Oct 31, 2013
Ghost Toasters takes a rather novel idea: Get Grumpyface, a talented mobile developer that has made several great Adult Swim and Cartoon Network games like Super Mole Escape and Mutant Fridge Gumball, to take the Regular Show cast of characters, including the baby ducks from one of the show’s most famous episodes, and put them into a Super Crate Box affair where jumping through portals switches to a character with a new weapon. Oh, and ] add in portals that can call up extra characters to give the player multiple hits before failing, because this is a game based off of a Cartoon Network show. Throw in a level-based structure and a coins system for upgrades to help differentiate things. On paper, it’s a pretty rad combination, and there are times when it all shines through. The animation is fantastic, and there’s a real sense that making this game faithful to the Regular Show style was important in its creation. But then, the flaws rear their ugly head.
Everything just feels too lose and chaotic. Games in this genre succeed when the player is ultimately in control. Super Crate Box is really hard, but when the player realizes that, hey, if I don’t make any stupid mistakes, I’m good to go! Ghost Toasters doesn’t quite have that ever happen. The problem is evident when enemies damage the player, as they often trap the player against a wall, making it difficult to get away, and it’s hard to tell when the temporary invincibility has expired. It’s killed me too many times.
The swiping-to-move control scheme feels overly clever. It’s a good idea in theory, it’s just too loose and, leaves the player without the sense of dominion that they ultimately need to succeed. The virtual jump and fire buttons aren’t able to be used in a comfortable way for jumping and fire.
The game’s structure is odd as well: the individual levels lack much variety, and the goals feel nebulous – if the portal and ghost kill counts were given beforehand, I think it would help make the game feel like it was giving the player something to aim for on their initial attempts. Endless levels should be unlocked quicker, too.
While I think there are a lot of flaws with Ghost Toasters, it’s something of a noble failure: Grumpyface tried to make something cool, and the production values are obviously apparent. But, the flaws just damper the proceedings too much. There’s enough good here to make the game not a waste of time, but it’s just frustrating because this could have been really cool. Maybe next time, Grumpyface. Good effort, it just fell short. I’m still looking forward to whatever they put out next, whether it be for Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, or something completely different!