As a kid I loved Ghostbusters. Never mind that the movies came out just shortly before I was born. Movies, cartoon and even comic books, I thought it was great. Imagine my excitement then when I played the Ghostbusters Mega Drive game. I was playing as the characters from the movie! Busting ghosts, jumping over platforms and swimming through ghost-octopus infested waters; it was just like the movie… more or less. It was memories of that game which got me to check out the newest Ghostbusters game on iPhone by Beeline. As good as the Mega Drive game was, this new game blows it away. For the first time I really feel like a ghostbuster.
The game claims you’re tasked with running your own Ghostbusters branch, which is half true. It’s basically just the Ghostbusters branch from the movies. Although the loveable canonical quartet drive the story conversations, you have to pop down some cash if you want to play as them. Thankfully the original characters that it gives you are perfectly adequate to play through the entirety of the game with.
There are two types of gameplay, managing and ghostbusting. The non-combat gameplay takes place within your HQ where with the swipe of a finger you can swap to different floors. Each floor has something to interact with whether it’s the basement to check on your captured ghosts or whether you’re starting some new research up on the top floor. Researching items gives your party upgraded items which makes your life in combat easier. They take a few hours to complete but you can use power cores to speed it up. Cores are the game’s way of making money but, as with the characters, you can get by without them.
Combat itself is straightforward and fun. Everything takes place in real time meaning you have to manage your whole team at once. This might sound hectic, and it can become quite taxing in the harder battles, but usually it’s just difficult enough to keep you on your toes but not too hard to make the whole fight a horrible panic inducing mess. You tap a character to issue them orders, which boils down to: move them to a new position, use a special ability or start firing on a ghost.
The goal of the game isn’t to simply bust every ghost around, there’s a bit of a story going on too. Depending on the difficultly of the task you’ll be awared a number of slime. Collect enough slime and you can travel up to the next floor of the main building which furthers the plot. Cleverly this building has a number of upgrades for your team too giving you incentive to try fight your way to it. Each floor also brings a challenging ghost encounter to make sure you work for those upgrades.
The production values of the game are very high, especially considering it’s free. You’ll recognise remixed music from the movies matching your activities on screen. The Ghostbusters HQ is also faithfully recreated, you can even see Janine sat at her desk. The art style is also a really fun colourful cartoon interpretation that gives the whole game a very light hearted and fun feel.
I’ve had the game for several weeks now and I find myself going back to it again and again. Combat is short enough that you can jump in when you have a few minutes spare so there’s no worry about starting a battle you don’t have time to complete. Meanwhile upgrading items at HQ and watching your characters walk around provide a nice break. If you have even a vague interest in the franchise you should definitely check it out, it won’t even cost you a penny.