Ghost Parade (PS4, Switch, PC)

Suri is an ordinary schoolgirl who misses the bus one day and must walk home.  She decides to take a shortcut through a forest so she can make it home before dark.  Unfortunately, mysterious beasts are acting aggressive in the forest, and Suri gets lost!  But luckily she befriends a bunch of ghosts along the way that can help her make it out of the forest and save it from danger.  Play as Suri and a following parade of ghosts in this 2-D platforming jumping “Metroidvania” adventure, meaning you’ll explore sprawling mazes and must come back to areas later with new abilities to progress further.  One interesting thing about Ghost Parade is that it’s based on Indonesian folklore, which you don’t see too much in video games.  It’s available for most current consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

Despite being an ordinary schoolgirl, Suri can jump and double jump.  And shortly after the beginning, she’ll meet up with a mysterious woman who gives her a lantern to help defend herself.  Suri can swing it around to defeat bugs and other baddies.  Crouch down to sneak past sleeping foes, too.  As you play, you’ll meet various ghosts on your travels who will follow you.  Press the shoulder buttons to use one of the three ghosts’ skills in your party.  Some ghosts can be rolled into a ball and shot out like a projectile to break rocks.  One gives you a protective shield for a limited time, and one can fire out a spray of bullets.  If you have the right combination of ghosts in your party, you’ll be able to unleash a powerful combo with one of the shoulder buttons as well.  Just use skills sparingly as you must wait for a meter to fill before using them again, and it takes a while!  Plus, despite being a “Metroidvania” title, this game felt fairly linear to me.  I did like the graphics, which reminded me of a VanillaWare game.

One of the biggest problems I had with the game is that there is a whole subscreen with things you can do, but the game doesn’t mention those at all!  You can use items to increase your health, attack, and defense, and even craft items.  You can level up and increase stats with a skill tree, view a useless map, and much more.  But the game doesn’t tell you this and you won’t know anything about it until you press the pause button for the first time.  And the problems don’t end there.  Play control is floaty and the difficulty level spikes way up after you get started.  You know how in some games when you get hit, you’ll be invulnerable for a second?  Well not here, which means you could get stuck continuously taking damage until you die and there’s nothing you can do about it.  Luckily there are checkpoints and save areas aplenty, but it sure makes boss fights and tough areas annoying.  The game also doesn’t give you any indication on what is a bottomless pit and where you can just go down, leading to lots of deaths for no reason.  It’s a shame because Ghost Parade had so many good ideas, it just needed more time in the oven with play testers who know what makes a fun game.

Kid Factor:

Ghost Parade is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Crude Humor, Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes, and Use of Tobacco.  You can hit enemies with your lantern and ghost powers, but they just fall over and disappear when defeated.  One of the kid ghosts is seen poking a swirly poop in a cutscene, so that’s probably where the crude humor comes from.  Didn’t really notice any suggestive themes or use of tobacco, so it must be used sparingly.  Reading skill is needed for the text, and younger players may find the game too difficult.

One Response to “Ghost Parade (PS4, Switch, PC)”

  1. I love those graphics.

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