Ghouls N Gals ($1.00) is a Team Shuriken game, so you’ve probably got a decent handle on what to expect already; suggestively-clothed, two-dimensional women, and a paper-thin, one-dimensional plot. It’s the standard all-text, choose-your-own-adventure stuff you’ve seen before, slathered on top of some nifty visuals / slight animations. And it hasn’t hurt the developer yet, so why fix what isn’t broke1.
The job doesn’t pay enough to afford more clothing, however.
This game2 finds our pair of ghoul-hunting heroines exploring a haunted mansion, of sorts, trying to banish a curse / kill zombies / do something or another. It’s not really important. Rather, you pick from a number of highlighted paths in any given room, cross your fingers it’s the ‘right’ choice, and repeat. These choices take you on a tour of the house, winding through several repeated hallways and navigational choices. Eventually you encounter another character, or observe an object in the environment, and a line or two of throwaway exposition is tossed around.
As an additional challenge, Ghouls N Gals does feature ‘combat’, in the form of occasional QTE events placed over static screens of enemies (oh, and a guy eating a cheeseburger, for some odd reason). If you’re not quick enough, or if you press the wrong button, you’ll lose one half of your ‘health’… meaning one of the girls will die. Fail twice, and you’ll restart. There are two checkpoints that you can reach to minimize the amount of rooms you’ll have to replay, but even without that help, you won’t have to work too hard.
Overall, it’s a predictably short journey that meanders to an anti-climatic ‘ending’, which really just makes Ghouls N Gals a glorified teaser to a sequel that may or may not ever exist. The game earns some bonus points for its playful nod towards P.T.— aka Silent Hills— at one point, but there’s really nothing else here that warrants a careful look, or purchase.
Wherever you stand on Team Shuriken and its catalog of ‘adventure games’, Ghouls N Gals is simply just another release from them, with no reason whatsoever to play this version over any of the last half-dozen cleavage-centric releases. The visuals may change from game to game, but the tired, repeating design and the criminally-short playtimes3 are always the same.
- It’s rhetorical, hence the absence of the question mark. Team Shuriken knows exactly what they’re doing, and no amount of questioning on my end (or anybody’s end… hmm… end, hehe) is going to give us the answers we’re looking for. Play on, friends, play on. ↩
- A ‘Chapter 1’ of an unknown amount of chapters. Funny thing is, most of Team Shuriken’s stuff starts out with a ‘Chapter 1’, but no additional chapters show up, despite the promises. That’s a pretty spotty track record, so take this whole ‘Chapter 1’ stuff with a healthy dose of skepticism. ↩
- It will literally take you 10 – 15 minutes to ‘finish’. ↩