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Review: Phantom Trigger (PC)By Dragon0085 At 11.08.2017 15:34

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Phantom Trigger has a lot of great potential that is largely squandered. Starting off with a great juxtaposition of some regular guy and then a pseudo-afterlife, the story draws players in fairly well, only to set them up with disappointment.

It feels reminiscent of old NES games; there is little direction as to what to do and no help at all. The player is thrown into a dungeon without a single tutorial and sent on their way. Along the way, purely out of trying alternatives, the player will figure out how to attack, dodge, and slowly progress through the crafted dungeons to get to the end.

Unfortunately, a lack of direction, or even a pause menu, is a major detractor. Even playing for hours, it is hard to tell what button combos do the moves being attempted. There is a level-up system that actually unlocks more moves to perform, but other than a flash that lasts for about one second, there is only a very rare screen that shows some of the moves. It is a mystery why something as simple as a pause menu is missing in a game where it is important to know the combos or what items have been acquired.

This brings up the next point that Phantom Trigger has a lot of stuff "almost right" that could actually be pretty fun, but just fails and leaves a sense of frustration everywhere. For example, there are no stat boosts on level-ups, so for the duration of the game, the sword slash will continue to do 20 damage and only new combos get unlocked.

Eventually, rushing through the dungeon will naturally come into play (never a good thing for a game), until hitting the all too frequent sealed rooms where one must fight upwards of twenty enemies that can kill the controlled character very fast.

The story itself is actually really cool, and it is a shame it is hidden behind a game so aggravating. It tells of blurred lines between a business man dying, and a hunter in another world. The short scene breaks between what is imagined and what is real are especially impressive. This really deserves high marks.

The style of the game follows many modern examples of simple pixel art, which people are either going to be okay with or loathe. In Phantom Trigger, it is a slight detractor at times, as it is physically hard to tell what exactly something is. The creepy animal style works for the atmosphere the developers have gone for, but the pixels on the whole hurt the game.

At some point, as engaging as the story is, the annoyance of constantly being trapped in sealed rooms grinds any enjoyment to a halt. The lack of progression, the lack of a pause menu, and the ever-present feeling of getting nowhere simply removes much impetus to continue the story - as enjoyable as it actually is.

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Final Score
The story of blurred lines between life, death, and imagination is actually really interesting, and enough to keep the player enduring for a while in what is otherwise a simple grind and unfun combat system. While the story is compelling, eventually there is simply too little to keep players going through what is an incredibly frustrating dungeon crawler with little sense of progression and too frequent combat.

5

/10

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