Eyemobi Ltd. released their first person horror survival game Phantasmal as a Steam Early Access title last week and we put it through its paces to find quite a tough experience. The game thrusts players into a procedurally generated environment with the aim of reaching an elevator at the end of each level. However, en-route there are monsters to overcome by either sneaking past without incident or smacking them over the head with a plank of wood or pipe. There are guns to hunt down which can be found in suitcases which require keys to unlock but these tools are noisy beasts and should only be used as a last resort lest you fall foul of the monsters or worse a skulking beast known as the “Sleeper” – a tentacled entity that pursues you through the level and offers no means of escape once it has you in its clutches. There’s a bit of story to discover by way of reading documents you might stumble across when searching cupboards and such like, but the onus is on a solitary experience of getting from A to B in one piece.
Phantasmal is an Early Access title which means it’s not finished and will be updated considerably before it gets a final release. There’s room for some polishing, most notably a handful of minor glitches and oddities with the movements of the monsters. Full controller support would also work wonders here as what’s available at present is too limited and needs the option to customize the controls.
Gameplay wise when shuffling about in the dark it’s quite hard to judge whether you’re going to be detected or not and although there’s an element of making noise, shifting between light and dark areas, it’s far too sporadic at present to have any proper impact. The experience very much feels like a stealth game but is more fun when bringing out the guns so some balance is very much needed as far as we’re concerned. In our experience it was far too easy to attract the unwanted attention of the sleeper (who is almost impossible to avoid and goes against the stealth) and when you couple the game’s rogue like approach means time is wasted having to restart for making minor mistakes or merely having to defend against multiple opponents. Whilst a little rough around the edges the game does show some promise to be tense and thrilling which is what’s needed most in a game of this type. Perhaps the only hurdle remaining once the technical aspects are tweaked is finding its feet among the slew of similar first person horror games that are available.
If you want to support Eyemobi Ltd. and perhaps have a say in how the game develops further from here on in then be sure to head on over to Steam and pledge your allegiance for just £10.99 which isn’t a bad price at all.