Ghost Song is an action platformer and Metroidvania from Old Moon and Humble Games that takes place on Lorian, a moon whose surface is littered with the wrecks of crashed spacecraft due to a mysterious static field surrounding its atmosphere.
You control the Deadsuit, a humanoid armored entity that no one can say for sure is human or not — not even yourself. You awake on the surface of Lorian with no memory and no context for what you should be doing. As you explore the moon, you meet the survivors of a crashed ship and decide to help them salvage parts from other wrecks to get theirs space-worthy again. But you quickly stumble upon other stranded individuals with their own agendas and hostile creatures blocking your path.
Luckily, you’re uniquely equipped to defend yourself. The Deadsuit has an arm-mounted blaster that can fire in 360 degrees and is prone to overheating, which has the bonus effect of giving your melee attacks extra damage. You can equip melee weapons that benefit from this effect as well as upgrade your suit with modules that can slow the heat buildup of your shots, give you new secondary weapons like rockets or auto turrets, or grant you new abilities like a double jump and dash, all of which feel smooth and natural to control.
The unlocking of new abilities and weapons happens at a brisk and steady pace, which helps Ghost Song avoid the pitfalls of many Metroidvanias where you spend too much time feeling blocked or lost. It also does a great job of shepherding you back towards its story periodically as obtaining ship parts forces you to head back to the crash site and won’t let you fast travel on that trek, almost ensuring you’ll come across certain side characters out in the world before pushing the narrative along with the main crew.
I took a fast liking to the downtrodden crew members who were sparingly but excellently voiced and all embodied an attitude of both melancholy and hope. The grief for their lost crewmates and current hardships coupled with their optimism and trust in each other made me root for their belief that they’d be able to make it off the moon. A number of side stories take place away from the crew that introduce you to bounty hunters, fugitives, and what very well may be some sort of god. And they are every bit as intriguing as your core motivation and personal mystery, but I rolled credits without getting satisfying answers to much of it. However, I don’t doubt more steadfast exploration may reveal the pieces I’m missing.
It’s a good thing then that exploration and combat is fun. Ghost Song takes clear inspiration from Hollow Knight with its beautiful hand-drawn environments, evocative music, and module system that lets you mix and match complementary abilities using a power budget. But despite having a variety of weaponry and satisfying movement options, enemies tend not to pose much of a threat. Most feel like fodder and don’t encourage you to switch up your arsenal, and boss encounters never got me to take combat more seriously, with many having overly simplistic and predictable move sets that I could easily exploit after one or two attempts.
Ghost Song is an excellent Metroidvania with a haunting atmosphere and impressive visual style. It packs a lot of engaging story and mechanics into its relatively small scope but doesn’t quite know how best to use them to their fullest all the way through. But for a smaller 11-hour experience, it’s hard not to recommend. The game is out now for $19.99 on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S, and Nintendo Switch.
Watch the Review in 3 Minutes for Ghost Song.