The Average Gamer

Ghostbusters: Paranormal Blast Review (iOS)

Ghostbusters: Paranormal Blast (PB) is the latest video game spin off from the hit movies, this time for iOS. It’s been a while since there has been a decent one, however.

From the title screen, it’s apparent that, once again, ghosts are on the loose, with the firehouse headquarters looking battered, and a ‘Help Wanted’ sign on the front door. Cue yet again the proposed storyline element for the Ghostbusters 3 movie; younger Ghostbusting recruits.

You can choose from five such recruits, with the aim of catching ghosts to level up, purchase equipment upgrades from money earned with each bust, with the goal of becoming a fully fledged Ghostbuster. A lot of effort has gone into the drawings of the recruits, and they look excellent, as does the presentation generally. This is all accompanied by a fitting soundtrack, which pays tribute to the famous score of the first movie, minus the main theme.

Paranormal Blast’s most unique features are in its reliance on the iPhone’s technology just to play the game. PB uses GPS with Google Maps to pushpin each job to an actual location on a live map . The example shown to the right is the map of the area surrounding my place of work, and each job is titled to the real place, such as McDonald’s and even my own work building (plenty of spooks in there, let me tell you). Once a job is loaded up, straight away you’ll see Paranormal Blast also uses the view from the iPhone’s camera lens as the background, with the addition of health bars, your particle thrower and trap, and of course, the ghost you are trying to catch.

It all looks rather good, with touch-screen controls in either bottom corner of the screen, ergonomically well placed, leaving the rest of the screen to view the action. Overusing the particle thrower in one go causes it to overheat, identified by small puffs of smoke, indicating a break is required.

Using the camera view and moving the phone around to target the ememy works well, and most rounds last less than a minute, but you may look a bit of a fool in a crowded place, turning from left to right to left again. Once the enemy’s bar is depleted, it’s trap time, another cool feature.

A quick swipe of the finger opens the trap in all its glory, with the goal being not to let the ghost off the screen, tilting the iPhone as required, before the timer expires. It works really well, with no sign of slow down or lag, plus the more difficult demons can be rather slippery, so quick reactions are in order.

Aside from the minor gripe regarding wafting and tilting your phone around in public, there is only one other issue that lets down the experience; it’s the negative aspect of the reliance on the iPhone technology again. As good as the use of the GPS is; it is reliant on good data coverage or wireless capability. So if this is not available, it cripples the ability to access jobs, or at least slows the map generation badly, hindering the experience. This is a problem only in certain areas, of course, and does not affect the ghost catching sections.

Ghostbusters: Paranormal Blast is proof there is still life in this nearly 30-year old franchise, despite talk of a third movie that 23 years on is still yet to materialise. Grab it whilst it’s still 69p; it is a bargain. ‘I ain’t afraid of no ghosts!’ Quite.

You can get Ghostbusters: Paranormal Blast now for iOS 4.3 or later.

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