Review – Ghosts’n DJs

A lot of music fans like to wrongly generalize electronic music as “commercial noise that is not music at all”, and DJs as “people who simply play a set directly from their laptops”. What you might not know is that, even inside the electronic music circle, there are lots of DJs and producers who despise these more commercial, ghost-written and soulless chart-toppers. Some people decide to fight the good fight by releasing thought-provoking and acclaimed electronic albums. Other people, like Dr. Kucho, have decided to voice their disdain towards sellouts with a videogame. This is how Ghosts’n DJs was born.

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A very subtle jab at Steve Aoki’s music…

For those who don’t know, like me before playing this game, Dr. Kucho is an actual DJ and music producer who has released countless songs that chart all throughout Europe, one who has performed at Tomorrowland and Ibiza countless times. His music ain’t bad at all either. He’s someone with enough credibility for me not to completely cringe at the infantile plot of his new game, a game he himself developed.

Ghosts’n DJs doesn’t shy away from the fact it’s basically a new coat of paiting over the classic Ghosts ‘n Goblins gameplay loop and controls. The way your character moves, attacks, collects powerups, and most unfortunately, jumps, is identical to Capcom’s classic arcade title. Sadly, the game mistakes Ghosts ‘n Goblins‘ hardware limitations and design hindrances as if they are nostalgic features. We really didn’t need to get another game with those terrible jumping mechanics, those that don’t allow you to change your direction while on air.

Ghosts’n DJs

These jumping animations are identical to the ones featured in Ghosts ‘n Goblins.

Thankfully, Ghosts’n DJs is nowhere as broken or unfair as its source of inspiration. For starters, it has a difficulty selection. It does limit the amount of levels you’ll play on, however. You also have a health bar, being able to take up to three hits before dying. Finally, and this is a big one, the collision detection isn’t as terrible as the one present in the original Ghosts ‘n Goblins. That makes Ghosts’n DJs a fun little arcadey title to play in short bursts, as you won’t need more than half an hour to complete an entire playthrough, depending on your difficulty setting.

What makes Ghosts’n DJs so interesting, however, isn’t its gameplay. In fact, that’s the least interesting aspect about the game. Its setting, visuals and soundtrack are what make it stand out from the rest of the other Ghosts ‘n Goblins clones out there. This is a game in which you control Kucho himself, and you can effectively kill hordes of enemies based on David Guetta, Steve Aoki, Pitbull and Paris Hilton (adorably named “Paris Sheraton” in here). You start off with mixtapes as your projectiles, and you can evolve them into USB sticks, CDs and vinyl records, until you acquire the final powerup that transforms you into Deadmau5 and lets you shoot rainbow-colored cats on your enemies. I swear, that’s actually a thing.

Ghosts’n DJs

If that’s not Daniel Pesina, that’s someone who looks identical to him.

This is a game about DJs fighting DJs, developed by a DJ with the help from another DJ. It’s no surprise that the soundtrack is excellent. Weirdly enough, Kucho himself didn’t compose an electronic soundtrack, as he focused on making a really good classical-inspired collection of tunes instead. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a ton of electronic music in here, as Deadmau5 composed original songs for this game, as you would expect from one of the best electronic producers out there, it’s great! Definitely choose to play the game with Deadmau5’s tunes being played on the back, they’re perfect when there are tons of flying Steve Aoki demons chasing after you and trying to kill you with homing pies. Again, I swear, that’s actually a thing.

Ghosts’n DJs

Yep, he’s wearing a Deadmau5 helmet. Yep, he’s also fighting a demon version of David Guetta.

Ghosts’n DJs doesn’t feature good controls, and its message against plastic DJs can be infantile at times, but it can be very entertaining in short bursts, especially since it’s nowhere near as broken or infuriating as Ghosts ‘n Goblins, its main source of inspiration. It would have been a perfect fit for the Switch, but it’s still an easy recommendation if you’re into electronic music. And if you haven’t played AVICII Invector yet, of course.

 

Graphics: 8.0

The game features 16-bit visuals, with fantastic animations and great parallax scrolling effects. It also runs smoothly enough.

Gameplay: 6.0

Ghosts’n DJs features the same exact gameplay, controls and physics from the classic Ghosts ‘n Goblins games, including its terrible jump mechanics. Everything that was present in those games due to hardware limitations is used here as some kind of nostalgic mechanism.

Sound: 9.0

Given the fact this game was made by a DJ, featuring the help from another famous DJ, it’s no surprise that the soundtrack is excellent. Deadmau5 kicks it out of the park.

Fun Factor: 6.0

Its controls are often infuriating, and its message against plastic DJs can be infantile at times, but Ghosts’n DJs can be very entertaining in short bursts. Not being nowhere near as unfair as the classic Ghosts ‘n Goblins games, despite its bad controls, certainly helps.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Ghosts’n DJs is available now on PC.

Reviewed on PC.

A copy of Ghosts’n DJs was provided by the publisher.