Oh Ghostbusters, how I wanted to love you…
Ghostbusters was easily my most beloved franchise growing up, I had all the toys and watched the movies and TV show to death. I even loved that horrendous excuse for a video game they released decades ago. When news dropped that a Capcom-developed Ghostbusters game had arrived for free on mobile, it’s no surprise I was excited.
The game puts you in charge of the New York Ghostbusters HQ, a skyscraper in the city has been seized by somebody with a vendetta against Venkman and you’ll need to battle your way to the top to defeat them. To do this, you’ll have to send your team of new Ghostbusters out on missions around the city and research new tech and equipment to defeat the ever-increasing masses. The original Ghostbusters are also available, but they cost 50 power cores each – a £2.99 in-app purchase required.
After a pretty enjoyable first hour or so, I hit the pay wall, hard. It made me really appreciate the balance in Middle Manager of Justice, which asked for a significant time investment and was still playable without purchases, this game stops you dead.
Free to play is one thing, artificially slowing the pace of the game and rewarding people willing to pay in is one thing, but this game advertises itself as free to play, then stops you dead in your tracks after a short time, even locking your characters from leveling up until you advance in the main story(requiring purchases to overcome the impossible odds). Tech upgrades jump from level one taking thirty minutes to complete to level two requiring twelve hours, of course you can speed this up with an in-app purchase.
The gameplay falls on its arse a bit too, difficulty ramps up by simply throwing more enemies at you at once, overlapping one another making targeting a nightmare. Often it’s difficult to get the individual members of your team targeting the same ghost, usually bringing defeat your way. Your own team show a surprising lack of initiative and will happily stand around while their friends take a beating, they’ll also overlap each other leading to problems when trying to use special abilities, again sometimes bringing a frustrating end to a mission.
Another gripe, the sound. Various arrangements of the iconic theme, ECTO-1’s siren and other tunes from the movies are in place, but proton pack sounds are replaced by generic sounding effects. That escalating hum when a proton pack is switched on is so memorable and to omit it is a real shame.
From an entertaining start, this game fell out of favour with me quickly due to it’s aggressive free to play balancing. I’d much rather just have a paid-for version so I didn’t have to bother with any of this premium currency rubbish. I hope they address this issue in the future, but as of version 1.01, I wouldn’t bother with this one.