Phantom Trigger by Tiny Build for the Nintendo Switch brings you into a world of grungy, sci-fi, chaos and dismay as you go back and forth from the life of Stan, a seemingly normal man dealing with a terminal illness, to that of the Outsider, a whip wielding, sword slinging traveler trying to make sense of the quirky characters and perilous land he has sailed to.
The game pays homage to some of the great classics such as The Legends of Zelda with its sixteen bit graphics, top-down view, and charming puzzle mechanics, while bringing in new era combos, utilizing elemental attacks as you level up different skills and learn new abilities.
Playing Phantom Trigger
The style of Phantom Trigger definitely takes a page or two from Hyper Light Drifter as a “neon slasher,” as it were, but it adds a sort of organic element to the environment that gives it that icky and grungy cyber punk feeling. The enemies have a squishy, deformed alien look and sound as you strike and defeat them, leaving them in a pile of goo.
Speaking of sounds, the game does tell you when you start it up that it is best played wearing headphones, and for good reason. The music is a slow, melodic, deep synth score taking notes from the Blade Runner soundtrack, and your attack order even has specific tones for each cadence.
Phantom Trigger is hard, and it can take a few tries to get past certain areas, but the challenge can be rewarding with many different paths to be taken, leading to several different endings depending on the choices you make throughout the game.
There are a few bugs that I’ve noticed where objects or enemies have glitched off of the screen, one of which resulted in having to go back a checkpoint, but nothing completely game breaking. It almost adds to the gritty static that has you questioning what’s real in the game.
Overall, I’d recommend Phantom Trigger to anyone looking for a challenging experience and a fresh spin on a classic style of game. It even has a cooperative mode for some side-by-side play with a friend. At $14.99 on the Switch eShop, it is a great way to spend the time between big game releases, or to just take a break from them and experience the way games used to be. If you’d like to hear me talk about the game with ScrapGear, check out episode 44 of the Geek Ghost Gaming podcast.