Google’s Halloween-themed doodle went live on Tuesday and it just so happens to be a competitive multiplayer game, of all things, called Trick-or-Treat: The Great Ghoul Duel.
We put some time into Trick-or-Treat: The Great Ghoul Duel and found the game to be quite fun, good as a casual distraction and competitive time-sink alike.
The bright colours, good-natured competition, and charming atmosphere are reminiscent of Nintendo’s family-friendly paint-based shooter, Splatoon. Players are split into two teams of cute, cartoon ghosts, and are tasked with collecting “spirit flames” scattered around the map and delivering them back to their team’s base.
The controls are simple: Move around the screen with the arrow keys or with your mouse, and float over spirit flames to pick them up. As you collect spirit flames, they will form a tail behind you. The more you collect, the higher your awarded points will be when you return to base. However, your trail of spirit flames can be stolen by enemy players, and becomes easier to intercept as it grows longer.
Still, it’s best to try to deliver as many spirit flames at a time as possible. As you rack up points, you’ll unlock special bonus abilities, such as speed boosts or the ability to fly through walls unobstructed — as any good ghost should. These bonuses can help eke (or would it be eek in this case?) out a win in close matches.
We’ve found the best strategy to be waiting near the center of the map between both goal zones and swiping the opposition’s spirits at the last minute. This will put you in good proximity to both the enemy team’s base and your own so you can retreat if necessary.
While it’s a good solid offensive strategy, if you’re less inclined to take on other players one-on-one, head towards zones where few players — even your own teammates — happen to be. If you’re lucky, you’ll be free to collect a large cache of spirit flames to turn in without much interference.
Matches in Trick-or-Treat: The Great Ghoul Duel are snappy, lasting just two minutes. This means you’ve gotta act fast — if waiting around to nab the other team’s spirit flames isn’t working, then head out there and collect as much as possible.
Players are recognised for their performance at the end of each match, showered with accolades such as “most spirit flames held at end of the match.” These are purely ceremonial and don’t confer any real gameplay benefits, but there are some funny ones to collect, and it incentivizes playing repeated matches beyond just competition.
The short time limit on each round makes it easy to get in one or two quick matches without wasting much time, though it’s also just as easy to hit “play” over and over again and rematch your foes for hours.
You can play Trick-or-Treat: The Great Ghoul Duel by clicking on the ghostly Google logo that is currently displayed on Google’s homepage.