The Metroidvania style of game is one of the oldest, but it's also one of the trickiest. It has to be structured in such a way as to avoid tedium while still providing a nice degree of challenge. This can be seen in Ghost Song by Old Moon. Befitting the style, the devs constructed a sci-fi labyrinth with a mysterious vibe that follows you throughout the adventure. It goes for more graphic visuals over pixels to try and emphasize sharpness and movement. Just try not to let it distract you from the dangers and details you'll need to consider if you want to figure out the way forward.
Composing the Ghost Song
Sometimes the best stories are the ones that are revealed the more and more you play. This is the road that Ghost Song travels comfortably. As an unknown being called 'Deadsuit', you awaken in a strange alien world. There is a lot of beauty to be found, but the main threat seems to be forms of insect and plant life. Something more sinister appears to be consuming the poor souls that end up on this planet which is surrounded by a strange field that causes ship systems to fail. After meeting a group of survivors and their downed ship, you'll need to lead Deadsuit to find the parts to repair it so that you can try to leave while also discovering the truth about yourself.
Ghost Song hits high notes of Metroidvania
Great songs have dynamic rhythm and flow that leads to a wonderful song in any form. Ghost Song has achieved this in various forms. The first is the gameplay control and feel. As Deadsuit, the movement has a solid pace in terms of running, jumping, and attacking. In combat, you have a number of options that feed into each other. A prime example is how when you fire your blaster too much, it overheats but this significantly strengthens your melee attack. You also get a wide range of secondary blaster attachments, some of which come into play when you least expect them.
Then there's the Metroidvania layout of the environment. The map always has an icon to shoot for so you're never completely lost. The way progression works allow you to get more used to backtracking and exploration. Fast Travel is unlocked early on and it's up to you to find more travel points. Then there are new pieces introduced for faster movement and more fluid navigation which you learn to appreciate after a nice buildup. What's even more satisfying is that you're encouraged to seek out powerful enemies which not only provides an exciting combat challenge and the prospect of valuable rewards each time.
Ghost Song has lows on the technical side
Even though the game follows a mechanical being, there are some Ghost Song mechanics that don't work very well. The most notable is the melee and hitboxes. Even though melee attacks can be quite strong, especially when boosted by overheating, the range is very short and some enemies aren't as large as they may seem. You often have to put yourself at risk of contact damage just to use them effectively, so it's best to equip ranged versions. This also applies to Deadsuit herself whose body is sizable enough that it's easy to accidentally step into hazards. It also doesn't help that some enemies are small enough that they can hide behind bits of scenery and you won't see them until it's already too late.
It also becomes clear that the bosses are easily the most interesting part of the character assets. A majority of enemies are simply recolored with the repeat tactic of gathering together and attempting to swamp you. Once you realize that, you can easily take them out from afar and then safely walk through their chambers. Many rooms give you the chance to get the drop on enemies before they spot you which starts to feel a bit too easy the more time goes on.
Sing along with Ghost Song
Ghost Song is a 2D graphical Metroidvania about a revived mechanical suit exploring a haunting alien world to help a crashed crew. The controls work well for combat and navigation, in an environmental setup that gets more enjoyable as you get more powerful. On the technical side of things, the hitboxes on both the enemies and Deadsuit aren't as refined as they could be with enemy behaviors and appearances being kind of boring. There's still plenty of excitement should you decide to listen to the ghost song.
TechRaptor reviewed Ghost Song on Steam with a copy provided by those behind the game. It is also available on Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox.
- Sharp graphics with quality rigging animation
- Reliable controls with good mechanics progression
- An interesting environmental layout
- Player character and enemy hitboxes could be more accurate
- Enemy variety in terms of look and tactics could use more variety