When I first heard about a multiplayer Ghostbusters title headed to Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, I'll admit I was a little ecstatic. Then an assortment of videos and screenshots started trickling in and my excitement waned a little, but it was still there. Then I finally got the chance to experience the game first-hand and that's when my worries came true. Sanctum of Slime has some serious issues. Let's dive in.
After investing a few hours into the game, I couldn't shake the feeling that Sanctum of Slime would be better suited for an arcade cabinet where a few bored souls could sink a few quarters into until they'd had their fill. There's no story here, no interesting characters or dialogue, it doesn't look good, it's unbearably short, and the only good thing about it, the multiplayer, is ruined by the fact that I wouldn't recommend this to any of my friends. It's just not fun.
Even for an arcade game it looks dated. Now I'm not saying it looks ugly, it just doesn't have the visuals to make it appealing in any way. It straddles the uncomfortable line between pseudo-realism and cartoony graphics, failing to gain a foothold in either area. The fact that there's a healthy amount of environment recycling doesn't help matters since I didn't enjoy traversing a room once so why would I ever want to return to it?
The combat isn't bad. In fact, it's taken a page from Geometry Wars’ book in that you direct your character with one stick while aiming and firing are carried out with the other. It's simple, intuitive and easy enough to wrap your mind around, no matter how many video games you play. Add to this the aforementioned cartoony style and non-existent story and you have yourself a great throwaway game for a weekend. Sanctum could also be a decent game to play with a child, just don't go into it looking for too much depth or enjoyment (and make sure you put it on Easy difficulty).
Sadly, the game is basically comprised of a series of arenas where you and three others (controlled by other players or the computer) go from room to room vanquishing waves of ghosts the game throws at you. You can also cause all sorts of chaos in the mostly destructible environments to get more points and find hidden items.
The boss fights end up turning the game into more of an endurance test than a game really, as your sole goal is to keep your beam of energy on the boss (and whatever minions it throws at you) until the thing's ready to be sucked up in that handy ghost box. The addition of instant kills the bosses have get annoying, but the frustration is padded by how easy it is to revive downed allies.
Outside of climbing up the leaderboards or finding every hidden item, there's little reason to return to the game once you've played through it once. The four characters you can choose from don't provide any unique abilities or stories, and it's largely a linear affair (no side quests or anything of that nature). Sadly, in the end there's little reason for Ghostbusters fans to check it out since it brings nothing nostalgic to the table and it's just not good enough to reel in newcomers. However, if you're stuck babysitting some incredibly annoying kids this might be a good way to keep them entertained for a few hours, or better yet, you could make them play the game as punishment.