Title: Ghost Parade
Developer: Lentera Nusantara
Publisher: Numskull Games
Genre: Action, Adventure, Platformer
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 31/10/2019
Price: £34.99 – Rapid Reviews was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
In Ghost Parade, you play as Suri, a young girl who falls asleep at school and misses the bus home. As a result, she decides to take a shortcut through the Svaka Forest, which teachers at her school have suggested is an animal sanctuary. (Or is it…?) On your way, you’ll learn a lot about the folklore of Developer Lentera Nusantara’s home country, Indonesia.
Right away, I found the art lovely and expressive. It’s some of the best art I’ve seen in a game in a long time. The music, too, is quite pleasant and suits the atmosphere of a mythological forest as well.
You start off in Svaka Forest and have to avoid damage, whether it’s from brambles or from falling from great heights. It appears that you can only save at specific points, which is unfortunate but common enough as a feature. You save at lampposts.
After swinging across some plants, you eventually come to meet a strange woman, who offers you a lantern to “light your path and protect you from any dangers” lurking in the forest. (The item itself is called a Lentera. The Developer’s name is Lentera Nusantara, meaning “The Lantern of Archipelago.” Interesting little fact!) You use the lantern as your weapon of “choice.” Enemies lurk in the forest, and you must be careful not to ignore even plants, as those enemies may prove to be your downfall.
I died many times in the beginning due to both enemies and environmental factors; save often! When you do manage to level up, your HP is not restored completely. Some enemies can be beaten, but others, like the boars, appear to be too dangerous. You can sneak by them by crouching and walking past them.
Enemies aren’t necessarily the most dangerous part of the game, either. Be prepared to see the loading screen quite a bit, as death is extremely frequent (well, for me at least). I wish the loading was a bit faster, considering how often I died. The environment has spikes and rolling boulders that can and will kill you, so be prepared for anything. You must learn from your mistakes, and occasionally try a different route, if you want to find success in this game. (Whether or not you miss something by taking different routes, I cannot say.) I died so often that my sister came in and asked about the screaming coming from the game.
You battle enemies by swinging your lantern or using your ghost friend’s powers. As you play and acquire more ghosts, you proceed to learn more about Indonesia’s folklore when you look at your journal.
If you get lost – which I did quite often – you can look at the map they give you. Sometimes it’s not so obvious which direction to go in, so once you look at the map, it should give you some idea of what to do.
I eventually reached a village where I was able to recruit additional ghosts. I wish I was able to skip the Mak Lampir mini-game, as that was especially frustrating. Somehow, I managed to beat it (I took pictures of the recipes for the potions and then went from there). There are other mini-games such as fishing and shopkeeping that are much easier that you can do to earn rewards like money and accessories.
Something to note is that when you see lines moving up into the air, it’s time to use your parachute. I was stuck for the longest time until I took a random guess and used it. You gain the ability to parachute and more as you proceed through the game. These abilities will help you progress through areas you previously couldn’t.
Boss battles can be difficult, but my favourite had to be the spider, as it only took me one try to beat. If you stick with it, it seems as though the game only gets easier as you go (for the most part), both in terms of the platforming and in terms of the bosses. Perhaps this is due to getting used to the game’s mechanics, or an unbalanced difficulty curve.
As you proceed through the game, you come to realise that the forest is under attack. Your goal becomes not only escaping the forest but helping save it as well.
Aesthetically, this is one of the loveliest games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. It’s also one of the most challenging. I did end up giving up close to the end, as there was one chase scene I couldn’t manage to beat. I played about twenty to twenty-five hours, and still enjoyed it well enough despite not being skilled enough to beat the game. If you’re looking for a gorgeous, culturally intriguing, and challenging game, Ghost Parade is the one for you.