Ghostanoid (Switch) Review

Ghostanoid is an Arkanoid/Breakout clone with a ghost busting twist. Instead of clearing the screen of every brick, the goal is to hit each ghost enough times to make them disappear.  Buff and debuffs are almost constantly thrown at the player and each ghost behaves a little differently. The builder ghost, for example, will replace bricks you have already broken.

With the available power ups and ghost destroying mechanic, Ghostanoid sounds good on paper but results in an uninspired battle of repetition.  Even though there are dozens of stages, each stage is almost exactly the same as the last. Making matters worse, stars must be earned to unlock the later levels. Each stage grades the player from one, two, or three stars depending on score, not how quickly you destroy each ghost. Since the player cannot fully control the ball, finishing each stage is almost random. Sometimes you will kill all the ghosts quickly and barely break any bricks but other times you can clear almost every brick before nabbing that last ghost. It becomes tedious to replay the same levels only to earn one star even for sniping all the ghosts with insane accuracy.  Playing well actually punishes the player.

Power ups and debuffs take the form of falling icons. Grab one with your horizontally moving paddle and something will happen. Unfortunately, it can be confusing to grab the good ones but avoid the bad ones in the heat of a match as the screen is often filled with moving objects. Bricks don’t simply disappear, they actually fall off the screen with a dropping animation. Combine this with the moving ghosts, the particle effects, trying to keep the ball alive, and falling icons, the player cannot focus on anything which means you will probably wind up collecting the negative effecting items. These items also troll the player. The pill icon looks like it would heal you in some way, it is a pill after all. Instead, grabbing the pill annoying reverses your controls for a really long stretch of time. This doesn’t make the game more fun, it only frustrates.

As unintuitive as the gameplay is, the musical score is the worst part about this digital download. The carnival tunes and generic sound effects are easily some of the worst on the Switch eShop. Luckily, they can be turned off from the main menu. There is also a professor character that talks in dialog bubbles before each stage, usually with a mention of an immature innuendo. It is not humorous, only eye rolling.

Ghostanoid deserves some props for trying something a little different with gaming’s oldest genre. It is unfortunate the end result falls flat and instead this game should be called Hemorrhoid instead of Ghostanoid (hey, if the game can make stupid dick and ball jokes, why can’t I?).

SCORE: 5/10

Not As Good As: a 4-player Warlords cabinet
Also Try: Arkanoid: Doh It Again (SNES)  
Wait For It: Shatter 2

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief
Twitter: @ZackGaz

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