Ghosts and Apples: Review
This game was reviewed on a Nintendo Switch OLED
Reviewed by: Amanda Martin
A young boy wanders into a strange house, only for his soul to be taken from him. It doesn't go far, though, as it ends up in the boy's toy, a little puppet. Now stuck in the body of this puppet, he must find a way to return his soul to its rightful body. The world around you is built up through riddles and rhymes, which all add to the eerie atmosphere.
The premise of the gameplay is a very simple but enjoyable puzzle game involving colour matching. You capture ghosts automatically as they float up from the bottom of the screen, and must be placed into tubes on either side of you. Either tube can be used at any time, and ghosts can be placed inside using either end of the tube. These ghosts are colour coded, and at least three of the same colour must be placed side by side in order for them to disappear and be turned into apples. You must gain a certain number of apples, and match a certain number of ghosts before you can consider the level completed. The levels themselves are very short, as you are limited in time, encouraging you to increase your reaction times. The levels are able to be replayed again and again, allowing you more opportunities to increase your score.
Whilst it may seem on the surface that the main gameplay is the same, you'll eventually unlock levels that come with added challenges. These include options like colourless ghosts, which appear blank until they are captured, at which point their colour will be revealed. Completing these challenges can net you some bonuses, such as giving you a score multiplier. They also help to change up the gameplay every now and then, and encourage you to try out different strategies in order to achieve a high score.
The style of the game is reminiscent of much of Tim Burton's work, with a dark gothic overtone coupled with bright flashes of colour. This style helps the main aspects of the game to really stand out, and makes sure that the colour of the ghosts are clearly visible. It gives a sort of cartoon horror aesthetic, which is still welcoming to players of all ages. Despite the core gameplay being the same mechanics, you enjoy different backdrops in the same sort of style as you progress so it never feels like you're repeating the same level over and over again. These small changes can help keep the player feel invested in the experience.
The levels of this game are displayed in different rooms of the mansion, which is displayed in a side on view, similar to the likes of Fallout Shelter or This War Of Mine. Each room has a handful of paintings, which each represent a level. From this view it is very easy to see which levels have yet to be completed, how many challenges have been completed, and also what levels you have achieved the perfect score on. Not all rooms in this creepy house are used for holding levels however. One particular room is home to the Dragon of Judgment, who can show you your overall score. Another room has a mysterious tree inside, where your trophies are hung up for all to see. As you work your way through the levels, you'll be able to move further through the mansion, and closer to your goal.
Some rooms require keys to unlock however, and the only way to obtain these keys is to visit the shop. The shopkeeper will require different amounts of different items before they are willing to part with the key. As you play you collect apples from the ghosts you capture, golden apples from perfect scores, and challenge gems from successfully completing a level with a challenge active. These give off a vibe of Crash Bandicoot, in the way that you collect different resources to reach a higher completion level. If you find yourself lacking in a particular item, you are free to return to earlier levels to try and increase your score, try out a different challenge or even go for that ever elusive perfect score.
A nice little puzzles game, and fun for all ages. 7/10
Reviewed by: Amanda Martin