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Phantom Abyss

Phantom Abyss

Is Indiana Jones your favourite action hero? Then look no further.

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Do you remember when you watched Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark for the first time, and you saw the opening scene of Indy navigating an ancient temple that was out to kill him at every single turn. Do you remember that deep longing desire of suddenly wanting to be an archaeologist so you too could go on wild, and completely ridiculous adventures like this. Well, now you can, in Team WIBY's multiplayer temple runner Phantom Abyss.

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Built as an asynchronous multiplayer game, meaning you are playing alongside Phantoms (copies of other players who have failed in their adventuring attempts before you), the idea behind Phantom Abyss is to venture deep into a hazardous, trap-ridden temple to recover priceless artefacts at the end of the path. The really ingenious part about this game is that you only have one shot to complete a temple, before that iteration of the temple is gone forever.

You might be a little concerned by this, but considering each temple is randomly generated with a series of rooms, hazards, traps, chests, just to name a few, each will be substantially different to one another. The reason this design is important is because each relic at the end of a temple can only be won by one player, making the achievement of surviving the many, many, many hazards all that more rewarding.

Phantom Abyss at its core is pretty much a parkour game. Getting through the temples simply requires you to be fleet of foot and quick of mind, as the game isn't challenging per se, but will attempt to kill you often. Since this is the case, the mechanics are straightforward and very easy to just pick up and dive into, and mostly just ask you to run, jump, and slide through the danger in front of you. It's the sort of game where you will probably die a lot over the first hour, but as you understand what you're running into, and become more knowledgeable about what your character can achieve, it becomes significantly easier to get further through each temple.

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To ease the pressure of having to run, jump, and slide your way through all manners of killing mechanisms, you have the option of using a handy whip that can catapult and fling your character across gaps and up to ledges. I'm still not quite sure how cracking a whip can provide enough force to launch a grown human several feet horizontally or vertically, but then again, this is in a videogame where we are perpetually trapped in a temple, fighting spectres for shiny treasures.

Anyway, putting logic aside, what kinds of killing mechanisms will you encounter? If you've seen it in, or thought it should be in an Indiana Jones film, it's probably in Phantom Abyss. From spinning blades to falling platforms, to spiked pendulums and walls that fire lethal blow darts, there really isn't much that doesn't try to kill you, which is why using the Phantoms to your advantage is encouraged rather than lone wolfing your way to the treasure. Despite being in Early Access, Team WIBY has done a pretty stellar job of ensuring players will always be on their toes, because if my experience with this game has taught me anything, it's that when you feel comfortable and confident, that probably means something unexpected is going to send you right back to square one.

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Phantom Abyss is a very engaging game that won't fail to keep you on your toes. The Phantoms system does add a lot to the title, but I can't help but feel like an actual multiplayer mode where you are actually playing against live players would suit incredibly well. There are social aspects that allow you to share the code of a temple to a friend so that they can play temples you've previously failed, but being able to directly compete with friends and other players, would add another level of fun to this already exciting title.

I think Team WIBY has come up with a fantastic idea with Phantom Abyss, and whether you look to explore it today, or in the future, whenever it leaves Early Access, this title won't hesitate to engage you. The core design of the game is built in such a way that, despite only being out on EA for a week or so, I can't wait to see where the future takes this title. Will we be heading to new temples, inspired by other ancient cultures? What kinds of new traps await us down the line? These are all questions I'm excited to find an answer for, but for the time being, endlessly hurling myself into deeply hazardous temples in search of priceless relics is more than enough to keep me, and my longing desire to be like Indiana Jones, coming back for more.

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Phantom Abyss

Phantom Abyss

PREVIEW. Written by Ben Lyons

Is Indiana Jones your favourite action hero? Then look no further.



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