Review by Nicola Warren
Ghoulboy is the newest game released by indy developer Serkan Baker who brought you Mushroom Heroes and Mahluk: Dark Demon. Ghoulboy is a cross between Ghouls’n Ghosts and Castlevania on the NES hitting your nostalgic chord with its retro music, typical 8bit sound effects, pixels and dark and dull colours.
In this 2d action rpg game you play as a young boy named Thudgar who sports a horned helmet while hacking and slashing his way through the various levels while being faced with different puzzles and the typical monster enemies such as blobs, skeletons and ghosts. There are a total of 4 bosses which you’ll encounter as you jump and double jump from platform to ledge through this left to right side scroll game which are each split into 4 acts.
The weapons available in Ghoulboy are simple but effective. First off you have the Dagger and Spear which are the two throwing weapons, Daggers can either be thrown singularly or as a pair, then we have the spear which is best to be kept and used to throw into walls to create a makeshift ledge to get to the hard to reach heights or the hidden sections. So use them wisely! Then we come to the 3 primary weapons, The knife, long sword and mace. Both the knife and long sword are great weapons for the earlier levels, you start the game with only the knife but it is not long before you encounter a dying friend and receive the long sword. The mace though is the king of the weapons in Ghoulboy, with its extending chain allowing you to hit enemies from far away killing nearly all of the standard monsters in a single hit, reminiscing of Castlevania 1 now aren’t you!
The mace is actually available straight away in the game and all you need to get it is collect 1000 coins and you can go straight to the games main menu and purchase it. Don’t worry though because collecting 1000 coins is not as hard as you may think. Personally, I found that receiving coins throughout the game is very simple, killing most enemies gives you anything from 1 to 6 or so coins and then as you continue through the levels you will find 4 or 5 chests per act giving you coins and various gems ranging from 10 to 50 coins per gem. I do feel that the act of collecting and saving your money as you advance through the game becomes a little pointless as there is no skill to doing so, so whenever you reach a merchant shop you always have more than enough money to buy anything leaving no challenge to survive as you continue through the game.
Playing through the game you do encounter a fair few bugs/glitches such as coins dropping from enemies which you cannot access due to the placement of their landing, some of the enemies are placed in awkward places on moving platforms or ledges leaving you to make risky leaps which 99% of the time you can’t land without causing yourself damage from landing right on or next to the enemy. Furthermore, whilst visiting the merchant on some of the levels you still get attacked by some of the flying enemies, yet this does rarely happen but it is definitely something to be aware of.
I found that the game play doesn’t really change or evolve as you progress so after 3 or 4 acts I found myself getting bored of playing, so it was best to play the game in small doses instead of trying to play it in one full run. Putting that aside it is a well created 90’s horror style retro game with your expected main hero, dark atmosphere and ghastly ghouls. I highly recommend playing it if you want a quick time passer as it can be highly enjoyable and take you back to your roots.
Overall I give Ghoulboy 6/10 rating.