Phantaruk (PC) Preview

By Thom Compton 20.07.2016

Review for Phantaruk on PC

First-person horror games are all the rage, pun intended. They usually involve running from a big beastie or dealing with the main character's own mental shortcomings. Phantaruk is another traditional romp through survival horror, playing with the playable avatar's own sicknesses. That is, if you can handle the slow build up.

Phantaruk starts off as a man wakes up on a space station, an alarm blaring for him to escape. Well, not just him, but this is the player's true prerogative. Early on, the puzzles include the standard "find an item and combine it with another item" trope adventure and horror games utilise ad nauseam. Phantaruk isn't trying to reinvent the wheel, or even make adjustments to it. It's just trying to show off its ability to do everything really well, and the early results are mixed.

It is an abandoned and presumably dangerous space station that the silent protagonist wakes up on. As the player explores, it becomes clear very quickly something bad is happening in the present, and so escape must be made. It all sounds familiar, because it is. However, this isn't a sign of bad things to come, necessarily.

Screenshot for Phantaruk on PC

The story, or what little of it is already available, is pretty enticing, and appears to be the only section of the game as of yet that is trying to move beyond the confines of its predecessors. This may sound all negative, but it's not. Phantaruk has an oppressive atmosphere, a great sense of how the environment works, and a great use of psychological horror to keep the player guessing. Little touches like realistic sound depth and lighting make the environment feel truly evil.

The puzzles are really the only current drawback. They are rarely inventive, and a lot of times, things like the cursor not working correctly make it feel like you're beating your head against a problem only to find out you were always right. A mysterious syndrome will also interrupt the player, making the screen take on a varicose quality until they get the antidote in their system. This seems to happen pretty constantly, and with limited antidotes lying around, becomes a nuisance fairly quickly.

Screenshot for Phantaruk on PC

Final Thoughts

Phantaruk is a dark game, and once it's complete could be exactly what gamers are looking for. Currently, it's a mix of puzzles, story, and atmosphere that coalesce into a strange product. The best way to explain it is that while the current results are not the most intense or satisfying experience, there is something there that will draw you in, begging players to return to see what horrors have yet to be introduced. Don't let the array of typical features fool you; this game is slowly moving towards a masterclass in good horror design, even if it sticks to the tried and true formula it seems to want to emulate now.

Developer

Polyslash

Publisher

PlayWay

Genre

Horror

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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