Ghost Stories ($5.99) by Repos Production is a complex iPad adaptation of the classic board game Ghost Stories.
The app retains all the difficult gameplay of the original, making the transition from cardboard to code with grace -- the graphics are stellar, the gameplay is rich, and the multiplayer capabilities are party-ready.
Ghost Stories is a cooperative board game in which all the players must work together to fight a supernatural evil haunting the village. To do so, players will have to exorcise the ghosts that haunt the fringe of the board, making use of special abilities, Tao dice, and unique power-ups.
There’s a lot of depth to Ghost Stories. To combat demons, players must make use of Tao cards, or special abilities acquired by playing the game. Each corresponds to a specific ghost, aiding in that specter's exorcism. This lends the game a mechanic that’s incredibly complex, and very engaging.
The fun doesn’t stop there, though: The game also adds Yin-Yang tokens, which allow the player to request help from the villagers. Each villager, it’s worth noting, comes with their own unique ability that must be learned. Meanwhile, Qi points count each player’s vitality, and if this number reaches zero, it’s game over. Users can also use Power Tokens to move farther each turn.
All in all, Ghost Stories is an incredibly detailed board game for the iPad: almost too much so, in fact. The rules are so complex that the in-app documentation spans a whopping 32 pages.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, Ghost Stories will likely appeal to either fans of the series or fans of hardcore iPad gaming. The game’s steep learning curve make it difficult to master, but very rewarding once accomplished.
There are some features I would have liked to see included, though. Chief among these is support for four players. Currently, Ghost Stories only allows teams of two to play, which is pleasant, but not as great as the original.
Online play with strangers would also have been a nice touch. Furthermore, adding Game Center leader boards and achievements would add even more depth to an already cavernous title.
Players will certainly get their money’s worth out of Ghost Stories. The app costs $5.99 in the App Store, but for that price users can enjoy excellent artwork, an insanely deep gameplay mechanic, and more hours of play than one can shake a stick at. Or a Tao card, for that matter.
At the end of the day, Ghost Stories The Boardgame will please hardcore casual gamers (if that’s a thing) and fans of the series to no end. The steep learning curve won’t necessarily discourage new players, but the game is certainly a thick pill to swallow before any fun can be had.