Step into the matrix of this gaming world known as GHOSTWARE: Arena of the Dead, going all the way back to the 1990s and your computer screen displays a blast from the past. As the dial-up modem makes its screeching announcement, your protagonist is being transported into a virtual graveyard like numerous other obsolete technologies. Only difference is, you are still cognizant, and would prefer to stay that way if that were an option.
Combining the lore-heavy plot from that era, while reviving 90s shooter games that was a staple on every platform, GHOSTWARE is a retro-fps action adventure release from developers Daev Team and published by HyperStrange. Initial impressions will have you assume that GHOSTWARE is just another game capitalising on the 90s irony bandwagon, while not leaving much to ponder about in terms of storyline. Until you meet similar figures in the Arena, greeted by their greyish appearance and trapped in this weird realm. What do you have in common with these figures, and does the Wizard play a part in this nostalgic conceptualisation?
All of these questions will have to be put on hold for now, as GHOSTWARE throws you into the training tutorial and familiarise with your keyboard controls. Several jump variations and respawns later, you are ready to… learn the other control keys (which thankfully, went without an accidental death). Next up, your protagonist Molly interacts with the gallant-sounding Commando Major for more shooting practice using various weapons and um, executing your special skill of sand throwing to perfection. Molly is all set, teams up with the other members of Wizard’s ghoul squad and congratulations, you are thrown into a deathmatch! Capture the flag, fend off opposing forces and utilise your weapons accordingly, basic rules of survival set in a virtual hell (for added realism, play GHOSTWARE on terrible Internet connectivity).
While there are no cameo appearances from the cast of ReBoot for this offering, GHOSTWARE perfectly captures the niche 90s shooter genre and wouldn’t look out of place for gamers who yearn for their Sega consoles. Thankfully, you do not need to blow any game cartridges, as it is available now on Steam!