There have been many Ghostbusters games, but there hasn't been one that really attempts to separate you from the films or cartoon series.
You always play as one of the main characters, or a close approximation of one. Not in Ghostbusters Paranormal Blast on iOS, though.
Best described as an augmented reality first-person shooter - where you capture ghosts instead of shooting goons - the game attempts something a little different from your average licensed title, and should even prove accessible to people who have never clapped eyes on the films or cartoon series.
Ray Sharma, CEO and founder of XMG Studio, talks to us about how Ghostbusters Paranormal Blast works, how it squeezes the most out of your iOS device, and what the future plans are for the title.An invisible man sleepin' in your (actual) bed
Augmented reality isn't the only way in which Ghostbusters Paranormal Blast blurs the line between fiction and reality: the game also uses your real-life location (if you allow it) to make you feel like you are your local community's chief ghostbuster.
"The game blends together some of the most interesting features available in mobile gaming," Sharma says. "Augmented reality introduces virtual objects into a real-world environment as seen through your camera, and players will also use their GPS to find and catch local ghosts."
This would mean very little if the gameplay itself was too simple, mind - the initial appeal might wear thin if no thought had gone into the controls and how the ghosts are caught. Sharma emphasises that this is not the case.
"Players will need to use their accelerometer and gyroscope to blast and then steer ghosts into a virtual ghost trap for containment and collection - this is a game that pushes your mobile device to its technical limits."
If you're all alone, pick up the iPhone (or iPad)
You don't just wander around a map and blast ghosts aimlessly, of course. In the game, you have to complete levels to progress - with the challenges in each one usually different from the last.
"The missions - or calls to answer - always revolve around a different objective," Sharma explains. "Some utilise the LBS feature and motivate players to explore their surroundings, like 'Bust a ghost at a Hotel, Coffee House, or Museum', whereas others are aimed at improving the busting skills of the recruits, like 'Bust a ghost with 70% accuracy' or 'Survive ten battles in a row.'"
The transparent fiends you set out to capture are a varied bunch, too. Slimer is present as you'd expect, but a fair number of other spirits - including completely new ghouls – are hell-bent on making your life a misery, as well.
"Each one of the 15 ghosts contained within this first version of the game has unique qualities," Sharma says. "Some have high stamina and are tough to stun, and others make a lot of fuss while you're trying to trap them and make it feel like you have a big fish on the hook of your device."
"The one thing about Ghostbusters is that ghosts keep showing up from time to time, so there will be lots of different paranormal activity to take inspiration from."
Unless you just want some more
Are there any updates planned to help expand on the game's concept, though? Sharma isn't ready to cross the information streams just yet on that, but is keen to know your thoughts.
"Since user feedback plays a huge role in what we decide to add to updates, we ask for a bit more patience until we're able to get enough insight into what the fans really enjoy and want to see more of in Ghostbusters Paranormal Blast 1.1," Sharma explains.
"What you can definitely count on is that each update will be chock-full of new content and gameplay."
In terms of the possibility of the game haunting Android, Sharma doesn't rule it out.
"We built Ghostbusters Paranormal Blast using an engine that allows us to port the title to other formats. Our strength is in developing for iOS, though, so we will gather the feedback from our fans there and do a port or a major update in the future."
Ghostbusters Paranormal Blast is available on the App Store now, and costs 59p / 99c [iTunes link].
Please note that the game is only playable on iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, the fourth-generation iPod touch, iPad 2, and the new iPad.