Only one person in the world can beat a Phantom Abyss dungeon

We got our first glimpse at Phantom Abyss a few weeks ago, but were given a longer look today during the Summer Game Fest. And the longer you look, the cooler it sounds.

In Phantom Abyss, players run, jump, and swing with a whip through a procedurally generated temple filled with deadly traps in hopes of finding and stealing a precious relic. It's an asynchronous multiplayer game, so you're not all in there together—instead, you see the other players as phantoms, the ghosts of people who have entered the tomb before you. Follow a phantom if you think they'll lead you safely around the traps, but keep in mind they all most likely perished, so any ghost you shadow could be leading you to your doom. 

And if you die in a temple, you're done. You'll never get another chance to complete that temple ever again.

It sounds a bit like a Spelunky daily challenge, where everyone is given the same procedurally generated map and has one life to complete it. The difference here is, there will only be a single player who ever does. Unlike Spelunky, where everyone theoretically has the ability to finish a daily challenge, in Phantom Abyss, when someone finally grabs the relic, the tomb is immediately sealed off forever. That one player will be the only player who ever finished that temple successfully. It's a leaderboard of one.

Along with traps, there's a temple guardian, and the deeper you go into the dungeon, the madder it gets. Survive long enough and you won't just have to worry about traps but a pissed-off monster chasing you. You'll also come across new kinds of whips to use, and find coins to spend on "powerful blessings." I have no idea what those entail, but I think you're gonna need all the help you can get. Phantom Abyss enters Steam Early Access this month.

Christopher Livingston
Staff Writer

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.