Review: Ghosts of Memories

Ever since Monument Valley came out, we can see plenty of games being inspired by it in terms of aesthetics and gameplay. It seems like people love to play 3D-like isometric puzzles, which made developers create their own games that used this same concept, but usually with a twist. Games like Back to Bed and Lara Croft GO are some of the best examples of this trend. However, when Monument Valley was released, there had been nothing like it. These days, we already know what to expect when a new Monument Valley clone appears, so it is very hard for developers to create a game with its own identity.

Ghosts of Memories ($2.99) by Paplus International is one of the newest additions to the iOS App Store, and as you can see from its screenshots, it was clearly inspired by Monument Valley. If you like this type of puzzle games, then you may like what this game offers, so continue reading to learn more. The developer, Paplus Games comes from Warsaw, Poland, and I really happy to see European developers being highlighted by Apple in the iOS App Store.

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When it comes to the visual style of Ghosts of Memories, it is gorgeous and filled with fine details. Like some previous games of the same genre, this game brings a 2.5-D isometric perspective. Details and textures are nicely done and rich in detail, and I really enjoyed every single level that I played. In addition, the atmospheric soundtrack nicely complements the gameplay, so you can really zone out if you put on some earbuds. You play as a female figure with a sceptre, where you move through the environment in an effort to solve puzzles. What’s unique about this game is that you have to keep an eye on two worlds at the same time, since one puzzle world affects the other world, so you need to switch constantly between the two to complete the levels.

Ghosts of Memories features four distinct worlds, where each one comes with a handful of levels. The main goal remains the same throughout. You will be playing as a lone traveller on a quest to help free a woman who is trapped in a crystal. Basically, you need to repair the crystal by collecting fragments and this can be done by figuring out the puzzles. As expected, the game begins with a few very simple levels, teaching you how to move and how everything works. However, things get more complex very soon. Each new world adds new mechanics, to keep things interesting. In difference from Monument Valley, which brought only four levels, to begin with, Ghosts of Memories brings fifteen levels. By now, we expect games to bring 50+ levels, but these games are usually not as artistic as this one.

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The controls are very simple, and they are based on swiping across the screen. To move the character, just tap on the tile you want to move to. However, you will need to solve puzzles and continue moving by swiping tiles across the screen while trying to figure out how to construct the path. These tiles have some limitations since there are restrictions to how many moves they can make. Your job is to solve a puzzle, create the right path for your character, collect the crystal fragments on your way, and finally get to the fully restored crystal. This will take you to the next level.

However, there is a problem with the game’s mechanics, since sometimes you will see yourself traipsing around and tapping on the screen, without a clear goal. This is because Ghosts of Memories fails to signpost things clearly, where the only way to succeed is try a bunch of different combinations. This is exactly where Monument Valley succeeded since it brought somewhat complicated mechanics that you needed to understand. It is clear that the developer channelled a lot of resources into making this game look amazing since it feels like its gameplay suffered a bit. For example, the game features symbols, energy pools, suns, planets, where you have to sort out their relevance to each other, where symbols can be easily misinterpreted. In addition, some of the more advanced levels are huge, and they require a lot of time to move your character around. I would rather see more meaning and active gameplay, instead of enjoying in the game’s vast levels and dimensions.

Ghosts of Memories comes with a huge potential and it can be seen how much effort was put into creating it. While I was amazed by its visual design, the gameplay felt a bit tiresome. The game gets repetitive after a while. What also needs to be mentioned are performance issues. While playing the game, it crashed a couple of times. I didn’t lose much of my progress, since the game is saved after every level, but still this shouldn’t happen at all.

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Ghosts of Memories is not a time-consuming game, and you can probably finish it in about 3-5 hours. What I recommend is to play this game in short sessions. You will see for yourself that the game becomes tiresome the longer you play it. I guess this is because it lacks diversity. The only thing that is constantly changing are the beautifully designed environments, and this is what made me stay around for a while.

In case you really like puzzle games, then you might find Ghosts of Memories enjoyable. However, if you are a fan of Monument Valley and want something challenging, I am not sure if this is the right game for you.