Ghost Song Review: Mundane but Full of Heart

by David Sanchez December 12, 2022 @ 10:15 pm

Ghost Song Game

Reviewed on Xbox Series X|S

It’s very obvious that a lot of effort, heart, and soul went into the making of Ghost Song. This Metroidvania title is just full of style and good intentions. Unfortunately, it lacks polish, and its flow is uneven and disjointed. The result is a game that looks pretty cool — but that surface level substance only goes so far.

What Could’ve Been

The biggest hurdle Ghost Song faces is its pacing. The first couple hours of the game are kind of a drag. You’ll explore the nonlinear map, find a spot you can’t get to, backtrack, and collect a power-up or item. Fans of the Metroidvania genre should be familiar with this setup. It’s a tried and true method of progression for these types of games — something that titles like Axiom Verge and both Ori games have excelled at.

Ghost Song Gameplay

Unfortunately, Ghost Song takes too long to get going. The initial moments will probably mesmerize you for a bit on account of the solid audiovisual design. But once you get past that luster, you’ll realize you’re in for a slog. The game simply takes too long to get interesting. By the time I started uncovering cool new weapons, items, and parts of the map, it had already lost my interest and failed to captivate me.

Now, this could just be a case where Ghost Song simply didn’t click with me personally. Quite frankly, if you’re interested in the game, you should definitely give it a try. Especially if you’ve got Game Pass, where it’s available at the time of writing. Give it a go and see if you like it. I truly hope you do. I’m bummed out that I didn’t.

Of course, we’re talking about personal preference here. No, I’m not a fan of how Ghost Song moves along, but you might be, and if so, that’s awesome. Where I had an even bigger issue, though, was with the game’s controls. While the actions and button mappings are all fine, it never felt like Ghost Song was as polished as it could be. Character movement is floaty and slippery, and it generally doesn’t feel good to move around the game world.

You’ll explore a large map and battle enemies using your blaster and melee attacks. This works about as well as it should, but again, due to the wonky character animations and bad movement, combat simply isn’t all that satisfying. Enemies are all sponges, too, so taking them down feels like a chore and is never entertaining.

A Futuristic, Metroid-Esque World That’s Missing Something Special

Ghost Song Game World

While it isn’t perfect, the visual design of Ghost Song is actually pretty cool and easily the game’s strongest point. It’s like a more ethereal Metroid, with futuristic, alien architecture and creepy, bug-like enemies. It works well, but good aesthetics will only go so far in the case of a mundane action-adventure game.

The music is okay for the most part, too. Some themes are forgettable, but overall, there’s a moody vibe to the audio direction here that works well and adds to the sci-fi allure of Ghost Song.

If you’re a big fan of the Metroidvania genre, it’s possible you’ll find a lot to like in Ghost Song. And at eight hours, it’s a nice length of time to spend exploring the game’s world. That is, of course, if you actually find it interesting. To the game’s credit, it definitely tries to provide a solid, gripping experience. Unfortunately, its overall design is too tedious and underwhelming to make it feel like a worthwhile trek.

Score: 5 out of 10

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