Ghostory, developed and published by RigidCore Games, is a puzzle solving video game for those of us with more evolved problem solving skills. At first it might come across like a simple platformer with a few fun puzzles and comical dialogue filled with puns, until we begin to dive deeper into the caves.
The story picks up following a tourist visiting a wooded area and coming upon a lake. He quenches his thirst by drinking from the odd water, and becomes a translucent phantom. Luckily, not far ahead is an elderly woman, perhaps a witch, who knows how to brew a potion to cure this ailment. Surprise! She no longer has the key ingredient and needs you to retrieve a mushroom from an intricate cave system. The catch? The backpack she provides can only be worn while in physical form. Here begins the first challenge of the puzzles that await our tourist turned adventurer, and not by choice.
Ghostory boasts a vibrant title that easily catches the eye. The graphics are pleasant, but nothing stunning. There aren’t many non player characters, but the ones you do find are designed with large pixels. The background is reminiscent of Terraria, especially since the goal is to traverse the caves and unravel mysteries along the way. The music and sound effects are of a similar quality. I found myself more entertained by listening to my own mix since I was not relying on the sound effects to help me in the game.
Did I mention that finding the mushroom is the easy part? Escaping is the real problem. There’s no crafting or mining involved here. The backpack must leave the caves with you, so the only way out is by solving puzzles that look complicated but generally have simple solutions. After a few levels, it becomes apparent that the puzzles are the real champion of this game. The player moves through the caves using a standard keyboard set up, with either WASD or the Arrows, space for jump, and ‘E’ for action. There’s a combination of challenges here. First, you utilize your ability to shift between ghost and physical form. Colored switches and levers will activate moving platforms or make them appear and disappear. Switches are only active for a certain amount of time, while the levers can be turned on and off at will. Keys are scattered in each level to help you unlock doors or additional switches to help you solve the puzzle. Each level progresses in difficulty, and as you play more obstacles are added.
Everyone is going to find a different level of difficulty in this game based on their own abilities. That being said, I’m a pretty determined person, and I’m compelled to prove to myself that I can overcome the challenges offered in Ghostory. I’m also one of those stubborn people that would rather spend half an hour working to solve the puzzle on my own instead of looking for help. Once I’ve finished the game, I most likely will not pick it back up again.
Another interesting point, the game knows when you’ve been stuck and throws up a message at the top to suggest you check out the help offered in the menu. The option is available to skip the level, which can be done twice, or the developer offers videos on YouTube for each level that is easily accessible by clicking “Walkthrough” in the Help menu. Clever indeed. I’ve had to resort to these videos a few times already.