Ghostbusters World

App review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Ghostbusters World App Poster Image
Ghost fans get slimed by the spectre of microtransactions.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Zapping ghosts is a relatively straightforward point and shoot affair. It can get a bit tricky switching between weapons and countering while simultaneously shooting and capturing ghosts, but it’s not overly complicated. Battling in the Ghost Dimension are simple turn-based matches, with basic gameplay and an optional autoplay option.

Violence & Scariness

Ghost busting can be a little violent, with players using a variety of weapons to weaken or completely destabilize ghostly foes. Ghost Dimensions battles between teams of spectres are equally violent, with characters using special skills to knock each other out. Still, the violence is cartoonish in nature, without blood of any kind and defeated enemies simply fading in a flash of light.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Like most free-to-play games, Ghostbusters World thrives on microtransactions. There’s a particularly heavy push to spend real-world money here. While the game gives players just enough to get through the tutorial stages, later progress relies heavily on the use of Gems, an in-game currency purchased with real world money.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ghostbusters World is a free-to-play location-based adventure game, available for download on Android and iOS devices. Players use their mobile devices in real world locations to capture various ghosts and then use them to battle other ghosts. There's some violence in the battles, though its style is more like a Saturday morning cartoon. The game's free to play, though there's a heavy reliance on microtransactions. Players will need to either commit a lot of time split between building resources and waiting, or simply spend real world money to make any substantial progress.

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What's it about?

When there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who ya gonna call? In GHOSTBUSTERS WORLD, you’re the one getting the call. As the latest recruit to the Ghostbusters roster, it’s up to you to track down and capture the latest wave of spectral visitors popping up around the globe. Take a walk through your favorite real-world hangouts and redefine the phrase “local haunts” as you use your trusty proton beam to trap any invading spirits before converting them to your cause. Then take the fight to the source, putting together your best team of ghosts to venture to the Other World and battle against other pesky poltergeists. Defend the living from the legions of the undead and do it in style, proving once more that busting really does make you feel good.

Is it any good?

This real world adventure game features incredible content for fans of this franchise, but its heavy reliance on microtransations slimes the fun for gamers. Ghostbusters World has no shortage of fan service pulled from the Ghostbusters movies, cartoons, games, and more. From instantly recognizable icons like Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man to more obscure references like Gozer’s Tower and Tobin’s Spirit Guide, the location-based action/adventure is packed with references. But the game is more than just fan fluff though, with a surprising amount of depth and range in its play. Catching ghosts requires swapping weapons to wear out the spirits, knowing when to throw out traps, and sorting out which to keep and which to “destabilize” for materials. Players don’t just collect ghosts for the sake of collecting them, but rather use them to build teams to take into battle against other spectral strike teams in the Ghost Dimension. These turn-based fights add an extra layer of strategy and planning that makes this feel more substantial than most mobile games.

As much fun and as fully features as Ghostbusters World may feel, there’s one thing that haunts the overall experience: microtransactions. Microtransactions are nothing new to games, especially the free-to-play mobile kinds. But Ghostbusters World takes it to an extreme. The game walks players through the early tutorials with no problems, but afterwards, you’re left with very little in-game resources to progress with. Worse still, the grind to earn more borders on absurd. It takes hours to build just a handful of traps, which can get burned through in minutes during standard gameplay. It’s the same with power cells for your different weapons. Since you can only build one type of item at a time, you’ll spend a lot of the game just checking in long enough to pick up what you’ve built and start building again. The only way to avoid this is, you guessed it, by spending money for in-game “Gems”, which in turn are used for everything from speeding up actions to buying new materials to leveling up your spectral army. It sets up a hefty paywall to break through if you expect to make any real progress beyond the glacial pace of grinding.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about playing games safely. What are some of the hazards of playing location-based games such as Ghostbusters World and Pokémon GO? What are some ways to ensure personal safety while playing?

  • What are the ways that free-to-play games push players to spend money on microtransactions? What are some ways to help keep spending from getting out of hand in the mobile market?

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