You Got Metroid in my Dark Souls
To be upfront, Super Metroid and Dark Souls are easily two of my all time favorite games, mostly because they share similar characteristics. The are both games about exploration, and both make wonderful use of environmental story telling. They’re bleak and lonely, and they ooze atmosphere. Every location feels distinct, be it the sweltering caverns of Norfair, or the smothering darkness in the Tomb of the Giants. It’s not fun to explore an world that isn’t inherently interesting or has nothing to tell, and that’s a fault you find in a lot of games.
So when I heard “Ghost Song: A Journey of Hope,” was a being made in the vein of my stated favorites Super Metroid and Dark Souls, my interest was piqued.
Both visually and mechanically, it’s easy to see the Super Metroid inspiration. The sub-terrain setting feels both claustrophobic and dense. The 2-D action is recognizably Metroid, from the way your character jumps and shoots. That doesn’t sound like much but it’s a crucial feature. A world, no matter how interesting, will be no fun to explore if the mechanics for doing so are flawed. So it’s good to see the controls appear both tight and responsive.
Features of the Game
- Large, open-ended world to explore
- Challenging and rewarding gameplay
- Precise, responsive controls
- Obtain a range of new abilities to unlock progress to new areas
- Optional hidden weapons and abilities that that are not required to proceed, incentivizing exploration
- Large and challenging bosses and mini bosses
- A slinky, resourceful foe who stalks you throughout the game
- Atmospheric and lonely tone
- Initially for Windows PC, Mac, and Linux, with other platforms possible in the future
The Dark Souls influence, aside from the minimalistic nature of the story telling, will come into play during the combat. Creator Matt White stated: “the game is not intended to be punishingly difficult or overly merciless. I’m subscribing to a ‘tough but fair’ philosophy for most areas of the game, with optional areas that may be a bit harder.” So long as the game is balanced appropriately, this is good news. What makes Dark Souls click with so many people is the sense of accomplishment that comes from overcoming a difficult obstacle. Progress feels not only gratifying, but earned. This complements the exploratory nature of a Metroidvania title like Ghost Song: A Journey of Hope, where further discovery is rewarded.
The story of Ghost Song: A Journey of Hope takes place on the planet Lorian V, a mysterious place that anyone who ventures to disappears, never to be heard from again. Lorian V is haunted by the ghosts of those who perished, while their remains stalk its depths. To free a ghost, you need to destroy its physical remains. This will play heavily into the game’s main story.
“This story is told not through pages of exposition or long cut scenes, but through being in the game, being in the moment, and observing events as they unfold. It’s a highly ambient, atmospheric approach to story that falls somewhere between Super Metroid and Dark Souls in its tenor.”
Put simply, Ghost Song: A Journey of Hope, follows the old adage of “show, don’t tell.” Exposition should be the last resort of any story teller. It’s much nicer to witness events as they occur.
Ghost Song: A Journey of Hope, is now available for backing on Kickstarter, and has already met its stretch goal of $15,000, with further planned improvements forthcoming as a result. It’s only $10 to get a DRM-free copy of the PC or Mac version of the game.