Ghost Giant released as a physical game disk to the PlayStation VR on May 7 by Zoink Games. My friends and I watched the trailer and immediately one of them made the joke, "You should give it a star for every time it makes you cry."
I don't have enough stars.
Seriously. This trailer doesn't do the game justice at all, but now that I've played the game, I can understand why so few details were all the trailer revealed. Not knowing the things I do now is what made Ghost Giant hit as hard as it did while I was playing and I'm incredibly thankful for it.
For all of those reasons, I'm going to write up my review with as few spoilers as possible. Instead, I'm going to give you more insight on what to expect and what kind of gameplay exists without spoiling any of the plotlines.
It's okay to not be okay
Bottom line: Ghost Giant is captivating in its own right. Not only is it worth playing a second time, but it's worth showing all of your friends and family too. It offers real life lessons and plenty of heart-wrenching content.
The Cons: Limitations of Ghost Giant
I can't blame Zoink Games for the general issues with PlayStation VR tracking, so I didn't consider that factor when determining my score for this game. I can say — as someone who plays across many VR headsets — that I wish this game existed for the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or even the Oculus Go.
PlayStation VR isn't terrible when it comes to tracking, but there is a noticeable difference when comparing it to other headsets. Given the limited movement required to play, and the fact this game could easily be played sitting down with only one hand, I think it would do quite well (if not better) on a standalone headset.
Other than that, I was kind of disappointed in how much of this world I couldn't interact with. Everything was so vibrant, colorful, and cool looking that I wanted to grab ALL OF THE THINGS, but I could only grab some of the things. While that wasn't an extremely detrimental piece to my enjoyment, I would've had even more fun if I could've influenced the world more.
The Pros: What gameplay is like in Ghost Giant
You have three fingers to your giant hands and two control options: Grab and poke. Most of the objects you can interact with in this game are bright and golden, but there are quite a few treats for you to find as well.
Each level has a series of items that need to be "found" including hats, basketball hoops, pinwheels, and a little worm friend. As you complete each level, you have to poke a sign that will take you to the next chapter. Before you go, the sign will show you a score above it to let you know what you've found and what still needs to be found.
None of these challenges are required to complete the chapter and not finding any of them won't affect the story in any way. They're simply fun little challenges to keep you more entertained as you complete the game.
Let me tell you something, friend. Throwing a basketball into a tiny hoop in virtual reality is not exactly the easiest thing in the world, but it was just challenging enough for me to keep trying. Here's a short clip of my struggles (and eventual success) to laugh at just as hard as my friends who were watching did.
The puzzles to advance in the story weren't exactly challenging, but they did require a bit of work. I'd say each chapter takes about 10-15 minutes to complete if you're not counting the time it takes to look for hats, worms, pinwheels, and basketballs. Since there are over 10 chapters it should take anywhere from 1.5-2 hours for you to complete the game and even longer if you're trying to complete it 100%.
The Pros: There are life lessons in Ghost Giant
They say it takes three acts of kindness to make up for one at of cruelty. In the case of your ghost fingers, however, it just takes one touch to get the process started. When your little friend starts to get sad, the environment around the two of you changes to reflect his mood. As the world goes dark, you hear Louis' mentality start slipping, but as soon as you reach out, he'll snap back into reality.
|Publisher | Zoink Games|
|Developer | Zoink Games|
|Genre | PSVR / Puzzle|
|Age-rating | Everyone|
|Players | Single-player|
|Platforms | PlayStation VR|
|Price | $30|
The first time this happened, it was a crushing realization of the cause and effects of depression in the real world. It took me back to that same paralyzing fear of watching my loved ones slip in the same way Louis did and how helpless I felt. But seeing the visual change in the world of Ghost Giant, that you can't see in real life, made me realize how all of those conversations with my loved ones were effectively the same thing as poking Louis.
It teaches that you don't always have to know the right thing to say (or even say anything at all) to help the people who are dealing with these types of issues. Just being there as a helping hand can make a world of difference. The story of Ghost Giant is beautifully designed and executed to teach its players what mental struggle looks like, how to recognize unhealthy ways of dealing with it, and how to get out when you feel like you've sunk too far.
It does all of this without ever outwardly saying so. Instead, you just learn through experience. It's perfect for the people battling these demons and the people watching their loved ones battle the same kinds of demons.
Should you buy Ghost Giant?
Absolutely. It doesn't matter if you're going through a hard time, know someone who is, or don't know anyone who is. This game is absolutely wholesome in every way and, honestly, I'm still crying off and on as I type this review.
5 out of 5
Ghost Giant gets a solid five out of five stars from me — and not just because of the "one star for every tear" joke. The story is captivating, the visuals are stunning, and I've never wanted to throw a game at all of my friends and family so hard in my entire life. It sounds weird to admit you've bawled like a baby and still recommend the product, but trust me. This game is worth every tear I've shed for both SadBoy™ feelings and happiness.
A friend in need is a friend indeed
Open your heart for another small friend.
Meet Louis, your new friend who needs a lot of your help. Discover what's been plaguing his daily life and how you can help him through the tale presented in Ghost Giant. You'll come out a different person on the other end, I swear it.
Essa Kidwell is an expert in all things VR and mobile devices who can always be found with an Oculus Go, a Pixel 2, and an iPhone 7+. They've been taking things apart just to put them back together for quite some time. If you've got a troubleshooting issue with any of your tech, they're the one you want to go to! Find them on Twitter @OriginalSluggo or Instagram @CosmeticChronus.
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