Game Review: Ghosts Are Good Hosts (2015, Leonard Pilchin)

Waiting for an invitation to arrive
Goin’ to a party where no one’s still alive
Waiting for an invitation to arrive
Goin’ to a party where no one’s still alive

— Dead Man’s Party by Oingo Boingo, lyrics by Danny Elfman

Last night, you dreamed about going to a party that was being thrown by ghosts.  The next morning, you receive an invitation to just such a party.  Of course, you go.  When you arrive, you meet Annabel, who is not a ghost.  However, the ghosts soon arrive and, once gathered around the table, they look at you with hungry eyes.

As the title of this game states, ghosts are good hosts.  However, they also want to eat you and Annabel for dinner!  Since there’s no way for you to leave the dining room without the permission of your hosts, you’re going to have to talk to the ghosts and somehow win them over.  Not even a ghost would be willing to eat its own friend.

Talk to Corsair, Halle, Kal, and Soul.  It’s not hard.  (All you have to do is point and click and then select what questions you want to ask them.)  Get to know them.  Ask them about each other.  Learn about their stories and compliment them at the right time.  Once you think that you’ve won each ghost over, ask them if they want to be “ghost friends.”  Ask too soon and you’ll get rejected and you might even get eaten.  Ask at the right time and you’ll have a pleasant ghost party and you might even make a living friend out of Annabel.

Ghosts Are Good Hosts is a surprisingly challenging but good-natured TWINE game.  The challenge isn’t finding the right questions to ask as much as it’s asking them in the right order and to the right ghost at the right time.  It’s not easy but it is fun, mostly because each ghost has their own unique story and personality.  Along with the wonderful graphics, the game has a retro feel which will appeal to the nostalgia of every 90s kid who used to play games on a big, bulky personal computer.

Ghost Are Good Hosts can be played here.  If you’re struggling to not get eaten, a walk-through is available here.

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