I really did not want to write this review. The only reason I did so is because I could only stand to play this game for one hour before requesting a refund and I need to get this out while it’s still fresh in my mind. Ghostie Quest is bad, as in VERY FUCKING BAD! I only got this game because it was on sale for fifty cents on Steam and because there were no reviews. Thank god for Steam refunds, because this game is not even worth the fifty cents I got it for, let alone its normal $2.00 price.
This game, along with 8BitBoy have basically confirmed that I should not trust 2D platformers that look like the first Super Mario Bros. Yes, that may already be a “no shit” situation, but keep in mind that Super Mario Bros should not be so hard to do right. Unfortunately, that is not the case when you are an amateur developer who doesn’t test their games to make sure they have decent physics. The movement and jumping physics in Ghostie Quest, much like with 8BitBoy, destroy any chance that it had of being fun.
There are some decent attempts put forth with non linear level design and multiple exits that will take you to different stages (as opposed to the half assed “let’s you skip half the game” reward that even competently made platformers still fucking use). The problem is that it is a struggle to even get through the simplest of stages due to how poorly your character handles. The first thing one will notice upon playing or even watching footage of this game is just how SLOW it is. There is a one second delay between pressing the button and your character actually moving or jumping. Considering how much platformers prioritize quick reflex and timing, this one second delay will royally screw you over a number of times.
If that wasn’t enough, your jump is very floaty and it takes a whole five seconds for you to hit the ground. While the obstacles in this game also move slowly, they are arranged in a fashion that still does not give you enough time to react. I had a ton of trouble getting past the very first level of the game due to it having falling spikes straight out of I Wanna Be the Guy, in addition to ones poking out of the ground at you. This meant that beating Ghostie Quest is based more so around memorization than skill, which is not fun. On top of that, you have limited lives, and you will need to start the entire game over from the beginning if you run out. You only start out with three lives, but a lot of the levels contain more than one extra life that all respawn upon dying, so one can fix that by tediously farming lives.
While I would not say that Ghostie Quest is as absurdly difficult as Attacking Zegeta, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t reminded of it. Similarly to Attacking Zegeta, you die in one hit, but you also have no way of defending yourself against enemies (according to the in game instructions, you do find other forms that give you power ups, but I never found any in the 8 levels I played). It’s just you battling this game’s horrendous movement physics. Oh, and levels also have a time limit because this game just HAS to be like Super Mario Bros, even though it discourages the exploration that these levels are built around. On top of this, some levels just decide to put in random “screw you” moments such as the second level where blocks and clouds will randomly crumble into dust with no way of telling which ones will, or when enemies that appear to be following a pattern will randomly turn around and run into you.
Presentation wise, Ghostie Quest looks like a flash game, jumps are coupled with Ghostie saying something through a chipmunk filter, almost all levels have the same backdrop and theme, and the music is completely ill fitting and sounds like it was put there at random with no sense of setting up any kind of mood (although some were kinda catchy). This game even makes it difficult to navigate through the menus because there is a five second delay between each scroll.
According to this game’s Steam page, it was made in 1999. I, however, found nothing about this game other than stuff relating to the Steam release. Of course, it does not make a difference because this game is garbage by the standards of any gaming era. It’s unappealing, slow, frustrating, and downright tedious. It was so tedious in fact that I even start to feel drained just thinking about it to write this review. I have so many better things I can be doing right now. I could be working on one of my upcoming projects, I could be talking to one of my friends, or I could be playing something that is actually good. But instead, I just wrote this review to make sure I have my feelings on this abominable game marked down. If you are one of the 12 people interested in this game, there are much better uses for $2.00, like convenience store snack food, or as toilet paper.
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