If you have ever played any of the Touhou Project games, then “Ghost Blade HD” will be a pleasant and modernized blast from the past for you. As all the projectiles, visuals and even the familiar layout of the screen with the gameplay on the left and scores on the right feels very nostalgic to anyone who’s familiar with the Bullet Hell games from early 2000’s. Touhou or Bullet Hell, it really doesn’t matter by which name you know the games. Because Hucast Games“Ghost Blade HD” did a decently good job in capturing the flow that these types of shoot-em-ups are supposed to bring to the player.
In essence, the idea of the genre is simple: Press a button and keep pressing it until enemies disappear from your screen! And I’m talking about lots and lots of enemies, and sometimes even bosses. You need to navigate your way through streams of bullets, bombs and even suicidal enemies, all trying to take you down by just touching you in the slightest.
“Ghost Blade HD” is an ambitious game in one regard. It takes on a classic genre and when thought one level deeper, a franchise and tries to modernize it. The attempt succeeded, but isn’t perfect. Nevertheless, the feel is familiar and hectic. As the constantly changing level design that is meant to constantly keep you on guard is there and is executed well. The only problem that I have with the overall difficulty curve of the game is that on two of the three difficulty levels, the game almost plays itself, a little less so on Medium then Easy. Then again, I couldn’t even get halfway through the first level on Hard. On Medium, I at least managed to get a shot at the level’s boss. The main difference between the two difficulty levels is the amount and speed of projectiles coming at you.
On Hard, you need godly reflexes and hand-eye coordination to even manage to react to the shapes coming for your sorry arse. In the matter of fact, it’s near-impossible to avoid all the obstacles that the game tosses at you. So most of the time that will result in you dying as a result of a misjudged movement and prerecognition of bullet patterns coming your way. Then again, that was a crucial part of the Touhou games charm. So I guess that it’s a love/hate kind of a relationship. Anyways, memorization is important, and you will feel great satisfaction when you manage to beat one level after another. However, I would like to point out that even though “Ghost Blade HD” is similar to the Touhou games, it’s worth keeping in mind that the speed of Ghost Blade HD’s projectiles is probably the same of a sniper rifle’s bullet. In other words, be quick, or be dead!
The assumption of a player’s skill compared to the reward you get from dodging these objects is not of the satisfactory kind, and that’s something which you’d expect to see from a Bullet Hell game. So that is a minus in my book. However, on the positive end of things. There ARE easier difficulty levels, which lift some of the intense pressure points of the ”Hard” difficulty. The music is good, and the modernized graphics look really nice; they just take a while to get used to. The vivid colors and a busy background to the game screen can sometimes be a bit too much, though. The music is damn bangin. As the game’s soundtrack consists of rock, with a classic Touhou-esque vibe to it, and it gives “Ghost Blade HD” some good props and motivation to keep playing and restart if you fail.
So in overall, the experience is enough to bring back the good memories from the older Bullet Hell games, give you that adrenaline rush and drive to succeed and advance with the game. As a minus, the game’s difficulty is too sporadic depending on the difficulty level and the slightly clunky graphics with a disrupting color scheme add-on to the frustration that you might feel when dying, instead of pushing you to retry, cutting the game’s life span rather short, albeit satisfying when not dying to the aforementioned flaws.
Nevertheless, even though the said down sides of “Ghost Blade HD”. The game still offers a topnotch shoot-em-up gameplay experience. So it’s a must play for fans of the shmup genere.
+ A nostalgia blast from the past with modernized graphics
+ Vivid colors and graphics backed up with an awesome OST
– Hard to distinguish relevant from irrelevant; messy
– Overly sporadic difficulty
Sound and music: 4/5
Replay value: 4/5
“Ghost Blade HD” is a really awesome mix of shoot-em-up nostalgia from the past and modernized graphics of today. Simply put, if you truly love action intense bullet hell shmups, then this is the game for you.
Title: Ghost Blade HD
Developer: Robust Games
Genre: Shoot-em-up, Bullet Hell
Release date: 2017-03-08
Difficulty: Fairly Hard
Spent time: +1.5 hours
Average grade internationally: 70%
PEGI age rating: 10+
Price: 9,90 via Steam
Robin Ek – Editor