Midnight Ghost Hunt is the brand new four vs four multiplayer hide-and-seek game, from developer Vaulted Sky Games and publisher Coffee Stain Publishing. Crossing Ghostbusters with the G-Mod fan favourite of old Prop Hunt, Midnight Ghost Hunt pits hunters against ghosts. Players are thrown into short tension filled matches, with the clock ticking down to midnight. However, is this the next title to keep gamers up past midnight? Let’s find out!
Taking up the role of either a hunter or a ghost, players are put into teams of four. With 5 minutes counting down to midnight the hunters have the simple sounding task of locating the ghosts. Well, this isn’t entirely true. When they find them, they then need to also destroy the ghosts, and potentially the thing they have possessed, before vacuuming them up.
Hunters have a whole range of weapons, gadgets and perks to help them accomplish this aim. From the slow firing but scopeable Reaper to the good allrounder spectral cannon, which players start off with, each weapon has its own pros and cons. There’s even a harpoon which will temporarily latch on to a ghost, until the tether breaks. Unless the ghosts are just wandering around hunters may need some gadgets to get the job done. From radar scanners through to spectrophones, there are many ways hunters can try to pinpoint the location of ghosts.
Each hunter can only have one gadget at a time though, so the team will need to work together – else valuable time will be wasted trudging back and forth to the generator to re-equip. Being equipped with the different searching gadgets is only part of the story though, as it can be incredibly helpful to have teammates already there waiting with a vacuum or perhaps a defibrillator for an unfortunately ended fellow hunter. Hunters can also equip a single perk, tailoring the gameplay slightly to the player’s style – be that providing a zonal healing buff or forgoing a gadget to carry two primary weapons (overkill is underrated after all). These aren’t hugely different or super effective perks – though can still swing the match in your favour.
The game isn’t over at midnight though, so why all the rush for the hunters? When the clock strikes midnight the ghosts become more powerful. At this point the hunters become hunted, with 5 minutes to survive before escaping. For the ghosts the first 5 minutes is all about staying hidden and getting to midnight, maybe taking out hunters off on their own – if the opportunity presents itself. Ghosts can possess numerous items around the map. From basketballs in school gyms to gargoyles in a ruined church, these objects can move around and they will have to, as sitting still for too long sees ectoplasm build up and give your location away to hunters. By moving or changing what you possess, the ectoplasm level is reduced.
While ghosts don’t have weapons they do have tricks up their floating sleeves, in the form of abilities, perks and even from fully beyond the grave haunts. From disguising as a hunter to going full poltergeist and setting floating traps, these abilities are a LOT of fun. Much like with the hunters choice of gadgets, ghosts can even work together poltergeisting an object and corrupting it at the same time for additional damage. When ghosts are destroyed they aren’t fully out and left to spectate. Ghosts can haunt from the beyond, throwing radars off and chilling close by hunters – slowing them down momentarily.
Whether the clock hits midnight or not the general aim is to defeat the opposing team. The timings of when the ghosts become stronger, just shifts the balance of play but games can be over in minutes or get nail bitingly close to the very end. Even going the full length, a match of Midnight Ghost Hunt goes for ten minutes and then you’re straight back into the action for the next game, often with roles reversed.
Players don’t instantly have access to many weapons, gadgets, abilities, haunts and perks. These are slowly unlocked over time as players gain ghost shards which are used to unlock things in any order players wish. Each weapon for example costs the same 500 shards to unlock, and past a spot of balancing being needed there are no right or wrong options – just some are situationally better than others. It’ll also take a while to unlock all of the vast array of loadout options, so there’s plenty for players to earn shards for – via general playing and level up rewards.
There’s a lot of fun to be had, jumping online by yourself and being put into a team. Playing with friends, especially as a full team of four, takes Midnight Ghost Hunt to the next level. Regardless of if it’s destroyed ghosts wandering around the map to give updates on hunter locations or just being able to sync up weapons and gadgets makes for more effective hunters and ghost teams alike. Even with just two members of a team partied up allows for this.
Some epic locations set the tone for the game from the spooky theatre and to the “should be safe” museum. Each has its own unique features, from suits of armour, which have a special sword attack, through to small dinosaur models. Even the oddest things in these maps become sort of creepy as they potentially charge towards you. Bet you never thought you’d be running from a possessed plastic duck or poltergeisted paint pot!
Not every game of Midnight Ghost Hunt goes as well as it could. The developers have already released a patch which has improved a number of issues, though some still remain. When up close and personal the game is very fast paced and spikes of lag have been frustrating – though this has occurred less frequently of late. One aspect which would be great to see is a host migration system. Again the patch fixed the issue of lost XP when hosts end a game, but it still takes players back to the main menu, instead of switching the host and letting the next match simply roll on.
Midnight Ghost Hunt takes the fun of prop hunt and by giving it that spooky Ghostbusters twist, takes it to the next level. Whether you’re hiding in a gargoyle or a saucepan, or running after them with a flamethrower going and radar spiking, there is fun to be had. The games are short sharp fun regardless of which team you’re put on, something impressive as these style games often feel like one side is there to almost facilitate the fun of the opponents. Despite a few bugs and hosting issues, this is a ghostly experience everyone should believe in.
(Editor’s Note: Midnight Ghost Hunt was provided to us for the review.)