Small Game, Small Price: Mini Ghost Review
Mini Ghost is an old school Metroidvania throwback, and a prequel to Ghost 1.0. It’s a solid enough game, even if a few obtuse design decisions hold it back from greatness. Then again, for two dollars, it’s hard to argue with what you get here.
Mini Ghost stars the titular Ghost, an android mercenary who is paid to undertake a mission on a space station filled to the brim with security measures in order to destroy a hostile computer. The
twist is, Ghost’s boss is actually the one who turned the computer hostile in the first place in order to profit off of the station members purchasing Ghost’s services. It’s an amusing setup (and the chibi art style in the intro is adorable), but unfortunately, that’s pretty much the full extent of the plot. The premise may be simple enough, but a lack of context prevents players from having much investment in the story.
The gameplay in Mini Ghost is solid throughout, even if certain design decisions lead to tedium. Mini Ghost adheres to tried and true Metroidvania design: players will explore branching environments, fight enemies, and gain upgrades to access new areas and fight bosses. The game stumbles a bit in how it presents these upgrades to the player, however. In Mini Ghost, upgrades that are essential to completing the game are hidden in seemingly random breakable crates littered around the environment, necessitating stopping to search absolutely everything lest you should miss something important. Also inconvenient is the game’s policy on health and respawning. While you can save the game in any room that has been cleared of objects and enemies, the only way to restore Ghost’s health is to return to the med bay at the center of the map, which is right next to the starting room. A one-way teleporter to the start is eventually unlocked, but even then, players still have to journey back through the same rooms full of enemies that have respawned to get back to where they were, rendering the prospect of healing oneself to be only slightly less inconvenient than dying and respawning at the starting room. Some kind of med bay in each quadrant of the environment would have one a long way towards eliminating some tedious padding from what is already a short game.
Mini Ghost also includes some extra features outside of its brief, roughly two-to- three-hour campaign. First, there’s a level editor, which is easy enough to use and offers about what you would expect without many bells and whistles. Also included is the option to “troll friends,” although I was unable to test this feature as it only works with people on your friends list and nobody else I know has this game.
Mini Ghost may have its flaws, but my gripes about tedious backtracking aside, it’s still a good, bite-sized entry into the Metroidvania subgenre. This really is a case of getting what you pay for, and for such a small price of admission, I can easily recommend Mini Ghost despite its shortcomings. If you’ve played similar games before, you probably won’t be blown away, but you won’t be disappointed, either.