Today marks the first time an official 2D Metroid game has been released in over thirteen years. While you may be wondering the significance of such a milestone for mobile gaming, the fact that half of the Metroidvania genre label has been essentially defunct for so long – and we frequently use the term to describe many exciting exploratory iOS titles – means it’s certainly something worth celebrating. While the upcoming Ghoulboy may be leaning more towards the ‘vania’ half of the descriptor, its undeniable retro charm combined with some nifty new platforming mechanics have lit an action gaming switch inside my brain, and there is a lot of potential for the title to make its own mark on the classic genre.
The main feature that really stood out to me in the early gameplay footage for Ghoulboy was how the protagonist used the spear weapon to actually create new platforms to jump on. While the examples within the trailer were fairly rudimentary, there is a lot of potential for the developers to create some truly epic challenges with this nuanced way of traversing the gloomy environments within Ghoulboy. Otherwise, the game looked like a pretty standard fare take on Castlevania and Ghouls ‘n Ghosts type experiences, with a balance between puzzles, combat, and platforming action that looks to put up a challenge for even the more seasoned mobile gamers. Whether the game can capture the charm of the games it takes such homage from, as well as stay varied and interesting throughout its currently unspecified lifespan, is still to be seen, but Ghoulboy’s early footage is without a doubt a promising start. For more information on Ghoulboy in the lead up to its upcoming release, jump down to our official forum thread.