How Phantom Abyss Is Different From Other Roguelikes


A new platforming roguelike called Phantom Abyss is entering early access in June, and it appears to be a wholly unique take on the genre.

Roguelikes seem to be growing more popular by the minute, and Phantom Abyss looks as though it will bring an entirely new perspective on the adaptable genre. With Hades grabbing multiple game of the year awards, and Returnal bringing high production value to a third person shooter in the genre, fans of roguelikes and procedurally generated games have had plenty to sink their teeth into. Now, developer Team WIBY and publisher Devolver Digital are set to release a wholly unique roguelike experience into early access in June.

Phantom Abyss looks like a sophisticated Temple Run with platforming and asynchronous multiplayer. Players emulate Indiana Jones and grab a whip before entering an ancient temple in search of a relic. The treasures are carefully guarded by rooms full of spike traps, wall darts, bottomless chasms, and much more. Venturing farther into the temple will anger the relic’s guardian, which may chase the player and end the run with a well-placed attack. The phantoms of other players who have failed the temple previously retrace their doomed steps, potentially giving hints for the location of loot or places to avoid.

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Keys may have to be found to advance, or multiple braziers lit to open a special door. Whips help with traversal, allowing Phantom Abyss players to essentially grapple to nearby ledges. Players start a run with three hearts, but take too much damage and their phantom is trapped in the temple forever. Only one person can reach the relic and claim a temple’s prize. Once someone has completed a temple, it’s closed forever, and the glory of the treasure can’t be claimed again.

The Roguelike Elements Of Phantom Abyss

Phantom Abyss still has traditional roguelike elements

The most immediately noticeable roguelike mechanic in Phantom Abyss is the procedurally generated temples. Dying on a run means the player can’t redo that particular temple, so every attempt at reaching a relic will be a brand new layout. The temples are also dotted with power-ups, which can be bought with coins found throughout. Players also get to choose a whip from a small selection before entering the temple. Each whip has a bonus as well as a debuff, just like the parasites in Returnal. For instance, a whip may provide a longer grapple distance, but could also make the temple guardians become more aggressive quicker.

Phantom Abyss appears to be anything but a traditional roguelike game. There’s no combat, and not much of an ulterior goal outside of acquiring individual relics. Bringing a relic back to the hub area where players enter a temple will unlock new whips, but there does not appear to be any form of story outside of the asynchronous temple crawling. Phantom Abyss is coming to Steam early access in June, and there’s no word on the game coming to consoles just yet.

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