The last few years have proven to be vital in a seismic shift toward how multiplayer experiences are created and distributed. A genre that was once limited to only big-name developers and publishers has now opened up to smaller teams – thanks in no small part to the rise in popularity of digital publishing platforms, crowdfunding opportunities, and of course, Steam’s Early Access Program. While the sudden influx of releases from unproven developers has had an obvious downside in that there are a lot of disappointing games on the platform, but on the bright side – there are also plenty of new and unseen experiences that fans are getting to experience nowadays.
In this feature series on highlighting promising releases, we have covered a couple of multiplayer experiences such as the likes of BURNING LANDS, and many more. Today, we will be looking at yet another title from developer Vaulted Sky Games – Midnight Ghost Hunt. It’s a game that combines many tried-and-tested ideas from contemporaries of the genre to create an experience that’s unlike any other – and it could very well end up being one of the biggest multiplayer games in the near future.
Midnight Ghost Hunt, as the title subtly gives it away, is all about hunting ghosts before midnight strikes. Players team up in groups of 4 – which are then put up against each other in a fight for survival. One group assumes the role of ghost hunters, special operator teams who are sent to a variety of different locales around the globe to rid them of any and all paranormal activity. The other team assumes the role of Ghosts, who have to use their wits and powers to outsmart and defeat the ghost hunters. Midnight Ghost Hunt is an asymmetrical multiplayer experience, so both teams have to work in a radically different manner to have a shot at victory.
A standard Midnight Ghost Hunt round begins with a preparation phase. The ghost hunters team gets to choose from a wide array of options in the form of weapons, gadgets, and perks before they well, bust into the game to clean up the ghosts. For the ghosts, the preparation phase is all about trying to find the perfect spot to hide from the approaching threats. You see, the ghosts can take possession of any object on the map; anything from an ordinary plant to a chandelier on the ceiling to an ancient cannon lying around in the attic. Furthermore, the ghosts also get to choose from a selection of haunts and perks that will help them in dealing some damage to the ghost hunters.
As the round begins, the ghost hunters have to use their anti-ghost devices like a paranormal noise detector and a tracker to approximate and triangulate the position of the ghosts. You also get to choose between a sizable assortment of weapons like a harpoon shooter, a shotgun with ghost-busting salt pellets, and a bolt-action sniper rifle among others. Plus, you can also lay traps across the map to catch the ghostly spirits when they start running loose.
Once found, the attacker has to essentially wither down the health of the ghost until its HP drops to zero. Until then, the ghosts get a small window to escape from the clutches of the attacker. Different weapons require different tactics to be freed – as a shotgun might slow a ghost down while one might need to break the line of sight to get rid of a harpoon. Once a ghost is down, the ghost hunters have to clean up the Ghostly Remains of the fall to prevent them from being revived by the teammates.
While it’s clear that hunters do have a clear advantage in the main round, the developers have really struck a wonderful balance in the favor of ghosts as well. While the ghosts don’t have any bespoke offensive options, you can use creative ways to dispatch hostiles. You might swoop in from the skies as an unassuming Gargoyle, or you might take possession of a cannon and fire when the hunter is in sight. Furthermore, you could also use your abilities and perks to trap a hunter in their tracks and deal some damage using select props in the environment. Basically, you have a ton of options at your disposal to even up the odds.
The goal of the hunters is to track down and dispatch all of the hunters before midnight strikes. If they succeed, they win right away. However, if even one lonely ghost spirit remains lingering around until the clock strikes 12 – they will all return as vengeful spirits who will have aggressive and high-damage dealing move sets. Hunters will have to survive the constant onslaught of attacks in this round which is, of course, easier said than done.
That said, this constant back-and-forth trade of power between the two parties is what ultimately makes Midnight Ghost Hunt so endearing. Both the ghosts and the ghost hunters always have ample opportunities to turn the tides – which makes every round a thrilling experience. Thanks to a wide array of tools and abilities always available at the player’s disposal, Midnight Ghost Hunt is a deeply tactical experience that can have a high skill ceiling which should beckon more players to keep coming back for more.
Now coming to the level design, Midnight Ghost Hunt features many different map layouts for players to best their strategies. The levels featured in the game have both sprawling and extensive outdoor environments overlooking many vantage points, which offer a stark contrast to the many cramped interiors and corridors of mansions that are sure to ignite a constant sense of dread in a hunter – thanks to the abundance of props lying around. Much like the pre-round preparation phase, the level design philosophy seems to be taking heavy inspiration from Rainbow Six Siege. This really goes hand-in-hand with the game’s tactical nature, and fans can expect to see more and more varied maps coming to the game in the not-too-distant future.
Midnight Ghost Hunt is developer Vaulted Sky Games’ debut title and seems to be punching well above its weight in this regard. On top of a solid visual presentation, the game features excellent balance – which is a tough puzzle to crack especially in asymmetrical multiplayer experiences. Of course, the studio would most likely have some help in this regard from its publisher Coffee Stain Publishing .
The development has also been a mostly smooth ride, and the studio has already put out multiple closed betas. As of the time of writing this feature, Midnight Ghost Hunt is already available as a part of Steam Early Access program, although details on the full release remain scant for now. While there are sure to be a few rough edges here and there, Midnight Ghost Hunt is an incredibly promising game with a ton of potential as it stands now. While one can never be too sure, we are certainly hoping with crossed fingers that Vaulted Sky Games’ delivers a fantastic game with the full release that countless fans will most likely keep coming back to time and time again.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.
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