Pale imitation

reviews, switch eshop

Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

Described by developer Condradical as “Paper Mario + Undertale” on the game’s Kickstarter page, The Outbound Ghost garnered some attention with its aesthetic and gameplay along with its premise: the residents of the town of Outbound all quite suddenly died. Many of them have lingering burdens that keep them from moving onto the afterlife. You initially assume the role of an amnesiac ghost as he explores the town, meeting its spectral residents and uncovering a bit by bit what exactly happened. It sounds grim, sure, but it’s all wrapped up in a cutesy package that never devolves too much into the macabre. The game has finally arrived (though not without drama between Conradical and publisher Digerati) and can be played on a Nintendo platform, as all papery RPGs should.

If you’ve played Paper Mario before, the gameplay loop is quite similar. While exploring the areas around Outbound, touching a malevolent enemy in the overworld will trigger a turn-based battle. In battle you control four of a selection of figments of your own psyche – Solitude, Spite, Comradery, and so on – that manifest themselves as party members. Attacks are reflex-based, with an improperly timed button press resulting in a miss and a perfectly timed one increasing damage.

reviews, switch eshop

Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

There are quite a lot of figments that unlock as you progress, giving you a wide range to choose from when you make up your party of four. Some heal, some focus on attacking multiple times per turn, some spread debuffs like it’s their ghostly day job, but unlike the allies in Paper Mario, these figments have no personality to them.

To mix combat up a little, each figment can ‘Aether Up’ to save its action and attack twice or more in a later turn, and enemies have a stun gauge to fill. Once the battle’s done, it’s off exploring again, picking up dozens of different items scattered about each zone to craft and equip stat buffs and new skills.

Yes, there’s quite a lot of freedom to the combat that we appreciated, though it comes at the cost with some wonky balancing and an oversaturation of skills. We never used quite a lot of figments and even more buff and debuff types – there was simply too much to really keep track of when other strategies worked just fine. Combat felt more like a wide, shallow pond than a deep lake, especially because on normal difficulty, regular enemies rarely posed a threat or required much strategy to defeat. On harder difficulties, they became a gruelling pain to defeat.

reviews, switch eshop

Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

Frequent bosses, however, fared better. Some bouts end up being lengthy battles of attrition as one of your early figments can replenish the resource used for skills in order to heal ad nauseum. Quite a few other bosses allowed us to think up some clever tactics to speed up the process. For example, a boss near the end of the first chapter had one giant mushroom poisoning our ghastly party and the other attacking us thrice each round. As poison deals damage per action, we poisoned the attacking mushroom back, defended, and healed until it defeated itself, then carefully took care of the poisoning mushroom baddie once the other wasn’t a threat. On the whole, we found ourselves avoiding regular battles where we could — especially because loading into them took several seconds — while looking forward to some of the boss fights.

The gameplay outside of battle fares about the same. A barebones minigame to pick locks functions as the only other diversion aside from finding hidden items behind bushes and lighting the odd torch to open up a path. Rarely did we feel rewarded for exploration, since most of the items we found were for crafting, but sometimes we stumbled upon a pleasant little vista that showcased some nice setpieces.

The Switch, however, doesn’t do these scenic spaces justice: the entire game has a fuzzy, low-res sheen over it that is quite apparent when comparing to PC footage, made worse when undocked as the skill menu text is often too blurry to read clearly in battle. The music, on the other hand, did an overall great job at setting a whimsical, adventurous mood.

reviews, switch eshop

Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

We wouldn’t mind the drawbacks too much if The Outbound Ghost gave us a serviceable story to keep us invested. While the premise did grab our attention initially, the story quickly meandered and lost it. For much of the game, you chase an angry little ghost called Adrian who may or may not have answers to what happened to Outbound. Along the way, a cast of villagers will tag along with you to provide context and push the narrative along. Problem is, there’s so many of these characters – such as Michael the wannabe detective, and a cowardly ghost named Craig – that we never grew attached to any of them. In fact, we began to actively dread meeting new additions to the cast and the ample dialogue that followed. Again, wide and shallow rather than concise and deep.

Each chapter also changes the protagonist you control – from the voiceless amnesiac you begin with to others we won’t spoil, including a new character unlocked post-game – but these continual shifts in perspective and flashbacks took us out of the narrative rather than kept us in it. It felt quite strange to be given a voiceless protagonist and then shift to characters that we didn’t care much about that had established personalities.


