We won’t blame you if you were somehow duped into thinking the new Ghostbusters iPhone game would be something resembling the recently released console version. With the capabilities of the iPhone well established at this point, as well as backing from a big name like Sony, expectations should be high.
Unfortunately for this one, if there’s something strange in your neighborhood… ah forget it. It’s really not worth your time or money.
At its core, Ghostbusters is basically a re-skinned version of Magnetic Joe. Gameplay involves using proton packs to guide a ghost through a course into the trap at the end. The Ghostbusters–Ray, Peter, Egon and Winston–are stationed along the path, each standing on a directional arrow. By tapping the touchscreen, the ghost is pushed or pulled in the direction of the arrow. Ghosts don’t move on their own, so their movement is based entirely on the inertia you impart while guiding them through the course.
Winston apparently has the same idea as the rest of us.
It’s not that this is a bad game. Magnetic Joe was a perfectly fine platform-esque puzzle game. It’s certainly challenging enough, as guiding the ghost to the trap requires a certain level of fine control and timing. Obstacles like slime and pedestrians are thrown in to complicate things a bit. But if you’re going to slap the Ghostbusters name on something, you’ve got some pretty big shoes to fill. This iPhone title fails miserably.
There’s none of the trademark humor that defined the franchise. The excitement of trying to bag a ghost, which is a treat to see on the big screen, just isn’t there. Last time we checked, tossing a ghost from beam to beam along a long path is not how it’s done. Slimer doesn’t just lay there without putting up a fight. He’d be rolling over in his… er… grave if he saw what’s become of his beloved franchise on the iPhone. The only thing going for this game theme-wise is Ray Parker Jr., who provides the classic theme music.
The branding on this title just comes off as a shameless marketing ploy to capitalize off the console title and the growing buzz on Ghostbusters 3. To merely re-skin an existing game seems lazy and unambitious for a franchise with such a loyal following. If Sony wanted to re-skin or port an existing title, they just as well could have gone with the 8-bit Nintendo version, which does a much better job capturing the spirit of the franchise.
To think that Sony had initially charged $4.99 for this is just plain disrespectful. They have since reduced the price to $0.99, which is probably wise, given the same exact game in Magnetic Joe is similarly priced.