Review | Ghost Love

Hanabi's latest release, Ghost Love, proves once again value isn't necessarily determined by price. If it were, their games would cost as much as those already paid or even more. So how's possible their F2P games surpass many paid titles? I have no clue. All I know is I want them to carry on and bring us new, exciting games.

Hanabi's games usually concentrate around one theme, but here we've got two, completely different ones: supernatural world represented by ghosts and magic contrasted with everyday work experience. Although these two don't seem to be equal rivals, Hanabi managed to make them both interesting and enjoyable.

Christina lost his best friend, Kyle, in a tragic car accident five years ago. Now she's twenty two and her memories of Kyle start to fade away as she moves on with her life - she graduates from a collage and gets her first job. One day she sees a cat stepping on a road in the very moment a car goes by. Christina rescues the cat and as a thank-you the cat grants Kyle one of its nine lives. The boy comes back as a ghost and since he's only visible to the girl, he accompanies her in her everyday life. However the past and the future cannot coexist, thus Christina will have to decide whether she would stay with Kyle or start a new life with her colleague, Vincent.

The protagonist is caught between a rock and a hard place - on the one hand she lingers on the past's mistakes and regrets but also happy moments with Kyle, on the other hand she has managed to move on with her life and met Vincent with whom she can create new memories. This dilemma is actually the best part of the game - it's so well written that it's convincing and seems real. Neither choice is completely satisfactory and staying with the both guys at the same time is not an option. The game corresponds to the real life as we can't have everything we want and our decisions don't go hand in hand with opinions of others'. 

But Ghost Love isn't only about grief and regret - the game is actually funny! Hanabi mixed drama with humor which resulted in an interesting, well-paced story. Maybe it isn't as funny as Love Magic, but it's still laughable at times.

I can't say I like Christina as much as I like Derryth, from Hanabi's other title, Love Magic but it is only because Ghost Love is a different type of a story. Here the protagonist is an adult, harshly experienced by life and keeping all the pain and regret within herself. Obviously she's not as silly and crazy as Derryth but she's still likable.

Hanabi follows its characteristic pattern of two date options and in this particular case I cannot imagine having another guy added. The both men perfectly fill the plot, so any other guy would be only a third wheel.

Kyle and Vincent are both well written characters. Kyle, our childhood friend, passed away tragically at seventeen and now when brought back he follows the protagonist and experiences how the world has changed after his death. The boy is a little bit dense and childish but also warm-hearted and understanding. One could think that since Kyle is the "nice guy" Vincent's personality must be opposite. But it's not. Christina's colleague may seem uptight and strict and the beginning of the story but as it progresses we learn his soft side. Eventually, it's hard to choose between this two so it's better to decide from the start which one we are to pursue first and on the second playthrough choose another.

The gameplay, the interface and the graphics match those of the previous games. Instead of typical routes we have one story divided into crucial parts where we can either choose to hang out with Kyle or go out with Vincent. There are many choices in the game although not all of them are relevant.

The title consists only of "new game" and "continue". There's no "load" option and the game saves automatically so we cannot undo our decisions. However, that's not a problem since Ghost Love is as short as any other Hanabi titles. It's also worth to mention that the story is complete and there are no plans to make a sequel.

The art is gorgeous, especially colorful backgrounds. They a little bit differ in style from those in Love Magic as they resemble blurred photos than watercolor pictures, nonetheless they still look great. The illustrations seems to be inspired by Japanese comics and they depict certain scenes in the game. The characters' design is OK although Vincent's appearance seems dull and plain. Straight black hair and glasses are far to common in the otome games. Vincent's look a little bit disappointed me, maybe because I got used to very creative and distinctive character designs by Hanabi's artists.

I'm also confused about the title of the game. Hanabi has annouced the game as Ghost (Office Love) whereas the official graphics states simply Ghost Love. But that's not over - the application itself is called Love Ghost... ^^ Seems like a laughing matter but because of that I had problems with titling this review D: Eventually, I chose Ghost Love since it's the only title out of three that actually appears in the game.

Ghost Love and the rest of Hanabi's games are completely free to play and there are no hidden microtransactions. Fom time to time an ad will appear but it can be turned off instantaneously with a just one click.

There's no need to speak futher about this game since I obviously recommend it. It's fun, it's engaging and free. 5,0 on Google Play speaks for itself :)

* * *

Developer/publisher: Hanabi Media
Date of publishing: January 26, 2017
Genre: otome / visual novel
Platform: Android
Number of routes: 2
Voice acting: no
Animations: no

Can be bought at:
Digital version: Google Play

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