The Good Ghost

by Sarah Willson profile and Kirk Damato


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Number of Reviews: 4
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1-4 of 4

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A beautiful story, November 21, 2022
by Draconis
Related reviews: Ectocomp 2022

Oh, this was lovely. A choice-based story about a ghost bound to a family home, materializing at five different points in the life of the mother and son who live there, and trying to help them. There are some basic puzzles (mostly about examining everything and then figuring out which thing will be useful in each situation), which make the story feel more personalóit helps me relate to the protagonist and their curiosity and their motivation to help.

The overall tone is melancholy in a very sweet way. Youíre no longer alive; none of the people in the story can see you, or know that youíre there, or how youíve saved them. But that doesnít really matter. Youíve manifested to help them, and thatís what youíre going to do, whether they know it or not.

The final scene (ďAct VĒ) consists of two reveals, one after another; the second Iíd been suspecting for a while ((Spoiler - click to show)youíre not the ghost of a human) but that didnít make it any less touching. And then you finally pass on, just as the family starts to realize who and what you were. It was very sweet, and may or may not have brought a tear to my eye.

An excellent little piece, and another one that I recommend to everyone.

A lovingly written short story about a ghost protecting a family over time, November 13, 2022
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

This game is written with Twine and takes place in five acts, each of which is brief but meaningful.

You play as a ghost that finds itself in and out of existence, with the times in existence being important moments in the lives of your surviving family members. At first, there is very little you can do, but over time you develop more abilities. But it's not really a power-based or puzzle-based game; it's more about the story, about how your connection with the family deepens and grows over time.

The five acts vary between light hearted, dangerous, and sentimental. Gameplay mostly consists of navigating through the house, inspecting everything once, and then finding the one thing to return to to make things better. The pacing is excellent, as it does take some effort to finish each act but it never took long enough for me to feel frustrated.

The game does have some twists in it which, even though I saw it coming from some vibes in other reviews and though I've seen it done several times before, I did feel chills/lots of sentiment at the end, which to me means the author(s) executed the overall story with a lot of skill.

Overall, the best feature is the skill in plot and characterization.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
An outstanding short story that conveys much emotion, November 6, 2022

This is such a gem.

You a ghost. A friendly, benevolent one. No one can see you or acknowledge your presence, but that does not deter you from wanting to help. The game takes place in the house of a small family. Even though your own identity is foggy, you have a strong desire to protect them.

As a ghost you try to prevent disasters, preferably so that the occupants of the house never realize that there was any chance of disaster to begin with. It is a lighthearted game, but one that ponders the balance of everyday events that can lead to (Spoiler - click to show) household disasters. To borrow its words, "a domino effect." This game is never judgmental, nor does it strive to teach a moral. Instead, it portrays a sensitive protagonist who looks at daily life through the unique advantage of a ghost. Contemplative.

This is a Twine game. Not only does it look nice, but the gameplay is smooth. The player moves freely throughout rooms to explore the contents. For choice-based games I like to call this as free range of movement, but the effect is more subtle in The Good Ghost. Lazy and casual, yet attentive. There is a thoughtfulness in your surroundings that encourage you to find the nooks and tiny details that usually go unobserved by the family in the house.

Now, this is not a puzzle game. Instead, it features small objectives, such as (Spoiler - click to show) finding a wedding ring, that are solved by going to the right room and carefully observing. This shifts the flow, so the game then leads you to the next scene. Everything is so fluid and organized!

The Good Ghost shines in every department, but the story tops it all. It is broken into several acts that documents the family over a lifetime. Seeing this process was incredibly grounding. As for the ending, it is the sublime moment of realization at the end that makes this game so emotionally powerful. I do not want to spoil the ending but know that it clicked perfectly. (Spoiler - click to show) So that's why the cat dislikes me... It was beautiful.

Excellent, excellent work. I highly recommend this game to anyone.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
I'm not crying, you're crying!, November 6, 2022

Oh man, this game got me right in the heart.

The Good Ghost has a simple presence - youíre a ghost bound to the house where you used to live, doing good deeds for your former family and trying to remember who you were. Simple is good here, because it allows the authors to really flesh (sorry) out the setting and the situation. While this game is choice-based, it has a very parser-like sensibility, with all interaction done via clicking on highlighted interactable objects or locations. (I liked this quite a lot, since it meant I wasnít hung up on any guess-the-verb stuff and could just let myself melt into the game. I also suspect the walking-through-walls gimmick might have been difficult in Inform, but donít quote me on that.) Meanwhile, the writing lightly but masterfully fleshes out the the cast of characters. Despite only getting snapshots, I really felt a strong connection to the mom, the boy, and even the cat! The story is handled with a similar light but deft touch, and Iím going to remember that ending for a long time.

Iím coming off a less-good-than-average week in my personal life, and playing this game felt like drinking a cup of warm chicken soup on a cold day. Thank you so much for this experience.

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