that really excited me. Ghost Giant seemed like an extremely interesting tale with a unique perspective. Coming from Zoink (the studio behind Fe and Flipping Death), its the first game in a while that I really felt the need to dig out the headset for. While I ended up getting to another game first, I did make time for Ghost Giant. So was it worth making time for, or should I have let the Ghostbusters do their thing?
There are plenty of games that cover the topic of depression. However, most of the ones that do so do it from the viewpoint of the character suffering depression. Ghost Giant, on the other hand, is more about living with and assisting someone else who has depression. You play as the titular ghost giant, who helps a young boy named Louis. While Louis may have some problems of his own, namely he distanced himself from his best friend and is too introverted to make more, the bigger problem involves Louis' mother. She's behind on several bills and too depressed to even get out of bed. Now it's up to Louis and the Ghost Giant to help her.
Being the Big Friend in Ghost Giant
Sometimes this can honestly be hard to watch. The well-told story of Ghost Giant has several scenes that manage to hit an emotional level that left me surprised. It was always disheartening to watch Louis try to come to grips with his mother's depression, and several times I had to take a step back from the game when the story hit close to home. Way better written than I could have expected, Ghost Giant's story is by far the game's greatest asset.
It also helps that Ghost Giant is pretty funny. From a crow obsessed with stealing shiny objects to a lion from a family of vegetable salesmen who secretly wants to make rose-flavored chocolates, the cast was constantly making me smile outside of the dramatic moments. Some great voice acting helps with this, as does Ghost Giant's interesting French leanings. A lot of the voice acting has French accents, and many of the names and locations are in French. It seems weird to bring this up, but this feels like the first time I've seen France's culture used in a major way since Assassin's Creed Unity (and all the voice actors in that game were British.)
Going on Ghost Giant's Puzzle Adventure
When you're not watching story scenes, Ghost Giant is a pretty typical puzzle game. You'll stand in one spot and use the two PlayStation Move controllers as arms, allowing you to grab and manipulate objects in the environment. You also have the ability to lean in close on specific objects and blow on them to use gusts of wind to push them, but this is something I remember doing twice total during the game's 4 hours run time. You can also pull levers that alter the environment, doing things like turning houses so you can get a peek inside of them, or causing objects to raise out of the ground.
None of the puzzles are really that complicated, usually just requiring a simple series of events out of you. For example, one early game puzzle requires helping Louis reconstruct a crane and then using that crane to load boxes of sunflower seeds onto a truck. First, you need to find gears for the crane, which requires doing things like tickling a clam to get a pearl, helping a young otter overcome her fear of water by just pushing her in, and reconstructing a staircase to help Louis into an area only he can reach. None of this is particularly hard, but it's always satisfying when you realize an answer and can put it together.
Experiencing Ghost Giant's Puzzle Story
That said, glitches hamper some of the puzzles. One puzzle required me to create a piece of art, which I could do by using a brush with various colors to paint. However, the player needs to interact with the environment to actually find these colors. The solution to getting red is smashing tomatoes into a red paste. The first time I played the level, I could smash the tomatoes, but the paste didn't spawn. As such, I became trapped and had no way to finish the level. I wasted quite a bit of time experimenting with weird combinations. Once I figured out that something was wrong, I had to restart from the beginning. Another time the game couldn't find my Move controllers, and just sort of assumed they were somewhere off in the distance until I had reset it.
At least just experimenting is fun. Characters often have silly reactions to things that happen in the environment. Just poking a trio of artsy fartsy cats on a bridge cause them to try and figure out why the town doesn't have real art, and who are currently involved in the love triangle this week. When I finished one level, that took place in the woods, sticking around meant I got to see a bear exercising and jogging past. Each level also has many collectibles, with basketballs to throw through hoops, hats you can put on characters, pinwheels to blow on, and worms to poke. If you're going for 100% you can add a couple more hours to the game easily.
Ghost Giant Review | Final Thoughts
All of this did a good job keeping me entertained while playing Ghost Giant. However, the lovingly crafted story is what really tied it all together. It takes a good game and elevates it to a great one. At several times I really just had to take the headset off, as scenes often left me feeling touched. I could relate to what each character was going through. I wanted to spend more time in the ghost shoes of the Ghost Giant if only to try and continue to provide a little more comfort for each one. If you have PSVR this is a game well worth picking up.
TechRaptor reviewed Ghost Giant on PlayStation VR using a copy provided by the developers.
Ghost Giant's fun puzzles and lovely story are well worth experiencing for anyone who may have access to PSVR.
- Touching Story
- Fun Puzzles
- Entertaining Interactions
- Interesting World
- Puzzles Too Easy Sometimes
- Occasional Glitches