Spooky Ghosts Dot Com by Grizzly Wizard Games
Released on Switch just in time for Halloween, Spooky Ghosts Dot Com is an adorable 8-bit platform shooter. As Ruby, a pink-haired, cat-obsessed ghost hunter, you’ll explore the grounds of a haunted mansion, blasting spiders, skeletons and ghosts along the way.
Despite its simple, pixellated graphics style, Spooky Ghosts Dot Com lays the cuteness on thick, from the grinning jack-o’-lantern save points to the collectible hidden bonus items, which instead of the usual treasure or mystical objects turn out to be cats to pet.
The game even starts with Ruby at her computer browsing online cat pictures before the e-mail from the mansion owner arrives to start the game proper.
I found the happy little spiders and affectionate cats a nice break from the usual horror tropes and jump scares, but your mileage may vary; if you’re not into cuteness, this might feel like a November 1st Candy Corn hang-over.
That said, for all the lighthearted cute parts, Spooky Ghosts Dot Com definitely has some challenging moments. This isn’t quite on the Super Meat Boy level of extreme challenge, but there are enough super-heated steam vents, spike pits and buzz-saw blades that you’ll need to time your jumps carefully.
And apart from the basic ghosts and spiders, there are some unexpectedly challenging enemies, as well. Skeletons bearing spiked shields can’t be blasted from the front and tend to jump at the same time you do, while floating specters will chase after you unless you’re looking at them directly, at which they’ll freeze like the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who.
For all its occasional challenges, Spooky Ghosts Dot Com can be finished in a night – preferably Halloween night, obviously – or probably a lot quicker, if you’re the speed-running type.
It’s also an ideal release for the Switch – the original PC version was released about a year ago – in that it can be enjoyed in smaller, bite-sized morsels (Halloween candy reference entirely intentional).
This is a good thing, as there’s only so much caramel apple sweetness you can digest before giving yourself a tummy ache, but if you like your autumn entertainment sweet and silly instead of sour and scary, this game is quite a treat.
Spooky Ghosts Dot Com is available via the Nintendo Game Store and Steam.
Watch the official Spooky Ghosts Dot Com trailer below: