Feature Article

Ghostbusters World Is Pokemon Go For '80s Kids

Your phone ain't afraid of no ghosts.

When something is popular, it takes almost no time for the copycats to show up and cash in. One need look no further than the crowded market of battle royale video games to know that's true.

So, naturally, when Pokemon Go was released in 2016 and became a smash hit, it was only a matter of time before similar games started arriving. Among them are Harry Potter: Wizards, which is in the works, and Ghostbusters World.

A collaboration between Sony Pictures and the studios 4:33 and Next Age, Ghostbusters World takes the foundation of Pokemon Go and rebuilds it to catch the attention of those who don't feel particularly drawn to Pokemon--and it works. While I was never able to get fully invested in Pokemon Go as someone who was never really a fan of the anime, card game, or video games, Ghostbusters World is a very different story.

After having the chance to demo the game at San Diego Comic-Con, it helped me understand what the draw of a game like Go or Ghostbusters World is. It is a simple, active, and fun way to engage with a property you love.

And for Ghostbusters fans, that engagement is going to take you even deeper into the world built by the various incarnations of the franchise. Ghostbusters World will feature a story mode, based on all-new writing and art from the creative force behind IDW's Ghostbusters comic book series. Given that fans of Ghostbusters never stop asking for new narrative content from this franchise, that's a good thing.

The game will also feature a PvP mode, customization of your avatar and gear, along with all of the standard features for a game taking inspiration from Pokemon Go--location-based gameplay, bosses that you team up with friends to raid, and randomly scattered "dimension doors" that function a lot like PokeStops, just to name a few. However, instead of coming up against an array of Pokemon, you'll go head-to-head with ghosts pulled from the films, animated series, comics, and just about anywhere else you've seen the Ghostbusters.

Playing the game, it's hard not to notice the similarities to Go. You walk around looking for ghosts on the loose to catch in a trap. It's the battle where things get interesting, though. Once you find a monster, instead of throwing an array of Poke balls at it, it's time to break out the proton pack.

Firing on the ghosts is as simple as tapping them with your fingers, but there are some tricks to it. For starters, your proton pack will overheat if not given enough time to cool down in-between blasts. Additionally, you're not limited to a single pack. It's unclear how many will be available at launch, but in the demo I played, there was the standard version, as well as one that fired off proton shells, similar to a shotgun.

When it came to taking down the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in a team-up battle, the shotgun proton pack was surprisingly effective, even more so than the standard pack. And, honestly, busting the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man felt pretty good.

With so many potential customizable options and a vast catalog of ghosts to work through, Ghostbusters World could easily eat up hours upon hours of your time once it arrives. Ghostbusters World does not have a definitive release date yet, but it's scheduled to launch later this year.

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Chris E. Hayner

Chris E. Hayner is a GameSpot Entertainment Editor and loves most movies, but especially Jaws and Paddington 2.

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