What do you get when you cross a rouge-like, twin-stick slasher with an 80s action flick? A colorful action packed neon slasher that has the makings of something amazing. Phantom Trigger presents itself as a story within a story. On the surface, you are playing as a man who is seemingly following orders without a mind of his own. He kills monstrosities not because he wants to, but simply because they are in his way. Beneath the surface it’s the story of a husband and wife’s struggle against a mysterious ailment. After a discussion over breakfast, the husband collapses on the floor and it’s revealed that he’s suffering from an illness that will require an expensive fix and/or an experimental miracle. It is not yet known which story is real life. Maybe they both are, one feeding on the other.
Story aside, the games controls are another stand out. Combat is heavily based on combos, with three types of attacks being combined to do devastating damage. However, it was in the combat that I found my first problem. The game never tells the player how to use the weapons you have at your disposal. At the beginning of the game, the main character mentions that he has a whip; after clicking random buttons on my keyboard, I finally found it 30 minutes later.
The game could benefit from a tutorial in order to lay out the controls. It’s pretty hard to pull off combos when I don’t know what buttons to press. Another small annoyance was the lack of direction. I spent most of my time wandering in a random direction until the screen would glitch out, preparing me for the next story event.
But the most annoying thing of all happened in my first boss fight. While trying to figure out the combos, I discovered that if you hit the numbers across the top of the keyboard you will teleport to one of the rune markings on the ground, that same ones that lit up as I entered new sections. However, I hit this button in the middle of an enclosed boss fight and teleported outside of the arena with no way of getting back in. After another 20 minutes of trying to get back to the fight, I finally decided to give up and restart.
From what I have seen so far I can tell that Phantom Trigger has the ability to go a long way. And, with it coming to Nintendo Switch, it could be the perfect “neon slasher” to scratch that itch. Before you say anything, I know it is in alpha and that most of my complaints will not make it into the finished product. But, as it stands, I think it needs a lot of work.