Ghost on the Shore is a narrative based adventure of a young woman named Riley as she finds herself shipwrecked on a mysterious island. She is haunted by the voice of a ghost named Josh, who seems to have been a former inhabitant of the island a long time ago. They travel together, exploring the island and uncovering its mysterious past as well as figuring out how Josh passed away.
The game is essentially a walking simulator. You just walk around the island in a fairly linear path and interact with objects while voice acted dialogue plays over the game play. The strength of these type of games depend on how appealing the narrative is and Ghost on the Shore does a fairly fantastic job with it.
The story builds up at a nice, slow pace giving plenty of time for the player to get acquainted with the island and all of its previous inhabitants. You explore each picturesque area thoroughly, gleaning tidbits of information from photographs, old newspaper clippings, letters, cassette tape recordings, and general household items strewn about.
As you slowly learn about the islands, Riley and Josh grow acquainted with each other as well. There are multiple character threads to follow and they all slowly weave together to form a full picture of what really transpired on the islands.
The game feels pretty immersive to play except for some minor hiccups at the beginning. Since Riley is a fully developed character, I didn’t really relate to how she acted in the very beginning of the game, especially the disbelief at her current situation and being a bit too rude to Josh. Since I couldn’t be in the game’s world vicariously through her, it did break a little of that immersion. I couldn’t pick choices that reflected what I would have done in that situation. That was not the case as the game progressed and I became more acquainted (and invested) with all of the characters.
The slow and deliberate pacing of the narrative was a pleasant surprise. The game gives you enough time and space to get to know all the characters and their stories and gives the narrative a chance to build up properly. The slow pace is a bit of a risk as some gamers may be turned off or loose interest before anything of note happens but I appreciate the delivery of the narrative.
The voice acting performances are fantastic as well. The banter between Riley and Josh feels real and believable. They’re having an actual conversation instead of the dialogue being a thinly veiled attempt at just simply narrating events to the player.
Overall, Ghost on the Shore is a walking simulator that managed to capture my interest. The slow and careful build up of the narrative along with the playful and believable banter between Riley and Josh won me over.