Ghosts are widely present in various forms of popular culture, spanning from movies and anime to TV shows. They frequently appear in video games as antagonistic entities, such as in the different adaptations of Ghostbusters. However, this raises the question: what about games that allow players to assume the role of a ghost or a spirit?

There are numerous games where players can experience being a ghost firsthand. Whether depicted as a traditional ghost with a bedsheet and eye holes or a fearsome spectral apparition, these ghost games offer a unique perspective. While not all of these games are intended to be scary, they provide an intriguing opportunity to venture into the realm of the supernatural.

1. Avenging Spirit

One example is Avenging Spirit, available both as an arcade game and a Game Boy game. Despite graphical differences, both versions share similar gameplay mechanics. In this lighthearted game with a cartoon-like aesthetic, players are transformed into ghosts after being gunned down. They can then possess enemies, such as gun-wielding mobsters, in different levels. While Avenging Spirit is relatively obscure at present, interested players can rely on emulation to experience it.

Fighting Enemies In Avenging Spirit
 Avenging Spirit

2. Crawl

Another game, Crawl, sets itself apart from Avenging Spirit by offering easy accessibility on most modern consoles. This indie roguelike dungeon crawler focuses on multiplayer gameplay. One player assumes the role of the hero, while three other players embody spirits. These spirits have the ability to possess traps to harm the hero or control monsters. This innovative concept combines the elements of both a ghost game and a multiplayer experience. However, finding a random online multiplayer session for Crawl may prove challenging due to its age, so gathering three other gaming friends is recommended.

Fighting Enemies In Crawl

3. Geist

Geist, an exclusive title for the GameCube, is another noteworthy example. Players take control of John Raimi, whose soul is forcefully extracted by a terrorist organization. Instead of dying, this experiment grants John the ability to possess various objects and individuals, ranging from guards to mops in buckets. Geist pushed the boundaries of the shooter genre and capitalized on the unique capabilities of the GameCube. While it's unfortunate that many of these experiences remain confined to specific hardware, remasters occasionally emerge, making it worth the wait despite the game's imperfections.

Shooting Enemies In Geist

4. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, the game that inspired this list due to its re-release, stands as a remarkable adventure game previously exclusive to the DS. It's commendable that this excellent game can now reach a wider audience. The protagonist, Sissel, is a mysterious man who dies but retains the ability to possess objects, a common trait among the ghosts in this compilation. However, Ghost Trick distinguishes itself as a puzzle game, where solving particular puzzles alters the course of history. Additionally, Sissel possesses the power of time travel.

A Cutscene Featuring Characters In Ghost Trick Pha
 Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

5. Murdered: Soul Suspect

Murdered: Soul Suspect centers around Detective Ronan O'Conner, a tattooed investigator who perishes on duty. Returning as a ghost, Ronan must solve his own murder along with other mysterious deaths in the vicinity. This adventure game pushes the genre's boundaries by allowing players to interact more extensively with the game world, such as examining objects and passing through walls. Furthermore, the presence of Dementor-like spirits reminiscent of Harry Potter adds a peculiar and intriguing aspect to the game. While Murdered: Soul Suspect exhibits an uneven pace and some graphical issues, there are few games similar to it.

A Cutscene Featuring Characters In Murdered Soul S
Murdered: Soul Suspect

6. The Outbound Ghost

The Outbound Ghost, a newer indie RPG heavily influenced by Paper Mario, presents players with a narrative where they awaken in the afterlife as a voiceless ghost. They soon encounter other ghosts willing to assist them on their journey. Players divide their time between solving puzzles in the overworld and engaging in turn-based battles, following the conventions of typical RPGs. Combat involves utilizing stickers collected throughout the game world, and eventually, players can recruit new party members.

6 Exploring The World In The Outbound Ghost
The Outbound Ghost

7. The 3rd Birthday

The 3rd Birthday shares similarities with Geist, as both feature protagonists whose souls are intentionally extracted. In this case, the main character Aya Brea volunteers for the process. The game incorporates elements of time travel akin to Ghost Trick. Set in a disaster-stricken New York, Aya's soul is sent back into a machine, enabling her to possess other bodies since her original form is fragile. Despite a complex development history, The 3rd Birthday is part of the Parasite Eve franchise.

Promo Art Featuring Aya In The 3rd Birthday
The 3rd Birthday

8. Rogue Spirit

The final entry on the list is Rogue Spirit, the most recent game as of 2023, having recently exited early access. Players awaken in a garden as a deceased samurai spirit and gain the ability to possess other warriors in an endless action roguelike game. While the possession mechanics resemble those in other games mentioned, Rogue Spirit offers a fresh Japanese-themed setting. It falls into the category of roguelike games that demand significant time investment to reap greater rewards. With practice, it may become a captivating new obsession for roguelike enthusiasts.

Fighting Enemies In Rogue Spirit
Rogue Spirit

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