Delve into the deepest depths of sanity in the new arcade roguelike game Phantom Trigger. You play as a man named Stan who is battling a mysterious disease and must undergo treatment to save your own life. In the “other location” a neon stranger has arrived into a land of despair where you are expected to die shortly after arrival. But could you be the mysterious hero only hinted at in legend? Only time will tell as you continue your journey in this weird world.
Phantom Trigger is available on Steam and the Nintendo Switch.
Stan lives a very unsure life. Will this day be normal or will something happen? Well, one day he awakes to find out that his health is deteriorating further and he will soon die. He has three options, let himself die with no treatment, get surgery, or he could undergo experimental treatment which has very high chances of success but there will be no way to tell unless it is started. In a different “world” a neon warrior arrives in a land suffering from despair and depression.
The first creature you meet offers simple words which is that of anyone who comes here usually dies pretty quickly. Quite the hope inspiring words. There are other people here who will help, well not really, in your journey to get to the end of this world. Will Stan’s treatment help him to survive his disease? Is this neon hero the hero of legend? The full story unravels revealing the connections as you beat each boss and pass through each dungeon
The game has some issues with its story as it's not the main focal point of the game. Yes, the story offers some interesting twists but it isn’t something awe inspiring or new. It feels like it has taken a couple of different game stories, found the duct tape, and put them together and slapped a label onto it calling it brand new. That’s not to say the story was horrible because it wasn’t. Many other games have much worse storytelling up to the point of having no story at all.
This game is just obviously made to show off its gameplay and not to show storytelling prowess like that of The Last of Us. While lacking with a new and captivating story the game also has some issues with developing the characters. At no point did I feel that the characters mattered nor did I care about the fate of any of them. I didn’t find myself hoping Stan would survive or if the character was the hero.
What would you expect from a game based on classic arcade games? Would it be that of something with a few buttons and simple gameplay? If the answer is yes to that then you are in the completely wrong game. This is a game of combo’s, skill, and difficulty.
Did you think Dark Souls was hard and frustrating? Then don’t play this game. This is the type of game that starts on hard difficulty and the only way to choose the difficulty is to go into the menus and change it to “normal”, which by any other game standards is hard as hell. Any mistake or frame miss and you might as well and call it over. When I felt the idea to try this on hard I felt myself almost smashing my computer for not seeing the correct frame to counter the enemy. One of the issues that I had with this game was that of it feeling more like a frustratingly hard game instead of something like Dark Souls that even if you're bad you can still make it somewhere in the game from just farming simple minions and getting your level up.
This game does have a leveling system, but it's not like normal leveling. In this game when you level up its by using one of the three fighting types. Light attacks which are fast hitting but deal less damage, heavy attacks which deal more damage and can knock enemies down but using them feel worthless as the enemy can attack you in the time it takes to finish the frames of a heavy attack, and, what I like to call the Scorpion grab which pulls enemies to you but deals no damage. As you level each up any normal person would expect them to do more damage or at least do something like refill your health, but that’s considered taboo in this spectacle of difficulty. Nope, the only thing leveling up each style does is allow for new combos to be learned which only apply if you level each style up to a certain point.
On the note of the game's incredibly challenging difficulty, the game is so hard to figure out that it took me a few minutes to figure it out. There is no tutorial, the developers must have been thinking that tutorials were for losers when they decided to make this because it contains nothing to follow. This wouldn’t be such an issue to me if the game didn’t feel like it was made to really only be played with a joystick or controller. This part of it just irritated me to such a point because having to pay for the game is one thing but where it is out on Steam I would expect to feel like the game is more comfortable with a mouse and keyboard. I shouldn’t feel like I have to go out and buy a controller to play this. Luckily I had a PS4 controller lying around and set it up to work for the game and it turned into such a blast of a game. I didn’t think the difference would be so big but playing with a controller made me feel like I actually had a chance of beating the game.
The combat system within the game is almost as frustrating as the game itself at the start. Learning how to properly fight in this game is such a challenge I almost put it down, but, to anyone who decides to try this game once you figure the combat out and start to explore with it is so relieving how efficient and satisfying the combat is. You feel like a hero with what you can do with the fighting styles.
This kind of follows into the same issue as missing a tutorial as it just chucks you into the combat and expects you to know how to function and perform perfectly. Along with the hard to learn combat system each world offers differing and increasingly more challenging enemies which make you rethink everything you may try against them with combat. Something that helps to alleviate this frustration is that of the enemy animations which can be viewed and learned to figure out how to counter them in combat and eventually win the good fight.
Graphics & Audio
The menu offers the most for audio in this game and it is such a disappointment where it is obvious the music is done so well. The issue with it is that there are 2 main music tracks, the menu, and the in-game music.
Each zone offers different music but it is only a slight variation from the overall in-game music that it becomes repetitive and caused me to have a headache from hearing it repeat and repeat. Combat is the same as there are three music tracks which are altered to offer some difference. This isn’t as big of an issue as the game is an arcade style so the music is expected, it just seemed like a waste as the depth and design of the tracks are masterful and it is easily obvious that the developer cared greatly about them being perfect.
The graphics are incredible in this game. Straight to the point on that, the menu is designed perfectly to offer a glimpse of what you will see in the game. Even though the graphic style is chosen of that of something from an arcade of the origins of games each and every pixel is expertly placed and chosen to convey a beautiful picture to look at as you play the game. Each and every animation that is done is put together so strategically that each animation is solid and there is no frame skipping which was a very important task for this game which relies on each frame being solid and easy to see.
Overall this game is that of something put together by a team of two which is an impressive feat in and of itself. This is one of the things to keep in mind while looking at it. This isn’t to say that it shouldn’t be held to the current standards of gaming, it is actually to state that this was put together so well by a team of two that it looks like it was made by a small studio team. The game also offers a lengthy game to sink your hooks into which can run for at least 7 hours. It has its flaws and its traits and they both combine to make a very impressive game very much worth your time put into it.
|+ Good Combat||– Repetitive Music|
|+ Great Graphics||– Expected To Own Accessories|
|+ Good Length||– Boring Story|
|– Zero Tutorial|