Title: Ghost Giant
Developer: Zoink Games
Publisher: Zoink Games
Genre: Adventure, Casual, Narrative
Platform: Oculus Quest
Audience: PEGI 3
Release Date: 18/02/2020
Price: Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
All Creatures Great and Small
Ghost Giant by Zoink Games released on the PSVR in August 2019 and the release on the Oculus Quest was rumoured and long in development and delayed. This February the story of a friendship between the petite, Louis and a friendly giant. The tale is told through small vignettes set on the backdrops of loneliness, a lost friendship, and helping Louis’ sick mother.
You take on the role of the Giant befriending Louis and helping him along the way to solve puzzles, clear pathways, and complete tasks that only a Giant could complete. The game is told through small snippets of conversation as you complete tasks and help others in the town to get Louis what he needs to help his sick mother. Louis’ journey takes the both of you through over a dozen small levels, some revisiting past sections of the town and Louis’ home but for the most part, each location is unique.
A playful world
The world of Ghost Giant looks as if it was crafted from a child’s imagination through cobbled together paper and cardboard, painted with fantastic strokes of colour and realism. The set pieces include elements of real-world objects turned into dioramas, which as the Ghostly Giant can pull apart and interact with in interesting ways.
Most of the levels have you searching for gleaming gold knobs, keys, handles, and objects that you can pick up, push, pull, and move out of Louis’ way so that he can progress. The levels are primarily linear in having a set path in which you will move Louis through, though some objectives can be handled in a non-linear fashion and levels have various objects to find which have no bearing on the game’s overall narrative.
As you move through the various stages it is easy to get pulled into the conversations and heartbreak that Louis has for his sick mother, a friendship that needs reconciliation, and a being helpful to the various neighbours in the town. The dynamic lighting during in-game conversations acts as a frame to draw you into the world of and to the level of the characters you meet. I found myself oftentimes leaning close to see the details of the character models and the various buildings Ghost Giant would need to peer into.
I have played a few story-driven games on the Oculus Quest and other VR systems, but none made me feel quite like Ghost Giant and the connection you have with Louis. When you and Louis complete certain tasks you can high five and fist pump. If you get lost during any part of the levels you can wave to Louis, get his attention, and he will usually give you a clue as to what you need to do next.
As I stated earlier Ghost Giant has a mostly linear path through the dozen or so levels within the game. Your Giant persona stands in the centre of the level with most things within arms reach. There are hidden hats, a bug, and a pinwheel, the last of which you can blow or talk into to make it spin, to find and unlock. Hats can be placed on top of Louis to change things up as he walks around the world.
The puzzles you will encounter range from fetch quests for other characters, finding knobs or handles to place on the sides of buildings so you can open them up, raise them higher, or one delightful interaction that was one of my favourites, making lighting and rain with a pair of clouds. Most of the interactions are unique, though because you are limited by just the giant’s hands and interacting with objects in the world by the end of the game there really isn’t a lot in terms of variety.
A sound design
Music plays a big part in the end game of Ghost Giant and throughout the adventure, the sound design in the world is both peaceful and inviting while sometimes drawing feelings of anxiousness and melancholiness as Louis talks through his feelings towards his friend and mother. Around you, there are hints of light audio cues from the environment, character conversations, waterfalls, puddles, broken machines and more. These light touches help to create an ambience which counteracts the typical VR shooters and music games that are on the Quest.
Giant Adventure Story
If there is one fault to Ghost Giant it is the length of the story. The game can be beaten in nearly one full charge of the Oculus Quest. The time in Louis’ world though is well spent even if the game is short. There’s not much in terms of replayability either, as once you solve the puzzles you encounter, they are easier to complete on subsequent playthroughs.
Ghost Giant reminds me of another Oculus Quest game, where you play as a giant enigma unseen by others in the game world, and that game is Moss. If you enjoyed the puzzle platforming nature of Moss you will most likely enjoy the world of Ghost Giant.
Ghost Giant is ahead of the rest of many of the games you will find on the Oculus Quest in terms of production values and narrative approach to the story. Characters are voiced well and most everyone you meet, even if just in one scene, is endearing towards Louis and his quest for his mother’s well-being. The game had a few tearful moments which reminded me of my own step-father, who passed away from cancer, though Ghost Giant doesn’t go that deep in terms of the loss felt in the game.
If you are aching for a story-driven game that captures interacting in a virtual world then Ghost Giant will probably scratch that itch and delight you in its short campaign.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Ghost Giant from the Oculus Store on the following link, https://www.oculus.com/experiences/quest/2366136696841248/