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Review: Ghost Song [PC/Steam Deck]

The wait is worth it as Ghost Song invites players onto the scifi adventure of a lifetime

It’s been a long time coming for Ghost Song, by developer Old Moon, from Kickstarter to beta testing. After surviving the roller coaster of the gaming industry, from the rise of GaaS to COVID-19, Ghost Song has finally arrived.

On a distant moon, far and away form Earth, a Deadsuit wakes up, with no recollection of her memory. An android-like being, Deadsuit awakens after a long slumber.. Around her is a pulsating world filled with dangerous alien life forms and techno-organic mater. Who she is and why she is here is an entire mystery. An apparition occasionally appears, a woman who appears attached to mechanical parts. Drawn to the apparition, the Deadsuit begins her adventure on an unknown world, and along the way, hopes to regain who she is and why she is here. She may be the key to ending a grave threat and saving those that have become victim to it.

A Familiar Tune

Ghost Song hits first and foremost with the familiar, then surprise with the unfamiliar. As a metroidvania, Ghost Song has gameplay and styles are familiar. But, as we are seeing with more titles like this, what is unfamiliar is the level of mystery and immersion. In Metroid, it’s defeat the space pirates and destroy Mother Brain. For Castlevania, it’s defeat Dracula and his undead army. In Ghost Song, it’s so refreshingly suprising that it becomes enthralling. The setup is more than surface level, as it encourages players to really embrace the unknown.

Deadsuit isn’t a familiar character. Her origins remain a mystery through most of the game. This heightens the sense of mystery. Environmentally, Ghost Song is macabre, as the ground and caverns pulsate with a virulent substance. Enemies mutate and change, providing an unpredictable array of enemies to encounter.

The world of Ghost Song has a strange hybrid of organic and technological, not too different from the works of H.R Giger, but not themed to the color green. Other smaller details standout as well. When battling aliens, Deadsuit gets covered in red and green blood. She interacts with the environment through her movements, and at times, a white flower erupts below her, enabling a save point. Ghost Song goes out of its way to really put the player in the environment.

Ghost Song gameplay

Unraveling the Mystery

Deadsuit is a constant enigma. Is she a robot, a synthetic android, or was she formerly human? Perhaps she is still human, with the way she goes about observing the alien world. The answer keeps players guessing but slowly reveals itself. This story is further bolstered by a unique cast that appears along the journey, from an encampment of shipwrecked survivors to lone warriors of the wilderness. As the journey proceeds, Deadsuit makes observations about herself and her surroundings, bringing a sense of humanity to her, from remarking at the animals around her to talking to Artificial Intelligences.

Ghost Song tips the hat to the past in its presentation and gameplay, but also embraces the present, as well as does its own thing in the genre. Deadsuit is not as simple or flexible as one would expect. This might put off those expecting another nimble aerosuit, but it should be encouraged to embrace the tank-like armor and the firepower she wields. Granted, she isn’t invincible. It’s easy to take damage from the mutated foes and their unpredictable movements.

Adapt To Survive

Like aforementioned titles in the genre, exploration is encouraged in Ghost Song. Often exploring the unknown means obtaining essential parts. In the first hour or so of Ghost Song, Deadsuit is armed with her trusty arm blaster, and a melee attack, but is rather vulnerable to basic enemy attack. By exploring, players obtain essential new equipment, such as a dash that can evade enemy fire, as well as the ability to run.

Ghost Song goes further in this mechanic, not just in obtaining weapons and tools but also modules. Deadsuit has a battery reserve, and can activate specific utilities and weapon modules. Because of the limited reserve, she cannot engage every module possible, giving players a chance to tailor and customize their mechanical setup. Players can choose a module that reads enemy HP, and a scatter shot, but then remove that HP module in favor of a Hyper Armor module that activates after every dash.

The environment is filled with secrets. Some that can only be accessed by shooting at a surface. Others need a specific weapon, like the missile launcher. To emphasize vulnerability, Deadsuit needs to temporarily deactivate to allow for weapons and utility modules to change, leaving players exposed to enemies.

Nanogel is everything

Deadsuit may be a mechanical being with cybernetic parts, but she has a limited amount of energy. Granted, it recharges, but understanding and leveling up this energy is the difference between victory and defeat. Running, shooting special shots like the missile launcher, and melee attacks, all use this bar. Additionally, just like the Souls games, players will die, and leave their reservoir of nanogel behind. Compared to games with similar mechanics, heading back to a place of death isn’t as hard, but it can still be a challenge, especially in the earlier hours. Fortunately, there is a healing core players obtain early on. During their adventure, players can activate it to heal, though it can only be used a set number of times.

In Ghost Song, players level up the Deadsuit through nanogel. Nanogel is essential for upgrades. At certain save points, there is a statue present. Deadsuit can interface with the statue and receive upgrades to attributes, as well as repair if needed. These upgrades includes higher health, more gun power, and stronger melee attacks. In the environment, players obtain special cells that can be applied to these upgrades.

A few scratches in the armor

The only real drawback to Ghost Song would have to be what usually set back most games in the genre, back tracking being the biggest drawback. On one hand, backtracking is part of what a metroidvania is. On the other, it can be a chore, and Ghost Song is polarizing in this regard. Additionally, there is a segment in the game that requires players to locate and retrieve pieces of a spacecraft. The game suggests looking for the green part first, which mean back tracking across the map, then going through the tried-and true mechanic of trial-and-error. It’s difficult to hold this as a big detriment against Ghost Song, though I feel there could have been a tighter sense of momentum in regards to this event, perhaps adding a few hints on how to obtain these parts.

There is this desire to learn more about Deadsuit to the point that this task, while essential to the progress of Ghost Song, can interfere with the pacing. Ghost Song has an easier mode for players unfamiliar with the genre. Finally, Ghost Song does have a strong voice cast. However, not every moment is voiced. It isn’t the worst thing, and when heard, the cast is strong, breathing life into the experience. I do wish there could have been full voice-work, and even cut scenes, as the cast and story are strong in Ghost Song.

All Systems Go

As everything comes together, Ghost Song becomes a triumphant sci-fi adventure that all players should embark on. The multitude of enemies and numerous bossfights were action-packed, and each encounter kept me wanting more. The various weapons were a blast to use, and taking down each enemy, big and small, always left me excited. There are so many surprises in Ghost SOng making every moment a joy.

Ghost Song is an excellent addition to the genre, and an incredible strong game in its own right. It’s presentation and focus on mystery, coupled with exciting combat make this an experience you won’t want to miss. Ghost Song stands as a celebration of the past and present, as well as the future. The genre is looking bright, and Ghost Song is a tune we can all listen too.

Ghost Song is an excellent way to bookend 2022 in video games. It’s an emotional and immersive metroidvania that tips the hat to the past, embraces the present, and provides something new and engaging for the future.

Ghost Song was reviewed with a key generously supplied to Mega Visions thanks to Humble Games Publishing.

Special Note: Ghost Song was played on the Steam Deck. With the exception of a visual glitch loading between sections of the map, no other performance issues were noted. Ghost Song ran smooth, with no glitches to gameplay, audio, or video quality.

While it carries some of the flaws of the genre, Ghost Song is an amazing Metroidvania that celebrates the past, present, and future of the genre with a strong story and great gameplay.



While it carries some of the flaws of the genre, Ghost Song is an amazing Metroidvania that celebrates the past, present, and future of the genre with a strong story and great gameplay.

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