Two years ago, Pokémon Go became all the rage as an augmented reality game that required players to venture out into the real world in an effort to catch the hundreds of little monsters from Nintendo. Recently, Jurassic World Alive jumped into the playing field with a game that shared many similarities to Pokémon Go, but involved the dinosaurs of the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World franchises. Now, another popular film is heading into the world of mobile augmented reality gaming, bringing something strange to your neighborhood.
Ghostbusters World is a new map-based AR game where players can battle and capture hundreds of Ghostbusters ghosts in the real world using your smartphone. We got a chance to play the game at San Diego Comic-Con last week, and we discovered that rather than simply being a copycat of Pokémon Go or Jurassic World Alive, it takes the best elements of both games and evolves them into something that feels a little more engaging and advanced.
Much like Pokémon Go lets players capture all sorts of little monsters, Ghostbusters World allows players to walk around the real world capturing hundreds of ghosts. When the game launches sometime later this year (a specific date has yet to be determined), there will be 150 ghosts available to be captured. They come from every iteration of the Ghostbustersfranchise, including the original movies and the reboot, The Real Ghostbusters, Extreme Ghostbusters, and all the comic book and video game versions too. There are even new ghosts that are exclusive to the game that have been created by members of the Ghostbusters comics team at IDW!
Finding these ghosts isn’t just as simple as walking around the map though. While you will be able to spot ghosts on the map in order to know where to look, before you can capture them, you’ll have to do a scan of the area with your PKE meter. It’s a nice touch to make the game feel that much more immersive.
In order to capture the ghosts that you find, you’ll use a variety of proton packs and weapons to more effectively capture and battle certain ghosts. Just as Pokémon Go has Great Balls and Ultra Balls that make capturing stronger Pokémon a little easier, these varied proton packs and weapons will help making capture certain ghosts a little easier. They even incorporate some of the new gear introduced in Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, such as the proton glove. And you’ll want to use these items, because unlike Pokémon Go, the ghosts can actually hurt you and deplete your health.
In addition to capturing ghosts around the real world (as well as hatching ectoplasms like eggs), the game also offers raid bosses that will allow players to capture huge ghosts, including the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Players will have to team up with each other in order to efficiently take down these bosses, and the battles are a little more involved than mere smashing your fingers on your screen. For example, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man has the ability to create smaller marshmallow minions that you have to dispatch with. The boss attacks sometimes also require you to hit the ghosts in a certain spot to deflect an attack. The gameplay is much more involved and requires a little more skill and timing than Pokémon Go or even Jurassic World Alive.
Adding to the evolved gameplay is the fact that, on top of the PvP gameplay that will allow players to use their ghosts to battle each other (which hasn’t specifically been shown off yet), there will also be a story mode that features new exclusive writing and art from members of the Ghostbusters comics writing staff. We’re eager to find out more details as the game gets closer to release.
But what really makes Ghostbusters World stand out among Pokémon Go and Jurassic World Alive is how much better the augmented reality aspect of the real world exploration is. The maps for both of those games are flat and predominantly featureless with the exception of roads, bodies of water and in the case of Jurassic World Alive, two-dimension building outlines. But Ghostbusters World uses Google Maps API to recreate the buildings around your character in 3D, creating a much more immersive experience. This feature is especially cool when you see the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man marching around nearby.
Scattered throughout the map will be Dimension Doors, which are the game’s equivalent of Pokémon Stops. There you’ll get energy for your weapons, some of which will allow you to create customized proton streams for maximum efficiency, and other items and resources that will be useful in the game. Developers are in the midst of figuring out how they want to scatter Dimension Doors around the map, so it’s not clear if they will be less abundant in rural areas like Pokémon Goor plentiful across almost any region like Jurassic World Alive.
After playing the game outdoors at San Diego Comic-Con, I was excited to spend more time with it when the game launches. For Ghostbusters fans, it’s a fun dive into the world of the paranormal, and it’s a game that requires a little more skill and involvement than the aforementioned predecessors. As long as developers can keep the game interesting with updates and special events to keep players engaged, this could be another successful augmented reality game to play while you’re on the go. We’ll be sure to let you know when Ghostbsuters World has an official release date.