Developer & Publisher: Like Charlie/Application Systems Heidelberg
Released: February 24, 2022
Requirements: Operating system, 64-bit Windows 10
Processor: Dual core processor, 2.5 Ghtz or above
Graphics: Nvidia GTX 900+ or higher
Memory: 4 GB RAM
DirectX: Version 11
Storage: 5 GB available storage
Ghost on the Shore
Like Charlie / Application Systems Heidelberg
More an interactive story than a game, this is about three and a half hours of lyrical ghost driven discovery.
The ghost is Josh, you are Riley, a young woman forced to harbour her boat through “any port in a storm.” What starts as (maybe) voices in her head becomes someone (perhaps) sitting on her shoulder, real though in every sense of the ghostly world. The relationship that the two of you develop as you explore the abandoned island/s is at the heart of the tale.
They are both well voiced and acted, which matters given the amount of time you spend with them. The same applies by and large to the other voices you will encounter, as it does to the ambient sound and the score. I liked a lot that at many times there was no score – an island should just have its natural sounds – which made its use all the more effective.
(I know I bang on a bit about this, but there are times when we really don’t need mood music).
It isn’t nearly hard, and while you will find a lot of things, the finding is helped by the blue swirl of dust mites that indicate something worthy of your attention. Not everything swirls but near as I can tell you don’t have to find the things that don’t. I certainly ended without having collected all the letters and tapes, or drawn all the locations, and I had empty spaces in my journal, but I nonetheless “found my true home.” I suspect that even the couple of items I found that were needed to access a safe and a door weren’t essential either; the latter in particular it seemed I could just ignore and sail away.
Which accentuates that this isn’t about the finding or the puzzle solving, it's about discovering and discerning what went on, as you explore the crumbling homes of the vanished islanders and rummage amongst their belongings.
Throughout the game you will get to make time sensitive dialogue choices, perhaps a choice between two but sometimes up to four. These will be topics rather than detailed questions or comments, and according to the makers these “irrevocable choices in dialogue” shape the bond Riley forges with Josh and “ultimately influences the outcome of the game.” There are apparently four different narrative branches, each with a different ending.
Getting to a different ending
will necessitate starting a new game. Which makes sense if all the
choices matter. You can’t save at will, the game saving for you at
various points, and once I had finished I no longer had the “continue”
option in the menu, the only one being to start a new game.
The obvious places to search are the various buildings and other such things dotted about. Books, notes, letters, newspaper articles; all will fill the pages of your journal and flesh out the story. Even things like ticket stubs or empty bottles might add a bit more.
And the tale really is the thing. Its sad, poignant, at times surprising, and all sorts of other things. I will tell you no more lest I spoil it even a little.
Ghost on the Shore plays in the first person and uses the WASD keys to move (really just the W key except for climbing a ladder or a trellis or two) and the mouse to both steer and look around you. You have significant freedom of movement but not everywhere is accessible. Left click to interact with the dust mites and other things, and the early stages of the game provides some additional tutorial instruction. Dialogue choices will appear around a circle centre of screen, and you hold and drag the mouse to your chosen topic. The circle winding down will indicate how much time you have to decide.
Graphics are simple, colourful and effective. There is limited but sufficient movement in the scenes. Tweak a few things from the menu, including whether to have subtitles or not.
In conclusion, I fully expect to play it again.
I played on:
OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit
Processor: Intel i7-9700K 3.7GHz
RAM: Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR4 32GB
Video card: AMD Radeon RX 580 8192MB