Phantom Trigger is one giant step down memory lane for a person like myself, a 30 year old gamer who finds himself trying everything new….but this game…well brings me down some nostalgic memories in what they call a Neon Slasher. What I enjoyed most about this game was the music, sound effects, and art style. It does an exceptional job creating a freaky atmosphere while dragging you from area to area. Numerous times, I continued to feel like I was watching Stranger Things.
First the foremost, this game is your retro-esque game (Neon Slasher), that reminds me of my brief time in HYPER-LIGHT DRIFTER, but it hooked me right from the start. Without spoiling the story, the man you see in the trailer, Stan, is dealing with an illness and it is affecting his life. The story is pretty interesting, and with Hellblade’s release, and companies trying to deal with mental health…I would say this is doing the same thing but in a very interesting way. The idea is your character is the “Chosen-One” and must defeat 4 bosses to help save “people” in the “OtherSide” (Upside Down – Stranger Things anyone?)
The game will not hold your hand, nor really explain what to do besides meeting interesting characters who give you vague hints, much like Zelda: Breath of the Wild. You will find items, and truly not understand why you have them until you meet the specific person who needs said item.
The leveling system is pretty simple, yet once again…no one is walking you through this. Though much like Zelda or Bloodborne….I was hooked. I wanted more, hell I needed more!
As you make your way through levels, screen static occurs and more of the story unfolds before your eyes, and you will begin to put together what is going on.
My fear when I started the game was are the enemies going to be ultimately the same? Each level maybe a little different?
What I learned was this wasn’t the case, it is similar but they put a unique spin and quirks on enemies. The levels will challenge you with puzzles, but nothing super complicated…more like a memory test of specific patterns and using specific weapons to unlock doors.
My love for this game truly is in the sound effects and combat, it is hard to explain but each weapon has it’s own specific synthesizer noise and when you create your own symphony in combat, nothing is sweeter. You are equipped with a sword, a whip, and iron knuckles. Your character is able to whip specific items and launch them at your enemy, and much like Night Crawler teleport around the map to create vicious combos.
One of my favorite moments was when you reach specific areas, they will lock you into small “arenas” and you must defeat all enemies. In this one situation, I felt like an immortal. I was able to teleport around the room, whip various items at my enemies, or whipping enemies closer to me and in one flawless swoop defeated the horde of monsters attacking me.
Overall the game is difficult and starts you playing on hard mode, with the ability to switch down to “Normal.” Even in normal, you will be challenged, but the game is not unforgiving. There is multiple check points within a map which allows you to regenerate your health, and honestly most times begin not to far to from you death location. After each death, I was not frustrated to the point of quitting but more upset at myself for being impatient..or maybe creating an ego and thinking I could take out more than I truly could. I would than hit “restart” and begin my next run with a fresh tactic in my mind, much like I did in Bloodborne.
Note: There is an opportunity to play couch CO-OP but I was unable to do so in my play through. So I can not say if it makes enemies more difficult or add more for you to battle? After some investigation online, I learned you and your partner will share the same health bar. I have no experience or could give a valid impression on this.
Though Phantom Trigger doesn’t do anything new, and sometimes the combat can feel repetitive it brings a solid and dark story to the Nintendo Switch, paired with fantastic music and sound effects. You will find yourself at times frustrated, but in my instance, I had an itch to want to re-try it.
I recommend this game for anyone who is a fan of HYPER LIGHT DRIFTER or your typical dungeon crawler. My only wish is that they added more complex puzzles to mix up the pace of the game. It is a great addition to have on your Switch, and the game would be a great travel companion on flights, busses, or however you may be traveling.
DEVELOPER: Bread Team
RELEASE DATE: August 10th, 2017 (Switch)
AVAILABLE ON: PC (STEAM) & Nintendo Switch
DISCLAIMER: THIS GAME WAS PROVIDED BY THE PUBLISHER FOR REVIEW PURPOSES