Strap on that proton pack and save New York City in Ghostbusters, the newest free-to-play iOS title from Capcom and Smurf's Village developer Beeline Interactive. Featuring the core four Ghostbusters (Peter, Ray, Egon, Winston) and a wonderful presentation that incorporates other characters and music from the iconic film, this expertly-designed movie tie-in benefits from addictive gameplay and a smart balance between freemium elements versus in-app purchasing. Ultimately, it's an iPhone and iPad effort everyone will get into, regardless of whether they grew up watching the movies and The Real Ghostbusters cartoon series, or simply enjoy these types of games.
Fans of the franchise will instantly fall in love with the assorted bells and whistles. Beeline wisely incorporated the original theme (sans lyrics), along with other familiar music from the soundtrack. Beyond that, players explore the firehouse, from the dangerous containment unit all the way up the fire pole, even stopping to chat with secretary Janine Melnitz; be on the lookout for Slimer. And of course, there's only one-way to travel, the Ecto-1, which comes with its iconic siren.
The core game involves busting ghosts throughout the Big Apple in the hope of gathering enough slime to ascend a mysterious tower. The more green goop you possess, the more floors your four-person squad can access, which lets them acquire blueprints to create new equipment, from powerful suits to more effective weaponry.
Before doing any of that, however, you'll need to bust a few ghosts, achieved by dragging lines from the desired Ghostbuster(s) to the intended target(s), whereupon which the characters open fire, whittling away a spirit's health until you can launch a trap. Each Ghostbuster has signature abilities, and knowing how to maximize each raises your level of success.
Being free-to-play, Ghostbusters relies on the same virtual currencies we've seen in countless other games, with Power Cores to speed up different tasks, Bucks to buy/research items and Energy required to perform actions, but Beeline never comes off as money hungry. You eventually hit a wall, thanks to a lack of Energy (it refills over time) and stronger ghosts, but putting the app down for a while and then heading back into it an hour or so later negates having to open your wallet; you'll also find a plethora of missions to complete, each one resulting in different amounts of Bucks.
Frustration mostly sets in when Ghostbusters are too close together, making it difficult to select individual characters to activate those aforementioned powers. It's especially bothersome on harder ghosts, when you need to make split-second decisions to avoid being slimed, which immobilizes individual team members until after all of the ghosts have been captured.
Other than that, Ghostbusters is a surprisingly entertaining romp through our childhood, and a great way to pass the time. More so than ever, busting makes us feel good.
What's Hot:Plenty of cool nods to the original movie, busting ghosts, discovering new pieces of equipment, exploring the firehouse, all-new story in the Ghostbusters universe.
What's Not:Characters often bunch together.