What would you do if you were comfortable in your own town and all of a sudden, your help was needed and not by criminal mischief of the physical kind per se, but more of the spirit haunting kind? Would you run? Would you hide? Would you move out of the neighborhood? Would you call someone? All of those are very respectful choices in their own right, but what if the one that could possibly save the day was you? Does Developer Borrowed Light Studios show us what it’s like to actually try and catch ghosts? Let’s find out with Spectro for PCVR.
In Spectro, you are in the town of Weirdwood that seems to be having a paranormal problem as they have scared everyone else away as they are seeking the lost Mask of Okeem that happens to be hidden at the top of this haunted tower and if you can get to the mask first, maybe the town of Weirdwood can be saved and all can be restored…hopefully.
But since it has been what seems like a long time since you have used your gear, you will need a little refresher of sorts in order for you to do your best to grab the Mask of Okeem and hopefully not get scared by the ghosts that live this here tower. Lucky for you, you do have a host, a ghost host of the most friendly kind to help you get started that will show you bust ghosts, how to trap the ghosts, replenish your energy, use your flashlight, move (free-movement, teleport, etc.), look for Totems, and a few other things. Once you have everything underway, you have a choice to either go straight in and test your luck or go for the tutorial that will give you some insight of what actually you need to do in order to move past the current floor and on to the next. I would suggest going through the tutorial as well as mess with your locomotion movement of choices so you have the most comfortable experience as possible as there is more to just trying to find and capture some ghosts.
So as you see, not only do you have to try and catch the ghosts, but you have to be on the lookout for the Totem at each level. Keep in mind that any time you have to start over because you got “spooked”, each floor is randomly generated. So that means each game is going to be different than the previous ones, so don’t expect the Totem to be in the same spot and could, in fact, be hidden anywhere on the floor.
I do like how the Developer has presented Spectro here, I mean yes, you get to bust some ghosts and trap them, but you also have to find a randomly located Totem cube that you can easily pass by when moving from room to room only to hear a door shake as a ghost may bust through or you open the door only to reveal more than one ghosts who want to prevent you from being the best person you can be and stop you from trying to reach the Mask of Okeem. But you do need to be careful of the ghosts as there is a variety of ghosts here. Some will throw things at you that you can dodge out of the way, but beware of the bomb-throwing ghost, because if he throws it and you do not move out of the way, well, there is nothing wrong from learning from our mistakes.
So we have ghosts who have taken over Weirdwood, we have the ability to bust the ghosts and collecting them, and we have a search and destroy mission to find the Totems and the objects within that room to try to find so that the secret door can be revealed so that you can move on. What else is missing? Oh, sometimes when you feel that it’s the end, you may just need to upgrade your equipment. Through the rooms, you will notice objects that are shaking. At first, you may think there could be a ghost in those objects, which could be the case, but more times than not, they include coins that you can use to help upgrade your equipment or purchase additional objects to help you in your journey at the store which is located in the room where you met your ghost host.
Let’s talk about the sound for a moment. The music was spot on and complemented the environment. It wasn’t too overbearing and was just the right amount of levels of sound. Zapping the ghosts had this energy beam that almost sounded like an overpowered bug zapper which is not bad at all and I quite enjoyed it. And I like how the music changed when you were talking with the ghost host and was on an equal level of comfort letting almost know everything was ok and to try again just as the ghost host was encouraging by saying that maybe next time you can do it. I also like the fact of how different objects also had their own individual sounds such as the cuckoo clock and the pumpkins.
Looking at the graphics, I really like the art style as it wouldn’t be too scary for children, but still detailed enough to keep children of all ages entertained. When rooms became dark and you have to use your flashlight, the light hit objects in just the right way as it would just in real life and its those small yet, effective details that can help make the experience.
If there is anything I would like to see added, it would be some type of leaderboards to show who got to what floor and maybe in the amount of time it took. Yes, the room is randomily generated and that is awesome as each game is different, but seeing how fast your friends made it through the floor or stars your friends earned as they tried to find the hidden objects would be a nice competitive touch. The last thing that would be an awesome addition to have would be multiplayer. Going through the house as you try to bust the ghosts together or maybe even a mode where you can zap your online friend to freeze them so that the ghosts can get them as you escape while trying to reach the Mask of Okeem would be pretty funny. Of course, the last is more of a wish and is not needed, but it could be fun.
Spectro shows us that busting ghosts can be fun and is even better in Virtual Reality, but shows us when something is preventing you to move on to the next plateau in life, you use that as a stepping stone and overcome that negativity.
Spectro is out now as an Early Access Game on Steam. A review code was provided.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have more ghosts to try and bust.