Ghostbusters World isn’t trying to hide what it is — which is pretty much Pokemon Go-stbusters when you get right down to it — but it’s also trying to be a lot more than just a simple reskin. I got a chance to play it at San Diego Comic-Con today, and was impressed by how much it is trying to stand on its own.
The core is undeniably similar: you explore an AR map of your actual surroundings, tapping on different types of ghosts wandering around to battle them with your proton pack and eventually capture them. There are also gates that you can visit for extra items similar to PokeStops.
But catching ghosts isn’t as simple just tossing a ball, and Ghostbusters World reaches further by offering PvP and a story mode when it launches later this year. It also boasts smaller improvements, like using Google Maps data to show 3D buildings on the map around you.
Ghostbusters World has you firing a laser to catch ghosts instead of just throwing balls.
The most immediately noticeable difference (besides the ghosts) is that instead of happily throwing Poke Balls you’re shooting a dang laser. Ghosts have health and attack you with moves you can block and counter. The goal is to keep your aim trained on them and do enough damage until you can deploy a trap.
There are going to be over 150 ghosts in the game at launch, and they range from more classic looking Ghostbusters fair to stranger things like ghost mice and cats, or weird bruting ghosts that almost look a lot like something out of Monster Rancher or Pokemon itself.
Those also feed into Ghostbusters World’s PvP, which… well, it’s basically Pokemon. While much of the translation to this new theme works well, this is an odd spot. You can level up your captured ghosts and then use them to do battle with the ghosts of other players. I don’t exactly remember that in movies, but go figure.
There will also be a Story Mode if you aren’t interested in the PvP, though I wasn’t able to see either of these modes. What I did see was a multiplayer raid fight against the Stay Puft Marshmallow man, which dropped the AR camera in place of a much more traditional boss fight style sequence.
Overall, Ghostbusters World is a strange but fun game that walks the line between knock-off and evolution of Pokemon Go. It’s absolutely trying to do something different, and even bigger, than Pokemon Go, but it’s also hard to imagine it existing without it.
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Tom Marks is IGN’s PC Editor and pie maker. You can follow him on Twitter.