ghosts 'n Guns AR game

Ghosts ‘n Guns Review (iOS/ARKit)

Ghosts ‘n Guns is a shoot-em-up ARKit arcade game for iOS which was developed specifically for augmented reality (AR) with full iPhone X support. The game plays in the first-person perspective. Your goal is to fight against a horde of pixel ghosts which have invaded our world.

Things that this Shooter Does Right

Pixel bats flying in augmented reality
Lots of pixel bats, how am I going to deal with all that?

If you follow my blog you’ve probably already seen that I am a first-person shooter fan and I had a chance to review quite a lot of first-person and third-person shooters. A few of my favorites are Dragon Power Fight AR (third-person), W.AR Augmented Reality (large-scale FPS), Angry Zombies, ghosthuntAR: Survival, and Alien Invaders AR. I found Ghosts ‘n Guns AR to be similar to ghosthuntAR. In a way that the enemies are spread around the player 360-degrees and you need to shoot them down before the deal any damage to you and eliminate you.

Ghosts ‘n Guns AR features one-touch controls. You actually have unlimited ammo, and you can just press and hold to shooter continuously throughout the level without stopping for even a second. It’s actually recommended considering a large number of enemies that spawn in each level and their unpredictable movement. I prefer this than having to continuously tap on the screen, which moves the device forward and backward and impairs the AR gameplay experience.

Green 3D pixel-art boss creature
Look at this funny face, and this creature is even animated, looks funny when you see it live. Check out the gameplay video to see what I mean.

At the top right side of the screen, there is a radar which shows you where the ghosts are located. This is a good practice. I find it very frustrating playing 360-degree Augmented Reality (AR) shooters without it. The reason is that I just found myself turning around like mad trying to locate them and getting my head very dizzy on the way. It was a very uncomfortable experience and I’m glad that this issue is well addressed in this game.

Unlike many other shoot-em-up AR games, here you can actually see the guns you are shooting with, which make the game fill more like a standard FPS game. Some AR games just ditch it and only put a sight in the middle of the screen. It’s a matter of preference, but I find this design help to increase the immersion, making you fill like you are actually shooting with something. Without a visible weapon, it just seems like you are shooting bullets out of your screen, look kind of awkward, to be honest. You can check out the gameplay video I’ve posted in my reviews of Angry Zombies, ARZombi and W.AR Augmented Reality and you feel what I mean (I know, those are a lot of zombie games, but don’t blame me, many people love shooting zombies 🙂 ).

There are some really cool things happening in this game. Like when you shoot a certain enemy it splits into two enemies and a boss can pass way above your head. I wasn’t able to level up too high, and I’m sure that are even more great things happening at higher levels.

One thing that I really wanted this game to have is power-ups. I haven’t come across anything like that in the 3 levels that I was able to play.

Before we move on, let’s check out some action gameplay!

This Game has Boss Fights-Yes!

Boss fight in Ghosts n Guns AR game
An actual boss fight, from level 1 if I am not mistaken. If this isn’t cool, I don’t know what is. This guy was just past over my head while I tried to shoot him.

I never heard anyone who said that he doesn’t like boss fights in a shooter game. I’ve played lots of shooters, and without having a challenging and rewarding boss fight, the gameplay feels unvaried and monotonous. Knowing that there is a boss fight, makes me want to put effort to get to that point where I know I’ll face a great challenge. A boss fight, generally speaking, is a more personal and challenging fight which feels very rewarding upon completion.

I enjoyed it when I did raids in Bungie’s Destiny MMO game on the PS4 when I faced bosses in Final Fantasy XIV: Realm Reborn and when playing Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap, a platformer game. The anticipation facing that last boss always appealed to me in games.

Here you can find a boss fight at the last section of each level. You can’t progress without beating the boss character. The boss fights are really cool. Aside from the the the character’s adorable look and animations, you are not just fighting solely against it, but against a large number of its accompanied fighters. It can easily get very chaotic and get out of control, so make sure you are prepared for it.

Playing Ghosts 'n Guns AR game indoors
You can play the game both indoors and outdoors, but I personally prefer outdoors, this game needs a bit of space to play.

For example, As of the time of writing, I am still stuck at the boss of Level 3, the bat boss that released tons of bats into the room.  The idea is to focus on continuously damaging the boss but always keeping an eye on the other bats that keep attacking you from all directions.

Those boss fights are really difficult but I like it this way. It’s not a game that you just go and finish in three minutes and move on to the next one. You want to be good at it, you need to invest time in it. Having said that, the game does offer microtransactions that allow you to unlock a start-from-a-checkpoint feature. This means that it allows you to continue from the last place you failed instead of starting from the beginning. I know, it feels very unfair towards other players who either don’t want or can’t afford to buy and unlock this feature, but this is nothing new to mobile games and many of you probably already know that.

Overall, the boss fights are in my opinion the highlight of this game—they look funny and they are fun to play against and offer a challenging and well-balanced fight.

Pixel Retro Style Visuals

large red pixel bat in augmented reality
A large red pixel bat is after me, help!

I also liked that the developer of Ghosts ‘n Guns has chosen to go with this pixel-art direction. I know that many people like it, but I also acknowledge that many don’t. I personally fan of these pixel visuals.

I probably have a childhood fixation on this as I grew in the arcade machine days and this type of design always help to bring some beautiful nostalgic memories. I found this design to be funny and mood-lifting.

I really enjoyed it when I played Angry Zombies and enjoyed it when I play this game as well. For me, it felt like I was inside an arcade machine and just thinking about it made me feel amused and satisfied with the design direction of the game.

Conclusion

Ghosts ‘n Guns is a great one-touch-control Augmented Reality (AR) shooter for (almost) all ages (ranked 9+ on the app store). It reminded me the fun I had playing Alien Invaders AR. It has really adorable pixel-art characters and the animations look really nice. The movement of the enemies is erratic and therefore unpredictable, and the boss fights add another layer for enjoyment, anticipation, and challenge to the game.

I really enjoyed seeing how those ghosts are coming out from the floor and start spreading inside the room. It’s those little things that make a game look and feel great in AR.

I wasn’t able to finish all levels, but I’ve read on the game’s description page that there are many levels to this game. I like the retro-style soundtrack and sound effects. The global leaderboard is there for those competitive players among you.

Overall, what first looked like just yet another uninspiring shoot-em-up game, turned out to be a really nice surprise. If you are looking for a challenging arcade-style shoot-em-up ARKit game, look no further—great little AR game.

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