Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed - Ecto Edition Review - Screenshot 1 of 5
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

If you’re a child of a certain age, you absolutely grew up wanting to strap on a Proton Pack and go bust some ghosts with your friends. There have been plenty of attempts to tap into the nostalgia for Ghostbusters over the years, and, while Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed isn’t the best of the bunch, it is a surprisingly fun multiplayer experience despite its shortcomings.

Switch users are finally getting the chance to step into the iconic firehouse with the Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed's 'Ecto Edition'. This version comes with all of the DLC released for the main game, including extra story content, cosmetics, ghost types, and maps to play on. The game follows an asymmetric 4v1 format, with four player-created Ghostbusters trying to stop the Ghost from fully haunting the location.

The premise is one we’ve seen from countless film tie-ins. You play as a new recruit to the Ghostbusters team and are sent out on jobs to keep the lights on in their firehouse office. Two of the original crew are back to show you the ropes with Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson returning as Ray and Winston, respectively. Once again, spirits are rising all over NYC, something sinister threatens the city from beyond the grave, and only the player can save the day. There aren’t any good twists or turns here.

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed - Ecto Edition Review - Screenshot 2 of 5
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

The Ghostbusters play exactly as you’d expect, with four first-person players running through the map in trying to grapple the ghost with their Proton Pack and lure them into a trap, just like in the movies. Along the way, they can find collectibles on each map and calm civilians to prevent them from fleeing the scene. Teamwork is key here, as it is very tricky to try to throw down a trap and keep the ghost tethered with your Proton Pack.

The particle shooters felt reasonably easy to control with the Joy-Con, though we kept finding ourselves tilting the controller to try to get more precision in our aim, though the game lacks gyro support. For the most part, it was a great deal of fun – despite the cartoonish art style, a lot of care went into recreating the visuals of the films, including the recoil and the way the beams sear into walls as you chase spirits around the map. Even the sequence used to empty a trap into the containment unit at the firehouse office was taken straight from the films.

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed - Ecto Edition Review - Screenshot 3 of 5
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

Meanwhile, the Ghost is played from a third-person perspective and is focused on increasing the haunting level of a map by frightening civilians, haunting objects, and protecting the Ghost Rifts that they use to respawn when trapped. Ghosts can attack players by sliming them or releasing minions but their best course of action is almost always to hide and keep one step ahead of the Ghostbuster team. We found the Ghosts slightly easier to play during our time in Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed Ecto Edition, but both teams are fun in their own ways.

There is certainly more variety in how the spectres play since there are nine different ghost types to unlock, each with variants that give a slightly different experience. We unlocked several and found that there was enough difference to make it worth at least trying different ones out. On the other hand, the Ghostbusters get new cosmetics as you level up and you can upgrade their equipment, but none of these differences felt substantial enough to change the way we played.

There isn’t anything revolutionary in the gameplay here, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t enjoyable. The fact that you can play on your own as either the Ghost or a Ghostbuster, with the other roles being controlled by AI, is a positive, particularly since we couldn’t get the online crossplay feature working so we could play on Switch with those on other consoles. Developer Illfonic has promised that crossplay will be available for Spirits Unleashed, which will require an Epic Store account to access, but at the time of writing it didn’t appear to be working.

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed - Ecto Edition Review - Screenshot 4 of 5
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

Even without crossplay, we never found ourselves waiting very long to join a group. Once a crew of five players is established, they cycle through playing as the Ghost or Ghostbusters. Players can drop out and are replaced with new human players or with AI if no one is available when the match is meant to start. This system was surprisingly smooth – once you’re part of a group you can generally continue playing for as long as you like before returning to the Firehouse to advance the story or upgrade your gear.

Performance-wise, we didn't catch any frame rate problems during gameplay — it's a spookily smooth Switch port — though some issues keep Spirits Unleashed from being the best game in the franchise. Many of the character models are jittery during cutscenes, making them shake from the neck down as they explain the paper-thin and predictable plot. Some odd bugs popped up during matches, too, like a ghost glitching into the floor and becoming impossible to pull out until it won the match by default. These sorts of bugs were rare but frustrating when they occurred.

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed - Ecto Edition Review - Screenshot 5 of 5
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

Still, minor problems were forgotten when we heard the alarm ring and got to slide down the firepole to begin a mission. If you love Ghostbusters and enjoy the 1vsMany gameplay format, then Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed Ecto Edition will scratch an itch you didn’t know existed. Depositing a full trap in the containment unit in the basement gave us an unreasonably giddy smile. It was a completely optional activity that gave us no in-game reward, yet we found ourselves doing it every time.

There are plenty of reasons why Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed shouldn’t work as well as it does. It takes the 4v1 format and slaps a shiny coat of nostalgia on it, holding the mission structure together with the flimsiest of plots. There are technical bugs that pop up in both gameplay and cutscenes as well as some minor balance issues with the game’s structure. And yet, despite all this, it makes up for all those shortcomings with fast-paced, fun matches.


While not quite the best game in the franchise, Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed - Ecto Edition douses its thoroughly serviceable online 4v1 gameplay in positively charged psychomagnotheric nostalgia slime. From small touches in the visuals to snippets of dialogue, the detail and care that has gone into recreating the Ghostbusters’ world here made us forgive the occasional visual glitch and basic, predictable plot. If 'busting makes you feel good, you'll have a great time.