It only makes sense that Ghostrunner would dominate PAX East 2020, considering that All in! Games’ (with some development support from 3D Realms) latest originally made its debut at PAX South last month. But little did we realize just how hardcore an effort would be waiting to hook its players.

A combination of Mirror’s Edge and Ninja Gaiden with a little bit of Hotline Miami‘s one-hit-one-kill mantra thrown in, Ghostunner is a game that will challenge you at every turn. We would know, since each time we tried to run through, we found something new to wipe us out. Fortunately, this is part of the game’s learning process – and once you get hooked, you’ll be looking for new ways to dominate your prey. We talked with the developers at One More Level about how it all came together.

Be afraid of this ghost

In Ghostrunner, you play a stealthy warrior on a mission to eliminate a target that was responsible for the death of someone you tried to protect. The only catch, however, is that they’re in a highly fortified tower, nearly impossible to reach. Luckily for you, you’re a ninja. As such, you can wall run and grapple your way through the vast environment waiting for you within the game. Not to mention that time is literally on your side.

Ghostrunner Kill

That means that you can temporarily stop time for a second or two when you jump into the air. This is vital because of the whole one-hit-one-kill rule. If an enemy shoots you, you’re dead and have to start all over from scratch. However, while you’re in slo-mo, you have the ability to dodge attacks in mid-air. From there, you can dash towards an opponent and turn them into sashimi – before worrying about your next opponent.

Ghostrunner‘s dashing technique is not only helpful for zooming towards enemies. You can also use it to give you an extra boost across ledges and platforms. This is especially useful if something is outside of reach. You’ll acquire a grapple rope, too, which can snag onto certain points and let you reach areas otherwise beyond your grasp.

There’s also parkour to use to your advantage. For instance, you can slide down ramps to gain speed, a useful ability when it comes to speeding up on awaiting enemies. There’s also the ability to wall run, which you can chain together across walls to reach new heights and get to faraway ledges. Combine these abilities with sliding (which also helps you get under pipes and other objects), and there’s no mountain you can’t climb.

More than one way around

And, of course, there’s the joy of taking out enemies. Your sword is your guide as you turn gunrunners into something outside of a meat shop. It’s just a matter of getting close enough and chopping them up. Your slo-mo is helpful in this regard, along with being able to dodge bullets. Combining your abilities goes a long way here.

Not only that, but there’s also the areas themselves. The levels are vast, and they actually give you more than one route to get to enemies. This is especially useful if you keep dying going one way.

For instance, one stage forces you to go towards an enemy who can see you coming from a mile away. You could just do the dodge thing and take him out, but then you’re within range of other opponents. By taking a different route (involving wall running and a slight element of surprise), you can find a much safer – though still challenging – route to the end goal. Experimentation goes a long way in Ghostrunner.

Not to mention how well the game is designed. Ghostrunner runs very smoothly at 60 FPS, for the most part. And the visual effects are stunning, especially when slo-mo kicks in. You can see bullets cruise by you at a slow pace, giving you more time to react and dodge them.

A hell of a time

You can check out the trailer below to get an idea of what Ghostrunner is all about. The game will arrive later this year, and you can currently wishlist it on Steam. Just bring your A-game for this one, because otherwise, you’ll end up being the ghost.

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