It’s nearly Halloween, and just as surely as the children will dress up as monsters and demand candy, we’ve got a new playable Google Doodle on our hands. This year we’re working with what the search giant is calling “The Great Ghoul Duel.” It’s a competitive multiplayer arcade game that’s likely to neutralize productivity at work today, especially because you can host private games with your co-workers.
Starting it up is easy: just go to Google.com and click on the banner at the top.
Here’s how the game works, on a basic level. You move around with either touch, the arrow keys or the mouse, depending on your platform. It works a little bit like a competitive Pac-Man: you go out into the world and run into blue “spirit flames” to collect them. When you do, they start trailing your character in a long tail. In order for them to count you need to take them back to your base to bank them. You can see the score up at the top.
The more spirit flames you bank, the better bonuses you can get: things like speed boosts and magnetism that increase your collection radius. But be warned, because the longer your tail, the more vulnerable you are. An opponent can snag your spirit flames off the back of your character, and if you’ve got 20+ following you around this can be hard to avoid.
Oddly enough, some of the central pressures and strategies here work somewhat similarly to Gambit, the new mode in Destiny 2’s Forsaken expansion. If I’ve lost you there, don’t worry. In Gambit you kill enemies to gather tokens that you deposit back at a central bank, just like here. And just like here, the central push/pull comes along with how many spirit flames you’ve collected and whether or not you’re going to go home and bank them.
There are some strategies you can use here: you can follow your buddies around and nab the +5 buddy bonus you get from touching their tails and just go deposit that as often as possible. You can also goaltend near the opponent’s base and try to steal their flames as they go to deposit them. That inevitably means you’ve got a long trip back to your own base, however, so use this strategy at your own peril.
Like many games, The Great Ghoul Duel comes down to situational awareness. Try to get a sense of where new spirit flames are being placed by the little blue guy that floats around, as well as where your friends and enemies are. Travelling with buddies earns you bonuses and gives you insurance against thieves, but as a team, you’ll collect fewer flames by covering less ground.
So go out there and get Ghouling. Or Dueling–that makes more sense.