Ghost Giant is a game that greatly encapsulates the willingness to help and tells a story of Louis, a cat who just wants to help his mother.
Your introduction to Louis in the very first scene of the game is a fitting one. As a ghost, you find yourself towering over Louis, who is crying huge tears into a lake that you happen to be standing in. Poking him with a gentle nudge causes Louis to react as most people put in this situation would and he runs at the sight of this very giant, very real ghost standing before him. Through a series of whimsical mishappenings, you are given the ability to save Louis from certain doom; he quickly spurts some thanks as he runs off to his home, hoping to have left his spectral friend behind.
Not one to be left behind, you quickly catch up with Louis and then find yourself helping him in many different situations, but mostly moving objects here and there with your giant transparent blue ghost hands. As you move your way through the story, you begin to uncover the lengths that Louis is willing to go — with the help of his gigantic friend, of course — to do chores and whatever else it takes to both help and surprise his mother. He just wants to see her happy again.
The moving mechanics of operating machinery, pulling objects around the scenery and interacting with anything in the game basically involves finding an object that is golden in color and either poking or pulling it. When all of the objects are in the right place and the chores or favors for the person Louis is interacting with are complete, the social interaction and silent commentary of his role in this society paints a picture of his beautiful soul, not unlike the helpfulness of the giant you play in the story.
Ghost Giant is a puzzle game, but it adds some deeper emotion to it that you don’t find in most games these days. There are moments of dealing with depression, hopelessness, defeat and even loss of friendship. It’s a tough pill to swallow for anyone, as these are common things that we all deal with on a daily basis or probably know someone who does. This is magnified even more as you play this role of a disembodied phantom, watching it all unfold and only being able to help Louis — sometimes literally — pick up the pieces of his shattered life and put it back together.
The main aspects of the puzzles in the game are often hinted at by Louis directly or direction told to you through him, providing clear detail to what he needs. It’s a fair way to handle a puzzle game, making it a good fit for children, but sometimes the repetition of Louis’ voice clips get to be a little too much when you are desperately trying to find the one piece of the puzzle you are missing in the small area you are provided in each scene.
The limitations of the Playstation VR hardware, which requires you to use Move controllers to pick up the various things Louis needs from you with your much larger hands, leave something to be desired. Thanks to the limited width of tracking offered by the system, you’ll find yourself quite often missing your mark or generally being unable to reach something in VR that you clearly are intended to grab. Even though you’re never put in a situation that requires timed input, these gaffs feel very limiting and sometimes just straight up take you out of the experience altogether. It’s an unfortunate side-effect of the VR platform they chose for the game, but overall, it’s not a horrible distraction, as the interactions you do take part in are fun enough in their own right to make up for the wonky physics interactions that happen from time to time.
Ghost Giant also has a quite unique and gorgeous art style. From the giant set pieces to the objects you are interacting with to solve puzzles, everything has a ‘crafted’ appearance to it. Cranks and levers built into the world allow for buildings and structures to be moved to get a clearer view or even open up the floorplan to the Giant so that you might find a hidden object resting within. Many of the objects look to be made from cardboard and paper, and additional flourishes such as clouds being suspended above you by string add that little extra something.
The world that Louis shares with his giant companion is a detailed one, with every city or forest scene reaching far back with blankets of trees and even roads in this unreachable distance have cars driving upon them, adding that bit of realism to each diorama. Each environment also has a plethora of toy-like grabbables that you can throw and fling with reckless abandon, complete with secrets to find — like a pinwheel you can spin by blowing on the microphone or a basketball that awaits a good swishing in a discovered hoop in the distance. Ghost Giant excels in the fun that its system allows and looks quite fine whilst doing it.
Ghost Giant has charm in droves, and while hardware limitations add a bit of additional puzzling to this object-based puzzler, it does fine in the end. The story and music weave an emotional tapestry that brings you directly into the depression and woe that Louis deals with on a daily basis. Through the eyes of this Giant, you feel like you can actually assist someone who is seemingly too small to do these gigantic tasks themselves — it feels good to connect with Louis, secret handshake and all. I feel that Ghost Giant is an important game, if not for people to connect with its world and colorful characters, but to understand that sometimes it’s okay to seek help — even if it means a large blue ghost is the one to provide it.