With a vacuum on my back and a burning lasso in my hand, I set about stalking the streets of London in my two-seater, searching for Screamers, Voodoo Spectres and dastardly Liches. I found myself frequently and ironically singing “I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghost” while my employees ran manically for the exit; never to be seen again. This is the joy that is GhostControl Inc.

There’s turn-based strategy galore in this retro ghost hunting adventure game from Bumblebee. Progression in the game hinges entirely on catching antisocial ghosts and collecting the reward money. In turn you can buy the finer things in life, such as more staff, grander HQs and the best medical health care available for your psychologically scarred staff.

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The gameplay revolves around helping frantic Londoners with ghost problems and bagging the green. GhostControl Inc. shares some of the characteristics you’d expect from titles such as XCOM. For example, the enemy is confronted in an isometric turn-based battle that ends when all enemies have been captured or destroyed. Other aspects such as building, vehicle and weapon upgrades are available too, but in much less depth than would be hoped for.

There are three different sized HQs in the London map. Aside from completing the objective, there’s isn’t really much incentive in upgrading from the second to the third building. Other than extra wasted space and a kinda cool helipad, all you get from the last upgrade is a much higher weekly rent. From the second HQ you can expand into a lab and gym, but even that comes with its own set of issues.

Issues such as only one member of staff being allowed in each room at the one time, even though in the last HQ there’s ample room for further expansion. It’s a frustrating aspect of the limited upgrade system that I found hard to ignore.

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The lab allows your scientist to upgrade certain weapons and traps, even giving you a choice of which way you want to improve them. Alongside this, the gym allows you to train your staff and improve their stats which help in the day-to-day grind of ghost snatching. It’s an interesting aspect but with the one-staff-only issue, it’s something I quickly learned to ignore. Even more disappointingly though, I could easily finish the game without it.

Some of the objectives in the game can be enticing, such as unlocking newer weapons, but most don’t get much better than that. For instance, the other objectives mostly revolve around earning more  money. With a relatively small map, limited haunted locations and job-snatching competition, the game can turn into a bit of a grind at times.

As well at this, the game has some minor interface issues that got annoying. For example, using hotkeys to quickly open menus, but not being able to use the same hotkey to quickly close them, or having to wait for each player to fully finish their move before selecting and moving your other player. These are definitely little things though and in spite of the frustration, I found myself continuing to play on.

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And I’m glad I did. Being an old-school gamer, I always love a good boss battle and I can happily say that GhostControl Inc. has its share. Not too many, not too little, just a great mix of difficult ghouls followed by challenging, and somewhat imaginative, bosses. In the ensuing chaos that comes from home visits and graveyard shifts, you quickly become acquainted with some of the usual suspects. The boss battles can be a nice break with some new horrible faces, but in terms of contrasting battle strategies, they’re much the same. Most of them simply run screaming at you while you try to keep your team’s sanity enough to lasso the blighter.

The game has a certain draw about it and one that makes it easy to keep coming back. The music is quirky and fun, with small but well placed sound effects and occasionally funny player dialogue. The graphics are a retro 16-bit style which adds to the old-school charm oozing from this ghostly game.

There’s no doubt GhostControl Inc. could have fleshed out its more interesting and fun aspects, but with a good sense of humor and entertaining gameplay, it’s certainly worth a playthrough for the casual gamer not expecting the whole in-depth strategy experience.

Currently only $14.99 on Steam http://store.steampowered.com/app/280540/

Review: GhostControl Inc.
Pros
  • Retro music and visuals
  • Good selection of enemies and bosses
Cons
  • Small, easily fixable interface issues
  • Smallish map with too few locations
  • Design issues with upgrades & objectives
6Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)
6.9

About The Author

Contributor

Since her first whirl on a gamepad, Anne has barely paused to put it down. Uninterested in paper money and position, Anne spends her time playing games and cheering on indie developers with her dog chum Bru.

  • http://panduaji.com/ Pandu Aji Wirawan

    I hope, its free :D