GhostControl Inc. – Reviewed
by Marcus Estrada
Updated June 17th, 2014.
Our review of GhostControl Inc. initially ran in February. However, the developer was not content with that being the final version. In preparation for the game’s Steam launch a host of new features and updates were brought to the game. Here is a brief synopsis of how things have changed to make GhostControl Inc. a better experience.
The most notable tweaks are the Spookipedia and Equipment Guide. These two new options are found via the smartphone and grant players a wealth of easily accessible information. As you might guess, the Spookipedia details information about the various ghostly creatures you’ll come across in game. Of course, creatures you haven’t encountered yet are hidden from view. Most of the information is just goofy flavor text but it also gives tactical hints about how to approach each type.
Similarly, the Equipment Guide provides information about various ghost suckers, traps, sensors, and outfits. This is an easy way to see what effects various items have during battle. Percentages such as precision and catch ability are also shown, which is a good way to compare between different weapon types. All of this information is also available via handy tooltips which also were integrated into the update.
There are many more small tweaks but these are some of the biggest. The silly writing is still present and has even been integrated into their recent Spanish translation. It looks like GhostControl Inc. is a more accessible strategy game than ever before, which is great considering the game already had a lot going for it. If you nab it on Steam you’ll also get achievements and trading cards!
Ghostbusters was one heck of a movie that left an indelible impression on me when I watched it at a local drive-in theater. Since then, I’ve looked everywhere for the perfect Ghostbusters game – but none exist! At least, everything that was ever expressly created as a spinoff paled in comparison to what my mind conjured up for a fun experience. Then, the GhostControl Inc. Kickstarter popped up and I almost lost my mind. Would this be the game I had been hoping for after all this time?
GhostControl Inc. is definitely a blast. You start the game in a rinky-dink shop with only one team member of a ghost extermination company. The goal is simply to make your business as expansive, and profitable, as possible. The only way to do this is to take on client’s tasks, get paid, and grow your company into a veritable empire! As you might expect, there’s a lot standing in the way of this dream.
The business management portion of the game is easy enough to understand. Sell your wares for money and buy increasingly powerful items and team members to stay on top. Getting the heaps of money required to do all this comes from “battle” sequences. Once at a ghost-infested home, you’re treated to an isometric viewpoint with overlaid grid of the location. Everything plays out in a turn-based fashion, with each ghost controller getting two movements per turn before shifting over to enemy movements. As far as strategy games go, this one is about average, with the ability to shoot, place/pick up traps, and do a few more actions.
Playing the starting missions was great as I felt like a real ghost bustin’ pro. Then, GhostControl Inc. started to amp up the pressure. At this point, it seemed the strategy gameplay was a bit too random. You see, ghosts (and other monstrosities) can only be captured via traps. Once a trap is placed, it goes off during the enemy turn but can only nab weakened foes. That’s not it though! Randomization also plays a factor as to whether a creature (that has been beaten to a pulp) will even get caught. Without a dependable trapping time frame, it often became impossible to complete tasks unscathed.
Attacks from the fiendish enemies don’t damage character health but their sanity. Apparently, sanity can be restored at a hospital so expect to make regular trips to one. Of course, a visit costs money. So too does the gas expended to drive all the way across town. Don’t forget those traps full of ghostly goo, either. They also need to be emptied but that can only be done at headquarters. Before you realize it, you’ll be making regular jaunts all across town which adds even more expenditures into the mix. Making money isn’t tremendously difficult but most of it gets spent quickly.
At this point it might seem like I really disliked GhostControl Inc. but that’s not the case! Despite the tweaks I wish had been made to the battle system, or perhaps an easier difficulty setting, it was hard to stop playing. The world is cutely realized with 16-bit style artwork. Enemies are interesting to fight against, especially when their special abilities come into play. As it turns out, the sometimes unfair difficulty even makes me more determined to succeed.
Then there is the translation which is tremendously silly. It appears the game was not made in English first, which leads to some awkward and unexpected phrasing. Some will definitely view this as a problem, but to me it symbolized a true return to games of the previous eras. There was a time when localization was hurried and resulted in ridiculous “Engrish” text. There was never a point that I couldn’t understand what the game was saying so it felt like a nice touch, despite not being purposeful.
There’s one word that continues to come to mind the more I play GhostControl Inc.: Charming. This game has an undeniable charm that oozes from the fantastic pixel art, silly wording, and simple but tough strategy elements. As long as you’re willing to go broke a few times, there’s tons of fun to be had while playing. Go forth and exterminate ghosts!
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[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/marcus.jpg” ]Marcus is a fellow with a love for video games, horror, and Japanese food. When he’s not writing about games for a multitude of sites, he’s usually still playing one. One day when he became fed up with the way sites would ignore niche titles he decided to start his own site by the name of Pixel Pacas. Writing about video games is something he hopes to continue doing for many years to come. Some of Marcus’s favorite games include Silent Hill 2, Killer7, and The Sims. [/author]