Title: Spooky Ghosts Dot Com
Developer: Grizzly Wizard Games
Publisher: Lone Wolf Technology
Genre: Action, Platformer
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 02/10/19
Price: £4.49 – Rapid Reviews was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
October, the leaves are changing colours and Halloween is just around the corner. For many, this is a time to turn the lights off and scare yourself senseless with a spooky movie or game. There is a large portion of the population who don’t like being scared, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be allowed to join in on the Halloween festivities. That’s where Spooky Ghosts Dot Com comes in.
Ruby is a ghost hunter and proud owner of Spooky Ghosts dot com. A URL which the creators of the game do not own for some unknown reason. During a late-night session of browsing cat pictures, she receives an email with an urgent request and sets off to hunt some ghosts. And boy, there are a lot of ghosts in the house. Armed with only some sort of laser gun that can fend off ghosts and her wits, Ruby will need to venture through this haunted mansion so she can get paid and go home.
(Note: Do you know how hard it is to talk about fighting ghosts without using the word “bust”?)
The game has a very simple control scheme, that evolves slightly as you progress through the game. It’s an incredibly barebones Metroidvania, so you’ll upgrade your blaster and gain new abilities. You’re never really incentivized to revisit areas, however. You are given the freedom to explore areas at your own pace. The game can be quite punishing, so it is nice to have the flexibility to walk away from a boss or section that is giving you trouble to investigate another part of the map and return. You’ll possibly find some extra health, but that’s about all you’ll find exploring the world. There are also cats you can pet, which unlock fast travel throughout the mansion, but it’s not incredibly useful since you rarely need to return to previous areas unless you absolutely want to collect everything.
You’ll fight all sorts of spooky baddies as you make your way through the mansion. There is a surprising variety of enemies, with each section of the mansion having wholly unique sets of enemies. This keeps the player on their toes and the game feeling new for its entirety. You’ll encounter skeletons, spell-casting birds, knife ghosts, and more. They’re all cute in their own way, as well as dangerous.
If you aren’t careful, you’ll find yourself dying quite often, whether it’s to an enemy or an environmental obstacle. I found the game to be a little too punishing, to be honest. On the normal difficulty, you can’t regenerate health unless you find a savepoint (jack-o-lanterns scattered throughout the house).
The controls of the game feel ever so slightly off. The hangtime on jumps is simultaneously too long and not long enough depending on the situation. Getting high enough on some jumps is weirdly difficult in some areas, and you never get the ability to jump higher.
I struggle to recall the audio design in the game. It’s not bad, just wholly forgettable. You can probably imagine exactly what it sounds like by looking at the screenshots. It’s exactly what you expect from a game that looks like this.
Spooky Ghosts Dot Com is a cute Halloween game for those who like the aesthetic of the season but don’t enjoy being scared. There’s little reason to play it outside of the Halloween season though. Its short length and cheap price make it a great purchase for kids. It’s unlikely you’ll remember the game come November first, but for a short Halloween experience, there are worse things you can play.