For whatever reason, teenagers seem to be enamoured with exploring creepy, haunted houses. They each have their own reasons — either going together or alone — but you have to help them get out alive.
In Phantom Halls, you get to select which character and mission you are looking to take on. There are tons of options; a cheerleader looking for her date, a jock seeking to cure his fear of spiders, a goth hoping to find a band who was meant to record in the building, and more! The various characters you can select have a few different missions each within the creepy home — it is up to you to pick out the goal that you want to achieve. Some of the missions force them to go exploring alone, while others allow them to take a few extra characters with them.
The various characters each have different goals, strengths, and starter weapons. The nerd, for example, has a passive ability where their weapon durability loss is reduced by 75%. He also starts off with a sharp axe, to bash through various monsters. They each also have their own major ability, which has a long cool down but can be used to get out of tight situations around the house.
There are also sometimes people lurking inside the house, hiding from the monsters that live inside — and they are happy to join your team as long as you have a spare slot! As you play your team of characters, you can control each individual’s attack and special abilities with various keys on your keyboard or controller. You can also switch which person stands at the front of the line in the inventory menu. Keeping an eye on everyone’s health and prioritising the person who is key for the mission will keep you busy as you explore the procedurally generated rooms of this haunted house.
The house is split into rooms, both on the left and right of the screen. Navigation is freeform and is normally led by the objects you find around you, or through following clues and process of elimination. Breaking down each door (which causes noise to alert enemies) or opening them will reveal a new area full of monsters to attack, places to hide, and hopefully some loot to gather. You can loot a majority of the items in the house; bookshelves, drawers, and dressers. Sometimes, you will find new weapons, health packs, and ammo, but these items can also be traps. Traps like chandeliers which fall from the ceiling, damaging those who are walking under it as it meets the ground.
You can also find various bits of furniture which you can turn around, moving them into the center of the room. If you need to run from a monster later, moving these items to be in their way may give you the edge you need to gain ground! The house you are in is huge — the first floor you start on is just the beginning, with elevators to take you to the next as soon as you have cleared out each floor, and back down should you need to escape the house after your objective is complete.
Phantom Halls is fast-paced, making you think on your feet as skeletons throw bones, bats swoop, and zombies smash into your face. When I played this game at [email protected] 2017, and again at EGX, I could see the appeal and angle that the developers were working towards.
Never before has the experience of exploring a haunted house been one so fun to do! The various missions are super funny — it is just like teenagers to risk their lives for prom dresses and better respect from their coach. If you don’t want to manage the entire party yourself, you can even grab another controller and play with a friend — just to double your chances to stay alive.
Much more is being added to Phantom Halls, however, you can pick up the game in Early Access on Steam right now! If you’d like to follow development you can follow @PhantomHalls on Twitter, see their Facebook Page, or check out their website.