I’ve played many games over the years, but I can’t ever remember playing a game that only uses one button. I’m sure I must have, but I can’t remember for the life of me what it was. Which begs the question, can a game like this still be worth your buck? Developers Squarehead Studios and Four Horses think less is more and their Nintendo Switch release of Star Ghost pays fine testament to this.
Star Ghost is a side scrolling shoot’em up with a difference. You don’t need to worry about firing or moving forward, that’s all done for you. All you need to worry about is to guide your crafts altitude by using the A button. Tab on the button to climb and release it to descend. Little nudges of the button help line up shots that take down oncoming waves of enemies. You’ll also need to avoid protruding structures both above you and below you, all using just the one button. Don’t be fooled, Star Ghost is clever stuff.
Now I may have lied about the one button trick, but hear me out. Enemies drop little orbs that need picking up. Using the left stick can help attract these little orbs closer to your ship, making it that bit easier to collect. Also using the L stick can change the direction of your bullets too. The latter feature is the one that I really didn’t bother with. It can be fidally and I simply found bobbing up and down via the A button was more than enough to see me right. Another surprising aspect of Star Ghost is that you only have one chance to succeed. To progress you’ll need to pick up 50 plus orbs that will give you an opportunity of a continue/extra credit, or the chance to dabble in upgrading abitities. These upgrades include multiple bullets, spreading your fire rate and traction. It leaves you with a big descion to make after each short level. Do you spend your credits on upgrades or hold out and save my pennies? Not to mention there’s also a virus going around in space which takes away your ability to shoot – so tread carefully.
If you had full control of your craft like in every other shooter you’ve played before, Star Ghost would be just another bog standard shooter and a pretty boring one at that. Along with the minimal control and all the game’s little extras, Star Ghost stands out and delivers a fantastic game. It is missing online leaderboards however, as the only way to see your name up in lights is to enter the Hall of Fame. But despite that, Star Ghost‘s glowing, bright, neon look and infectious soundtrack ensured that this one definitely took me by surprise.
While you’re not going to rinse on this for hours at a time, Star Ghost is still something special and a unique experience. Squarehead Studios and Four Horses have turned the shooter genre on its head to bring a clever, slick and highly enjoyable shoot’em up to the Nintendo eStore. Definitely worth checking out.
Lizard Rating: 8/10
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