Greedy Ghouls Game

In terms of a plot, this one is pretty simple, you are armed, and these creatures want your money tree, they do not plan on stealing it, they plan on killing you to make it their own. With a simple plot like, we can imagine that everything else in the game is pretty much easy to grasp. While we have no idea what those creatures may need for a tree that bears money (surely, the IRS would have a better motive), the fact of the matter is that they are bearing down on you from all directions (left, right, ground and air), and you need to fend them all off.

Again, to emphasize, these guys are here to kill you, so this is not a defense game, this is a "shoot everything that moves while jumping and dodging away at all the danger that is coming at you game". It is fun, fast paced and something that makes us want to play over and over again.

Where It Matters: the Gameplay

The controls for this game is simple, press left and right to move in that direction, press up to jump, use the mouse to aim then click the button to fire. Pressing E brings up the turret purchase menu and pressing spacebar will automatically upgrade your gun. Simple right? We really love the way that the developers came up with a very function-accessible system. Sure, it does feel a little lame that you cannot choose to skip upgrades (the weapon selection is automatic from pistol to machine gun to shotgun to grenade launcher to minigun and so forth), but that is where most of the game's complexity and player-skill reliance lies. This is not about how good your gun is or how much upgrades you, it is how well you can perform.

The game works like this: you play, you die and you start from the top (with a slight bit of bonus starting cash). The more you die, the higher the starting cash goes up. However, the starting funds you get is marginally small and at best, only good for a weapon upgrade or two. You would have to die and unbelievably huge number of times before you can gather enough funds to get to the really high tier guns -and we have not even started talking about the turrets.

Yes, turrets. Since you have plenty of cash, why fight alone right? Automated weapon turrets are real life savers, and they come in two flavors. The first is a utility type turret that fires bullets which slows down targets (making them easier to dodge and also, easier to kill). The second is a regular turret that just kills targets. Pretty useful of course, especially in the later parts of the game where enemies literally swarm in and corner you any way they can. Plenty of times, investing in turrets is better than getting the next gun -after all, being able to shoot multiple enemies at once is always better. The only catch here is that turrets are target specific, air turrets only target flying creatures and ground turrets will only shoot those that walk on the ground.

Purchasing upgrades is simple and easy, what is not simple and easy is gathering the funds you need. Despite the fact that you have a tree that bears money, the weapons you need are expensive, with costs that exponentially increase with each tier (not literally, but the price gaps are still ridiculous). Actually, the gaps alone would not be enough to be a challenge, the thing is, actually earning more cash in-game is actually quite an ordeal on itself. Sure, you generate cashflow continuously with each kill and every moment you stay alive, but that is the catch right there: staying alive is difficult.

And when you die, you lose everything: all the money you saved, the weapon you have equipped, the turrets that were in place and of course, your wave number progress. The only things that get saved are the missions status (which we will discuss in a bit), your best performance scores and the number of times you have died (which affect how much starting cash you get). Sure, you can opt to commit suicide over and over again, but the amount you will make is so low that you are better off polishing your skills with each run-through. And come to think of it, you should.

All About the Finger Work

In this game, your skill is what truly matters. If you have played a good share of upgrade titles, you would already be used to feeling pretty confident once you have purchased a great deal of items, with Greedy Ghouls, that does not matter. What matters here is how well you are able to observe enemy positions, incoming attacks, and the position of the rings. The second thing that matters is how fast you can analyze and react to it all.

When we said that this is a fast paced game, we meant it. Sure, the first few waves of enemies are pretty easy to beat and but once you reach later waves (like five and above), things will get pretty hairy. Moving fast and aiming well is a tough combination for players without much hardcore gaming experience since very few flash shooters will provide you with a decent enough practice. At the same time, this game will have you keeping at the die and restart cycle so much that you will eventually get good at it one way or another.

Eventually, as you play the game long enough, you will have enough starting cash to fund a couple of weapon upgrades and few turrets to help you out. This should help you start out the game without getting much damage. Then, once the harder waves set in, you will have a bit of an advantage.

Missions For You

Staying alive however, is not the only objective in the game. From the beginning to end, there are a variety of special missions that you can undertake. Every time you finish a set of three missions, you get another set of missions that are harder to accomplish than the first. What you need to do in these missions vary a lot. Some sets of three you can easily finish in a single run, some sets will have you killing yourself off and starting from the first wave all over again. Regardless of how you go about it, accomplishing missions is a very important factor in the game: it adds replayability and more importantly, something to distract players from the repetitive nature of the game.

When handling missions, always remember that accomplishing them is a simple matter of focusing on the task; if a mission requires you to use the pistol for a set number of waves, then just focus on that. Do not think about accomplishing another of the two remaining objectives when you are supposed to be focused on dodging the enemies that you cannot easily kill with the puny gun that you cannot change. Besides, if you make a mistake, you will need to start from the top anyway, so always make your efforts count.

This Game Counts

Now, despite seeming like quite the handful game to play, Greedy Ghouls is actually plenty of fun. As we have already pointed out, the controls are easy to use and more important, the response time is excellent. In terms of performance, the game does perfectly well on a system with at least 2GB of RAM (we suggest not playing on anything lower as it hampers performance) and everything looks good.

Did we say that everything looks good? We certainly did! In terms of graphics, the developers have skipped around the idea of creating everything with details. Instead, we get cute little flash silhouettes of everything and it all looks so magnificently stylish. The lead character, the ghouls, the tree, the rings and the turrets are all so nicely made and animated. The merging of elements is so smooth and elegant that we could not help but laud this game's exquisitely stylish, yet cleverly simple graphic style (but not original, since we have seen this style in plenty of other great games as well).

The only drawbacks in the visuals are the enemy projectiles. Now, as we mentioned previously, enemies throw shurikens: big black slow-moving ninja-stars. They are quite hard to dodge as enemies seem to have a very predictive nature of where you are quite likely to run. With that said, figuring out where the enemy bullets are can be hard. The reason for this is that every element in the game (except for the background) is drawn in black. That means that keeping track of a shuriken can be hard if it gets hidden under so many layers of the same color. Once you have a lot of turrets, a powerful gun, and plenty of enemies onscreen, knowing where it is safe to dodge is too crucial for you to not have a clue of whether there are ninja-stars headed right where you plan to go.

We really wish that the developers had allowed an option of changing the color of the enemy weapon. More often than not, players will get hit by attacks that they did not even know were coming due to the color issues. This issue is a bit of a fence-splitter for us. Despite all the great things in this game, a hidden shuriken killing off your character in a moment of surprise can be frustrating had it been an easy-to-dodge shot that was only successful due to the image issue. This does not break the game in any way, though it does make it a slight bit more challenging that it should be, and as it is, the game is more than tough enough for most.

Music wise, the game is not half bad. The audio for the combat effects are effective (if not a little familiar) and the background tunes work nicely with the game. Still, nothing will be lost if you choose to shut them off your speakers (in case you are playing at work or in the library).

The Verdict

Good games deserve to be played and Greedy Ghouls is certainly a good one. Not the best mind you, since there are plenty of other great shooters on the market with better gameplay and a more sensible upgrade tier system. But that aside, Greedy Ghouls is the perfect challenge game for the shooter player who has already done it all. The bullet hell system that appears in the later stages will certainly a challenge even the toughest of players and the slow money-grind will have you polishing your skills instead of just farming for more upgrades. Aside from that Greedy Ghouls sports a pretty decent soundtrack, crisp controls, great visuals and a gameplay that will still keep you coming back for more despite its intrinsic flaws (which are not all that bad, really). We give this game a flying ninja-star throwing ghoul's 87/100.