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Ghosts Attack

Ghosts Attack

Platform: iPhone/iPod
Category: iPhone, iPod

Ghosts Attack, by Tarver Games, is a first-person shooter that puts you in the pilot's seat of Rover. In a parallel dimension, you can fly your ship, retrieving information and shooting enemies. The game features real voice acting, a compelling story, and fantastic controls.

The story focuses on Torgan Science, a company that in the 1960s developed teleportation technology. Thirteen scientists were teleported, but only one reached the destination. You pilot a remotely controlled Rover to explore a parallel dimension and uncover secrets about the past. Karl, your technician and advisor, provides information during the game and drives the plot. His picture will be displayed in the top right when he talks to you, which he does with real voice acting. Living in the parallel dimension are strange beings that, for lack of a better term, Karl calls ghosts. As the title of the game suggests, these ghosts are enemies and must be destroyed.

Levels are in first-person as if in the pilot's seat with a HUD showing various information and controls. On the left of the screen is a slider that controls the speed of the craft. Another slider on the right selects your weapon. An energy bar, which functions like a life bar, is displayed at the bottom of the screen, and tapping on the screen fires your weapons. Tilting the iPhone steers the Rover; a button is located at the top to recenter the motion controls. I often dislike motion controls because they feel needless and inexact, but the controls in Ghosts Attack feel very nice.

The levels are procedurally generated from real world addresses. Story missions appear on a map and can be selected, but you can also input an address to play a level generated from it. This generation of levels based on addresses seems like an unneeded gimmick. Being able to enter a random level would work just as well, and given the high quality of the game, a gimmick is definitely not needed. It's an interesting concept and definitely doesn't hurt the game at all; it's just surprising that the developer felt they needed it. Missions consist of various goals such as collecting items, killing ghosts, protecting beacons, or even simply surviving.

Ghosts Attack looks very nice. The interface is minimal enough not to be obtrusive yet still conveys all needed information. The only problem I found with it is that there's a button that exits the level, but no confirmation is given when it's clicked. I've left a mission early many times by accidentally hitting the button to return to the map screen. It's especially annoying when I finish a level and am listening to the story develop through the voice acting; while pressing the button to continue the speech, I commonly exit the level by mistakenly hitting the wrong button. Because the mission was considered a success, the game opens up the next level, leaving me unable to find out what I missed of the story. The levels are sparse and each seems to consist of a single texture, but the focus is clearly not on environment design. The sound effects are cool, and the voice acting, while not the quality of Hollywood movies, is really enjoyable. There isn't any music, but music would actually detract from the atmosphere of Ghosts Attack. With a futuristic interface, strange enemies, barren levels, good sound, a lack of music, and a mysterious story, Ghosts Attack has a wonderfully eerie atmosphere.

Ghosts Attack is a lot of fun to play. The controls are great, and the game feels so eerie once the real story starts. There's a compelling story that provides ample motivation to continue playing, and more episodic content is coming in the future. A confirmation on returning to the map screen would be very beneficial, but hopefully this will come in a future update. More information can be found at the developer's web site at www.tarvergames.com. Ghosts Attack can be purchased at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ghosts-attack/id338573927?mt=8. Buy Ghosts Attack, put on your headphones, turn down the lights, and enjoy!


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