Ghostlore (Steam) (not available on GOG)
This indie hack’n’slash was designed by just 2 people and it totally floored me.
One of the quirks of Ghostlore is that it’s based on Southeast Asian folklore, Singaporean to be precise. This lore was new to me and found it fascinating.
One other thing I like about Ghostlore is the Pixel Art. I love to play a hack’n’s with good ol’ pixels. I played Chronicon -and enjoyed it- but the character design never clicked with me, the “Chibi” style turns me off for some reason. Whereas in Ghostlore, sprites are more true to life and detailed, I really care for them. Finally I felt the “visual pollution” in Chronicon was too much for me. Visuals are more refined in Ghostlore.
They are 6 Classes in Ghostlore, you choose your second Mastery at level 15 and unlock your Third Mastery at level 30.
Granted Ghostlore doesn’t have the complexity, the itemization neither the end-game content galore of Grim Dawn/Chronicon, buy oh boy does it deliver. My first character was a “Feral”: you can turn into a Weretiger with this class! And believe or not, I had more fun playing a Wertiger in Ghostlore than playing a Druid in Diablo 2 LoD! The Druid was my main in D2 and I enjoyed it for more than a decade! Quite frankly the wertiger is almost OP.^^ Mobbing with this class is absolutely exhilarating.
As a veteran player, one thing I like to do is to peruse the full changelog of my favorite hack’n’slash, so I can scrutinize the evolution of the game. On a sidenote, with the Grim Dawn changelog this has become a time-consuming thing to do: indeed the GD changelog has reached the size of the Encyclopedia Britannica! wink.
Joke aside, I’ve said it already here: hack’n’slash games are some of the most demanding when it comes to patching. Coming back to Ghostlore, reading the full changelog from day one –when it was in early access- to the marvel it has become today is a joy beyond compare. These devs – just two remember- do listen to their fanbase. Here’s the Ghostlore changelog if you’re curious: Ghostlore Patch Notes (Steam)
I’ll leave you to discover the “Glyph” system: Stat modifiers that you put on a grid like Tetris. Not only it’s a fun gameplay mechanics, what matters it that it really works. For the record, the Glyph alphabet is not really Asian. It was actually invented by a woman who then made it available for the public domain.
Icing on the cake: just like Diablo 2 maps are procedurally generated. This is a big plus for me.
Since a certain update, you can now choose from 13 languages (English, French,…). The devs are perfect English speakers, so dialogues are well written, no Engrish spotted.
I can’t recommend this game enough, it has that solid Art Direction and the kind of gameplay mechanics that keeps you coming back. Music/sound design are good too. You know that feeling, right? When a game grips you so much you can’t stop playing it. Ghostlore is that kind of sweet hack’n’slash, and it’s short. By the way, the game is a commercial success.
One final Tip before I leave: on your first playthrough, you might think you’re losing coins (the main currency in Ghostlore) instead of gaining some. It’s not a bug:
the diminishing coins you see in the lower left part of the trade screen are those of the merchants!,
whereas your coin counter is located in upper right corner of your screen, just above your inventory, you’ll notice every time you sell something, this counter will go up, as expected.