I try my best to avoid a lot of indie titles. Not because of the overall quality but because there are so bloody many! I want to get my hands on most but really haven’t the time or more importantly …the funds. Enter Phantom Trigger, another TinyBuild published title. Developed by Bread Team which have no affiliation with the carb heavy physics marathon that is, I Am Bread.
What drew me towards Phantom Trigger (or PT for short) was the neon art style, reminiscent of Dungeon of the Endless with a squared off level design similar to classic gaming way back in the day and the story it wants to tell.
“Stan is losing control. The phantom realm brings arcane hexes into a pulsing neon reality, where demons fight in packs and use every trick they have to break your defence. Throw spells and traps mid-combo, ride the edge of control and chaos in this fresh take on action combat. You are your own worst enemy in Phantom Trigger.”
You are Stan, an he looks like a typical bloke getting ready for work in the morning chatting with his wife, a bit of banter over breakfast and what not. Stan takes a nasty (visually hilarious) face plant to the floor mid conversation and the screen blacks out. That’s when we meet the alter-ego The Outsider, its difficult to explain this geezer without giving away some juicy part of the plot.
The Outsider lives within Stan’s head and is persistent battle with Stan’s subconscious and the characters created within. Early on its unclear whether the whole things is a figment of imagination, that none of it is real and its all just Stan’s way of coping with his newly diagnosed illness, or if it’s schizophrenia. or its some thing more …mystical.
Stan spends most of his time in a hospital bed, the doctor’s office or the psychologists and having arguments with his missus about his refusal to surgery. Meanwhile The Outsider scrapes away the boundaries between realities in a fast paced slasher with a deep combo system, fighting against swarms of demons and four big bosses. Particularly liked the third boss, its got a bit of a twist and may take a few attempts to work out what your doing wrong and not being able to damage him.
In the subconscious you have an accomplished brawler mixing the right amount of enjoyable and rewarding play with a hearty amount of frustration. Expect a few rage quits here and there, maybe a little shouting at the screen, toys out of the pram, …wondering if your monitor would look better between the jaws of a George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine (we are not sponsored – I’m just hungry).
Three weapons to master; a green whip, blue sword and red …magic-y fist things. All of which level up as you use them in a standard RPG fashion and at specific ranks unlock new skills and combos. It feels like a bullet hell shooter without the shooting and more dodging, zipping in close to smack something up …before zipping back out again.
There are collectables along the way, mostly mementos of Stan’s relationship with his wife – a scrappy movie ticket, a photo of the couple. Other items are used to kill the other characters, the other aspects created by Stan’s subconscious that are there to help you understand what’s doing down and offer advice, but usually offer some pointless natter – poisoning the Rabbit for example.
Why kill off those wanting to assist me? I hear you say in an Australian accent (Neighbours is on the other telle while I’m writing). Well, I’m not telling you. There are four alternate endings and you’ll have to connect the dots along five different mindscape worlds and the branching story yourself and it really pays off to explore everywhere for the collectables.
Phantom Trigger mixes slasher, RPG and rogue-like genres, totes a rich combo system incorporating fire and ice attacks/spells into your typical button bash. Roughly 5 hours of gameplay on your first play through – it took much less on my second run. It’s polished and smooth however it fell into the old rushed translation faff trap. You know, when they don’t put too much effort in making sure its makes sense in English (see above image). Adventurate!
OVERALL: 6.3/10 – AVERAGE
Reviewed by Michael Jones.
(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a review copy of Phantom Trigger, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)