Much like a shimmering ghost seen for just a fleeting moment, The Outbound Ghost flirts with taking the corporeal form of a great Paper Mario-style game but it never fully materialises. The heart is definitely there, with some great music and environments to go along with adorable little ghost characters, but a shallow battle system, a meandering narrative, and fuzzy presentation left us wanting in just about every ghostly regard.

The Outbound Ghost

Please note that some external links on this page are affiliate links, which means if you click them and make a purchase we may receive a small percentage of the sale. Please read our FTC Disclosure for more information.


Persona 3 Portable: Nozomi (Moon) social link choices & unlock guide

The Nozomi social link in Persona 3 Portable represents the Moon Acana for the male protagonist, and is one of the rare occasions when the male lead has a harder time of things than the female protagonist – as he has to make considerably more effort with Nozomi. Nozomi ...

View more: Persona 3 Portable: Nozomi (Moon) social link choices & unlock guide

“Part of the Journey Is the End;” Marvel’s Avengers Seems to be Shutting Down

Whether it be purely the lackluster quality of the game or the general distaste for live service games, Marvel’s Avengers never truly found its footing in the two years since it was released. Despite the fact that both the Marvel and Avengers labels should guarantee a happy, comic-lover audience, ...

View more: “Part of the Journey Is the End;” Marvel’s Avengers Seems to be Shutting Down

Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Slim Hub review: A sleek and portable laptop hub

Thunderbolt 4 docks are now much more widely available, meaning that it’s much easier to get a high speed dock that works with your laptop. But unfortunately, while they’re relatively widely available now, they’re still quite expensive. Thankfully, however, that price seems to now be coming down a little through ...

View more: Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Slim Hub review: A sleek and portable laptop hub

Persona 3 Portable: Akihiko (Star) social link choices guide

Exclusive to the female protagonist, the Persona 3 Portable Akhiko Sanada social link offers an opportunity for the player to get to know the main party member even better, and even offers an exclusive romance.  Like any other S-Link, there are a number of reasons to want to spend ...

View more: Persona 3 Portable: Akihiko (Star) social link choices guide

Persona 3 Portable: Mamoru (Star) social link choices guide

Exclusive to the male protagonist’s story, the Persona 3 Portable Mamoru Hayase social link is the Star Arcana S-Link players can foster a relationship with. Much like other S-Links in the game, there are two main benefits to ranking up Mamoru’s S-Link. From a gameplay perspective, you’ll be granted ...

View more: Persona 3 Portable: Mamoru (Star) social link choices guide

Persona 3 Portable: Keisuke (Fortune) social link choices guide

In the male protagonist’s playthrough, Keisuke Hiraga is the social link for the Fortune arcana in Persona 3 Portable. Spending time with Keisuke and improving your S-Link with him will offer benefits to Persona aligned with the Fortune Arcana as well. Beyond the immediate benefits of spending time with ...

View more: Persona 3 Portable: Keisuke (Fortune) social link choices guide

The Minecraft Community Answers the Age-old Question: “Can it Run Doom?”

In the world of gaming, there are many questions gamers ask like, ” What’s the refresh rate,” and, “How is it already 4 AM?” But one is held high above them all, and that is, “Can it run Doom?” This question is usually asked of the most improbable hardware ...

View more: The Minecraft Community Answers the Age-old Question: “Can it Run Doom?”

Mark Hamill Hints That His Time as the Joker Is Over

Legendary actor Mark Hamill, acclaimed for his roles as Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars series and the Joker in Batman media, has recently indicated that he most likely won’t be returning to voice the Clown Prince in future Batman media. This comes courtesy of an interview with Empire ...

View more: Mark Hamill Hints That His Time as the Joker Is Over

Deadpool joins Marvel's Midnight Suns next week, adding new story missions

Chic-Fil-A’s Training Program Apparently Features a Familiar Fallout Face

Nintendo is reportedly increasing Switch production ahead of Breath of the Wild 2

Ex-Halo dev believes those who pushed for a better game ‘got laid off for it’

There are two clear winners in the PSVR 2 launch lineup

Naked Elden Ring Player Counter’s Placidusax’ Attack With Chaotic Results

Amazon Prime Video’s Invincible Season 2 Gets an Official Release Window

Upcoming Horror Reimagines Dracula as an Ancient Blood Goddess Worshipped by a Cult of Hippies

The Callisto Protocol Adds a Highly Requested Game Mode But Takes Away a Helpful Glitch

Scuf Reflex Pro review

Best PS5 games: top PlayStation 5 titles to play right now

Best Nintendo DS games: everything for the handheld you need to play


Top Car News Car News