(Review) Ghostory

I’m not sure which way to lean with Ghostory given everything that went through my mind while I spent my time in the world created by RigidCore Games. This is puzzle game put in the super-friendly looking environments created with some gloriously colored pixels. You’ll be wondering around all sorts of colorfully elaborate cave levels trying to get to the end of each section. That said, Ghostory is no walk in the park. Is it worth the headache though? You know? I think it is. Let me break it down for you though.

As I said, Ghostory looks friendly, but that’s only because it’s trying to draw you in so it can strangle you with its mind-bending puzzles. They are all done with platforming, switches, keys and buttons. I would put timing in there, but that goes hand-in-hand with platforming for me. Sometimes it’s easier, sometimes you throw your controller across the room. It could go either way. I’m not sure how many ways one could solve these puzzles because they almost all seem to be specifically solved one way.  With that, it’s a matter of figuring out the pattern of which button to push or switch to flip first or where to place one’s backpack.

Oh… that’s right, you’re dead too. That plays into two different mechanics that Ghostory will throw at you at all times. Since you’re… well… not completely dead (yet), you have the ability to swap from your person form to your ghost form and visa-versa. This will help you reach levers and buttons quicker at times or get back to a ledge that you’ll need to be back in human form to grab you bag and then jump from. You need your bag to pick up keys after all. That’s the other mechanic, you can’t carry your bag while in ghost form because… narrative. Why don’t you run around as a naked ghost man then? That’s not for me to answer; go ask the dev, but it’s probably along the lines keeping the game appropriate for everyone right? Sure. So at times you’ll jump to a ledge and leave your bag to flip a switch, float back and yadda yadda yadda, grab that key and win. Is it overly complicated at times? Yes… it feels like it, but when you complete the levels you feel a definite sense of accomplishment… unless you watched that available cheat video that tells you exactly what to do.

The down-side to this is that the story is actually interesting. The difficulty, being as rough as it is, can stop you from enjoying it though. When you meet your character he’s running through the forest away from wolves. Eventually he out runs them and takes a drink from a cursed pond, finds a witch that can cure him who sends him into a cave system which ends up being booby-trapped (or at least that’s the way I take it). The witch and the game are filled with puns that I really enjoy them(especially the bad ones). At a certain point though, I’m basically stuck. I could use the videos, but I don’t really want to cheat (and it does feel like cheating to me) so I’m probably a third of the way through the game and can’t progress because I’m unwilling to ask for help. The reason behind that is that I did once and the answer was so obvious, I hated myself for not figuring it out. I don’t want that to happen again; so I’ll just keep pushing buttons and flipping switches until I crack the code or the game breaks me.

Ghostory is basically the videogame equivalent to a Rube Goldberg machine. It’s intricate and interesting to watch all the pieces that go together and fun to play, but basically frustrating to figure out. The platforming is tight to a point where you really need to be on point for a good chunk of the jumps that need to be made (my wife wouldn’t be able to play this game). The story is basic, but good and the puns are mostly glorious. I may never be able to finish Ghostory without using the given cheat videos, but that’s kind of a testament to the difficulty of the challenge that awaits you… or my inability to figure these puzzles out. Either way, Ghostory is a solid puzzle game for those wishing for another mental challenge.

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