Also on: Switch, PC
Developer: 7 Raven Studios
You don?t need to look very hard to see where Ghost Sweeper got its inspiration. It?s basically Solomon?s Key, only with slightly updated graphics and gameplay.
Now, there?s nothing inherently wrong with being wholly indebted to an ?80s puzzle-platformer. It?s hardly the most original thing, but I?m not going to judge people for love letters to their influences.
It?s just that lifting everything wholeheartedly from a 30+-year-old game and then slapping a new coat of paint on it doesn?t make for a particularly interesting experience. The biggest problem with Ghost Sweeper is that it?s boring and repetitive. There are plenty of great games that borrow heavily from the 8-bit era, but they?re great because they do something interesting. This game…does not.
A big part of why it doesn?t is that it feels incredibly clunky. You have to build a path around levels, picking up a key along the way, and all the mechanics feel incredibly dated. Your character can jump, but not high and not far. They can also create and destroy blocks to help them climb around, except because your character?s movement is so clunky, and the levels are so poorly designed, the often feel more like obstacles than helps.
I should also note that the ?new coat of paint? I mentioned two paragraphs up is pretty poorly done, too. Rather than embracing its retro heritage and going all in 8- or 16-bit graphics, or trying to update the game?s look so that it feels a little more modern, instead it?s just plain ugly. While the music fares a little better — it?s as spooky as you?d hope for from a ghost-themed game — it?s still not enough to redeem everything else here.
Honestly, I can?t figure out why anyone would want to buy Ghost Sweeper. I mean, it?s a free phone game (with in-app purchases, of course), and, better still, you can also play Solomon?s Key itself in your browser right now. I?m all for supporting indie games, but when they do as little as Ghost Sweeper does to build on their inspirations, there?s really no point to playing them.
Totalconsole provided us with a Ghost Sweeper Xbox One code for review purposes.