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Phantom Abyss

Phantom Abyss

Team WIBY's asynchronous multiplayer game is shedding its Early Access tag, but what does that mean for the already excellent core experience?

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18 months ago, Team WIBY launched its latest project into Early Access. Known as Phantom Abyss, the multiplayer title drew the attention of tons of fans as its engaging and fluid temple-exploring platform-heavy gameplay hit all the right marks when it came to offering up an Indiana Jones-like thrill. It's been over a year and a half since then and the developer has been steadily improving and expanding the game to the point where it is finally ready to shed the Early Access tag and make its arrival as a 1.0 and 'complete' title.

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What does this really mean for Phantom Abyss' sake, you ask? Well, simply put it means more mechanics, harsher and more complex traps, a greater variety of levels, additional abilities and modifiers to apply, and even more game modes that challenge the way this title is fundamentally played. But despite all of this, the core of Phantom Abyss remains. The idea of loading into a deadly and hostile temple to evade enemies, survive and avoid traps, and to race to and claim a relic at the end of said temple all before another asynchronous player manages to do so is still preserved in its simplistic brilliance.

Whether you're sliding under spiked bars, leaping over bottomless chasms, using your whip to pull you up enormous heights, or simply sprinting past traps or enemies that can spell instant death, the core framework of Phantom Abyss is virtually the same as what it was 18 months ago. That's not a knock in any sense however, as Team WIBY nailed what this game needed to be from the get-go, and has since bolstered it further with more ways to play, additional challenges, and a tighter performance - not that the game ever really played badly in the first place.

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So, what has actually changed here then? Essentially, the main differences between the Early Access and 1.0 builds come in how Phantom Abyss' whips work and how you experience the gameplay. It's not as rudimentary as Temple Run now. What I mean is that when you load into the game, it's not just about running for your life until you make it to the end goal, no, now you have to choose a specific game mode to play first. The choice of game modes will determine what kind of whip you have to use, what kinds of challenges you'll have to overcome, the number of ghost players that will be present, and arguably most importantly, what kinds of rewards you get if you're successful and manage to get your mitts on the relic at the level's end. Add to this additional whip tweaks that make them less frustrating to use, and also further ways to acquire cosmetic skins for your tools.

Phantom Abyss
Phantom AbyssPhantom Abyss

Essentially, don't expect to find a revamped or a completely new Phantom Abyss experience with this 1.0 update, because that isn't what this is. Instead, what you'll find is simply an upgrade and slight improvement to various aspects and parts of the entire framework that constitutes what Team WIBY created in the first place. If you've never played Phantom Abyss before, now is the perfect time to check it out, and likewise if you haven't played since early in the EA launch, there's a reason to return to it again. But, if you've been routinely playing this game for the past 18 months, you'll likely be a little disappointed that the 1.0 debut didn't come with a bit more meat on its bones, if you will.

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08 Gamereactor UK
8 / 10
+
Preserves excellent core gameplay. Brilliantly fun. Easy to pick up and enjoy.
-
Feels a bit lacking for a 1.0 update.
overall score
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