Come on, anyone with fond memories of the 80’s movies or animated series has been waiting for a Ghostbusters game to hit iOS, right? Well, our prayers have been answered because XMG Studio’s Ghostbusters Paranormal Blast (Out Now, $0.99) just appeared on the App Store. Sadly though, this is a textbook case of, “be careful what you wish for.”
That little part of me that wanted a Ghostbusters game is currently cursing at a rapid-fire rate because this isn’t what it had in mind. Rather than a full-blown Ghostbusters adventure, Paranormal Blast is an augmented reality type, location-based, first-person affair that uses your surroundings as the backdrop for your ghost busting.
To begin, you pick one of six characters to play as, and using your map you choose a location near you and head out to capture some ghosts. You click on the location on your map and your device’s camera will act as the level as ghost flies around the screen. Controls for your Ecto Pack appear at the bottom right of the screen and you press on it until your ready to trap. The trap will be available at the bottom left and after you slide it out you have to tilt your device to center your target, slide your finger up and hold the ghost there until it’s sucked in.
All battles are like this and none manage to muster up much in the way of epicness. The concept is a cool one, if you’ve always suspected your dentist’s office was haunted. You can still click the locations around you and bust the ghosts but it’s just not the same if you’re not at the actual location. I wouldn’t even necessarily label this as a game but there is Game Center support for whatever reason.
While not out looking for ghosts, you can buy upgrades buy using “Buster Bucks” which can be earned from answering your phone and doing jobs or by using your real money and going through the in-app purchasing. The gyroscope tilting controls used to capture the ghosts works well enough. Not being a huge fan of gyroscope controls, I was a little hesitant in jumping into this game but after busting the first couple ghosts, I was ready to concede the controls are pretty good. That said, one of the major flaws when it comes to the gameplay is not being able to dodge your enemy’s attack. You basically have to stand there and take it or move your screen as far right or left as you possibly can. Your ghostly enemy has more freedom when it comes to moving around, especially if you’re as lazy as me when it comes to games and don’t feel like standing up and actually moving. There’s nothing else really to do and it gets extremely repetitive.
Visually the game isn’t anything too special. Considering the levels are reliant on where you are currently standing, the only real visual aspect to discuss is the ghosts themselves. They look good enough, but due to the comic book style art they aren’t really all the fearsome or scary. There are various looks to the apparitions and the difficulty does ramp up, which adds a tiny amount of variety to the battles. The sound lacks some familiarity, which is a real shame. As far as I can tell, the widely loved and well known Ghostbusters theme isn’t in the game and it’s been replaced by some generic music that just doesn’t cut it. Also, the Ecto-1’s siren is missing which would have been a nice treat for long time devoted fans.
Ghostbusters Paranormal Blast boasts a neat concept but gets stale pretty quick. The controls work well and the ghost busting can be fun but the use of gyroscope controls to target can become cumbersome. This isn’t much of a “game” but rather more of an app you show your friends as a display of what the iPhone is capable of. Not the Ghostbusters game you’ve been waiting for.