A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ghost Parade is an action/adventure platform game available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows-based PCs. Players control a young girl navigating a haunted forest to find her way home. They can find and team up with thirty different ghost companions, each of which is based on or inspired by Indonesian folklore. Players can use a lamp to hit bugs, robots, and other creatures out of her way, and these enemies disappear when defeated without blood or gore. But parents should know that the controls can be awkward at times, leading to frustrating gameplay sessions. Also, some female characters are shown with revealing outfits and one character is shown regularly smoking a cigarette.
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What's it about?
GHOST PARADE follows a young girl named Suri and her unexpected supernatural adventure. Missing her bus one day after school, Suri decides to try and make her way home through the nearby woods … woods that just happen to be haunted by a number of spirits. Dangers surround Suri at every turn, from giant beetles to poison traps to massive falls. Thankfully, the spirits of the woods are impressed by her courage and fearlessness, befriending her and offering their help to get her through the woods. But along the way, Suri and her new friends discover there's another looming danger, one that threatens the woods the spirits call home. With her new ghostly friends at her side, Suri resolves to save the forest and the entities dwelling within it, and hopefully still making it home in time for dinner.
Is it any good?
People say that looks aren't everything, and they're absolutely right. If they were, then Ghost Parade would be a spectacular piece of work. There's no denying that the colorful adventure has a certain whimsical fun to its art style and it's an absolute treat for the eyes. Unfortunately, this isn't some static piece of art hanging on display. Peel away its colorful exterior and look at it as the game it's supposed to be and, well, the whole things comes crashing down into an almost unplayable and certainly unenjoyable mess.
Challenge in a video game can be a lot of fun. Some of the most entertaining games on the market are difficult by design. The key words there, though, are "by design." Ghost Parade isn't trying to be difficult. The problem is nearly ever gameplay element feels like it's meant to work against the player. The controls, for example, are anything but precise. This alone can be a death knell in a platform adventure like Ghost Parade. There's nothing more frustrating than dying over and over again because you're meant to make a near perfect jump, but can't because the controls are so bad, you'd have better luck playing blindfolded. Of course, that only comes into play after you figure out exactly what you're supposed to be doing. That's a pain because the game doesn't bother to explain anything until well into the story. All of this, plus the occasional technical bug or design snafu, makes Ghost Parade a scary title to play for all the wrong reasons.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about mythology and folklore. What are some of the ways that movies, games, etc. use classic myths and stories to inspire new adventures? How can these new takes on classic tales inspire people to learn more about the original culture?
How can working with others towards a common goal help shore up weaknesses and overcome obstacles?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Aksys Games
- Release date: October 31, 2019
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Bugs, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Crude Humor, Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes, Use of Tobacco
- Last updated: October 21, 2020
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