Is “Fall Guys-like” a thing yet? This isn’t a phrase I’m particularly thrilled about coining, but the emergence of virtual multiplayer (or in the case of Phantom Abyss asynchronous multiplayer) obstacle courses were an inevitability I did not predict. But I’m glad they’re here, with Phantom Abyss adding its own specific brand of hazard avoidance to the growing pile.
Phantom Abyss is a first person adventure game in which you play as an Indiana Jones type adventurer (whip, too) trying to survive procedurally generated temples, but the kicker is this: only one person in the world will win any particular temple. You only have one chance to conquer that temple’s multiple floors, and if you fail (as most will) then you will never have another chance—with that temple’s treasure eventually going to an adventurer that can. These temples are surprisingly tough, too. Not only will you have to use your whip to travel, you’ll also have to avoid spikes, pitfalls, falling blocks, and even vengeful gods who will try to stop you from succeeding.
You’ll have to face Phantom Abyss’ temples alone, but you’ll have the ghosts of previous adventurers to help you by showing you ultimately what not to do—but sometimes revealing hidden paths or currency. This asynchronous multiplayer reminds me a ton of the phantom mechanics from Dark Souls mixed with the ghost race mechanic used in racing games. You can’t interact with the ghosts, but they also make you feel like you’re actively playing against other players. It’s not really speed that matters in Phantom Abyss, but the ability to stay alive. Any currency collected can help you do that during a run—certain shrines exist where you can exchange money for favors from the gods that manifest in buffs, like getting an additional heart container, the ability to double jump, a chance to avoid damage, etc. What whip you’re using can help (and hinder) you too, with different whips bestowing different buffs—but usually with a curse to go along with it.
As far as Phantom Abyss’ early access plans, developer Team Wiby doesn’t have any specific date for the end of its Early Access period. According to the Steam Early Access information on the Steam store page, Phantom Abyss will have more when released—more traps, different types of whips, new gameplay, etc. Currently, the core gameplay of asynchronous multiplayer temple mayhem is in place, and pretty solid, so if you buy into Phantom Abyss now you are going to get a well-executed experience.
Phantom Abyss is a hell of a lot of fun. It has addictively smooth parkour-style gameplay and just enough variation to keep each run interesting so far. I can’t wait to see what is added to Phantom Abyss over its Early Access period, but it’s already a solid game—and one that might gain some traction on Twitch, because it’s equally fun to watch. You don’t have to wait to try it yourself, however—Phantom Abyss’ temples are open for business—tonight.
Phantom Abyss is available now on Steam Early Access.
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