Review: Ghost Giant
A wonderful example of interactive storytelling in VR.
When VRFocus first came across Zoink Games’ Ghost Giant back in 2018 at the PlayStation booth during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the title instantly impressed thanks to a combination of elements. A PlayStation VR exclusive launch took place a year later to wide acclaim and now it’s the turn of Oculus Quest so what better time than now to do a review of this delightful virtual reality (VR) videogame.
Ghost Giant enables you to step into the colourful miniature world of Sancourt, helping the townsfolk whilst discovering a heartfelt story. Unlike some titles which have a tacked-on narrative to make an experience feel less hollow the storyline in Ghost Giant is one of its most commanding features. Helped no less by the excellent voice acting and portrayal of central character Louis.
You essentially become Louis’ rather large imaginary friend, appearing before the lad just when he needs you most. Full of energy and zeal he lives with his mum on a farm, helping her out with everyday tasks. Yet the story is both uplifting and sombre as his mum is unwell so Louis takes it upon himself to sort things out. It’s such a charming tale that you do become attached to this plucky fellow and honestly want to help him out. Thus Ghost Giant offers one of the best examples of emotional connection of any VR title.
So it’s got a solid story worthy of any Disney film but what about the gameplay? Much like A Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets, Zoink Games’ title is about picking stuff up and playing with the scenery. All very hands-on. The story takes place across several key locations, some used more than once to set the scene with you placed right in the middle. You’re surrounded by a living diorama with inhabitants going about their daily lives, able to peer in close to examine the finer details.
This examination is encouraged throughout Ghost Giant as aside from the main quest tasks there are lots of hidden things to find. Imagine the entire videogame is like one sprawling dolls house – a few houses quite literally – where you can lift roofs or the front of homes to see inside. There’s a marvellous sense of scale to each area, where both the foreground and background have items of interest. Little green bugs are squirrelled away in alcoves to find and most areas have a basketball net in the distance to dunk a ball in.
As the Ghost Giant you’re all about being a helping hand to not only Louis but everyone else. A lot of this involves being the muscle, lifting and moving things that are just too big for Louis to handle. None of the puzzles are overly complicated ensuring Ghost Giant can be comfortably played by a range of ages and skill levels. If you do lose track of what you’re meant to be doing – it’s easy to get sidetracked – then tapping on Louis’ head or giving him a wave will make him repeat the task at hand.
For hardcore VR puzzle players Ghost Giant will be a little simple yet the balance feels just right between gameplay interaction and story progression. At roughly three hours long it’s a nice evening escape plus you can go back and find all the hidden trinkets that were missed, handily highlighted in the level select from the main menu.
Ghost Giant is one of those ideal titles for Oculus Quest. Able to be played seated or standing you don’t need loads of room so taking the headset to a friend’s and simply letting the experience unfold offers a superb introduction to VR gaming. It might be a little short but Ghost Giant is a charming videogame with bags of character. The start of 2020 has been a little lacking in top tier Oculus Quest content, Ghost Giant helps rectify that situation.