There are always a few games that are liable to make you throw a controller across a room in frustration.
Once or twice during a playthrough of 'Jak II', perhaps. Thanks to 'Ghosts 'n Goblins: Resurrection', your Switch Joycons and Pro Controller will most likely suffer much more than joystick drift.
Frustrating is the first word that comes to mind when thinking of this game. Even on the lower difficulties, the action platformer is immensely challenging. However, that’s the selling point and while rage-inducing, it is a consistently enjoyable experience. You’ll spend more time than you deem appropriate on specific areas of stages, and it becomes a matter of the proverbial “git gud” to overcome the challenges presented, thus retaining its reputation for having a high level of difficulty.
The game gives the option to lower the difficulty level after enough rebirths, which helps to smooth out your experience and calm pent-up rage so that when you eventually pass the level and move on, you can unclench your jaw.
It’s also important to note that even though there is a high difficulty level across ‘Ghosts 'n Goblins: Resurrection’, it never seems unfair. The gameplay is smooth and runs well on the Switch, both in handheld and docked mode, and the countless deaths you’ll accumulate in each checkpointed area never feel like they’re cheapened, but rather an opportunity to improve.
The difficulty system is thought out in a logical manner. First off is the Page difficulty, the lowest in the game, which lowers the number of enemies in areas, and the health of bosses, while simultaneously giving Arthur (the playable character) more armour to tank enemy hits, and a respawn from death location.
Secondly, if too stubborn to drop to an easier difficulty setting, is the magic metronome, as per the name implies, the game music is also slowed to audibly indicate the slow down, and is a nice touch to help in immersion. The main benefit, however, is slowing down the speed of the game all around, allowing more time to react to enemies or to aid in precision platforming.
There’s also a two-player couch co-op mode that allows others to play along with you for extra help. While not a game-changer, the second player acts as a guardian angel, buffering the enemies away from player one.
The game has been gloriously crafted with hand-drawn assets and the art style is wonderful. While not as stylish as other similar games such as ‘Cuphead’, ‘Ghosts 'n Goblins: Resurrection’ certainly holds a unique visual identity.
As for weapons, there’s a nice variety of weapons that can be acquired from chests suited for various tasks. Personal favourites include the daggers, which offer a fast output with decent damage output, while the hammer offers close to medium range attacks with high damage. However, until upgraded in the skill tree, you’ll be left with choosing only one weapon to include in your inventory, which at certain points can hold back progression due to having the wrong tool for the task at hand. This can prove frustrating, particularly when you’re deep into a playthrough.
Magic is also available, again not right off the bat, which offers some help in difficult areas, and the ability with some casts to attack downwards. Again, this needs to be unlocked through the skill tree by collecting multiple Umbral Bees in each stage.
At five hours per playthrough, ‘Ghosts 'n Goblins: Resurrection’ is short, although it offers great replay value with two paths to venture through. The overall runtime is supplemented by both the multiple difficulty levels, as well as shadow stages for a second playthrough – the latter of which changes up the game's enemies and adds environmental effects, making platforming even more panic-inducing.
‘Ghosts 'n Goblins: Resurrection’ is as enjoyable as it is difficult. If you’re prone to fits of rage when playing a game, you might want to invest in a spare controller.