Two years after Pokémon Go gave us the purest summer of our lives, comes the inevitable wave of copycat location-based AR games, one of which is Ghostbusters World. A collaborative effort between Sony Pictures and Korean mobile game studios 4:33 and Next Age, the game was made possible by Google opening up its Maps platform to developers. Thanks to this, and the rising functionalities of Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore, AR-based games aren’t just the territory of Pokémon Go developer Niantic anymore.
The demo version of Ghostbusters World, which I played at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend, felt a bit like playing an alternate reality version of Pokémon Go. Instead of throwing pokeballs at cute Pokémon, you blast your proton pack at grotesque ghosts.
There are four different proton packs that range in blast power, much like the range in capturing power like Great Balls and Master Balls. Dimension portals are the equivalent of Pokéstops, where you can get ammunition for your proton packs. And of course, you can buy more ammunition through in-app purchases. Much like Pokémon Go’s pedometer feature that lets you hatch a Pokemon egg, Ghostbusters World also lets you hatch Ectoplasms. I was puzzled as to why you’d want to hatch your own ghost when the point of ghostbusting is to get rid of them, but to each their own.
Yes, the basic gist is “Pokémon Go, but with ghosts”, but Ghostbusters World also throws in PvP in an effort to differentiate itself, as well as a Story Mode that will be scripted by writers of the Ghostbusters comics from IDW Publishing. A couple other features were slightly improved as well; thanks to the Google Maps data, buildings are actually shown in 3D around you for a more immersive experience. The demo also had an in-game chat feature, which could be helpful in coordinating raid battles. Though the way things are going with in-game chats right now, there’s always a possibility it might not be included in the final build if moderation proves to be too big a concern.
Ghostbusters World will launch later this year on iOS and Android with around 150 ghosts to capture, some of which have been created exclusively for the game.