Halloween, in part, has its roots in the ancient celtic festival of Samhain. On October 31st, ancient Gaels believed that the border between the worlds of the living and the dead disappeared, and for that night ghosts were a real, tangible threat. Is it true? Probably not. But we can pretend, and get into a deliciously spooky mood, with Ghostscape.
Ghostscape, a new escape game by Psionic, is just chock full of supernatural goodness. You play a veteran investigator of the occult who, upon hearing rumors of a haunted house, cannot stay away...and what a paranormal gold mine it turns out to be! Chairs and cups move as if grasped by some invisible hand, mysterious diary entries litter the floor, grotesque paintings adorn every room. And then, of course, there are the ghosts. But who would believe you? Luckily, you have your trusty camera to provide proof. You'll spend much of your time photographing phenomena and collecting evidence, but along the way you'll begin to unravel the story of a very disturbing crime... and, as the door has conveniently slammed shut and locked behind you, you'll need to calm the restless spirits before making your escape.
Ghostscape is very good-looking. The environments are heavily atmospheric, draped with shadow and splattered with blood, and evoke a wonderfully creepy aura. The game is not very difficult; there's zero pixel-hunting (which I appreciate), and the solutions to most of the puzzles are basically handed to you. This doesn't make it any less enjoyable, however. It's a ton of fun to play ghost hunter, and your many tasks keep you constantly engaged even as you learn of the house's terrible past. The game's interface is simple and user-friendly; clicking on the inventory button leads to a handy to-do list of things to photograph and provides access to the occult items you've collected, whereas more generally helpful items (such as a crowbar and your camera) are kept on the main screen. Nothing fancy here.
In the end, really, the plot of the game becomes secondary to the overall experience of moving through such a fun and fantastic setting. More than anything else, Ghostscape reminds me of an extremely well-executed haunted house, one you might visit with your friends; the environment is way too over-the-top to be truly terrifying, and the scares are more thrills than chills. Which, in my opinion, is perfect for the Halloween season!
I ain't afraid of no ghosts: