Procedural horror Phantasmal crawls out of Early Access next week


I look at the screenshot above and I don't immediately think of Binding of Isaac, but it's been a big influence behind Phantasmal, a game that couldn't be more zeitgeisty if it featured procedural generation, Lovecraftian monsters, or survival horror elements. (Wait, it features all three? Then how come it wasn't nominated for this year's 'Geisties?) Phantasmal's USP is its based-on-a-real-creepy-place setting: Kowloon Walled City, which until 1994 crammed thousands of Hong Kong citizens into a sort of apocalyptic Rubick's Cube.

All this you already know from Shaun Prescott's post about the game last year, but I thought you might like to know that Phantasmal is leaving Early Access next week. Thursday April 14, to be exact. That's a wee bit longer than the "3-6 months" estimate originally drawn up, but hey ho, at least it's coming out. Not all Early Access games can share that honour.

Phantasmal might look a bit like Outlast, but there's combat here too. You can "rip boards off walls and smash them into enemy heads, toss flares to distract enemies and fire guns if you can find one". Fans of Condemned will want to give it a go, I reckon.

Here's how Phantasmal looks now (i.e. quite scary):

Tom Sykes

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.