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Phantom Halls Preview at EGX Rezzed

Phantom Halls was released last month through Steam Greenlight - making it one of the last indies of its pedigree to find an audience through Valve's democratic 'kickstarter' analogue. The survival comedy-horror from Incendium Games is currently available in early access. We were lucky enough to get our hands on the game at EGX Rezzed and have some questions answered about the polygonal survival game.

For the uninitiated, Phantom Halls is a procedurally generated, side-scrolling survival game that takes stylistic cues, both mechanically and narratively, from pulp comedy-horror movies. You pick from over a dozen unique characters (all slotting vaguely into horror movie stereotypes with respective buffs) and set off into a creepy mansion to complete a personal objective, find your friends and escape unscathed.

But here's the rub. Not only is ammo limited, you only have room in your inventory for seven items at a time. You also have the odds stacked against you since every room randomly generates a series of furniture, enemies and hidden dangers. There were a few instances where the first room we entered led to a swift and instant death by way of leaping cockroaches.

As an early access bonus, you can currently play as Ash from the Evil Dead series complete with chainsaw hand. We played the game for about half an hour and, despite only playing one or two characters each, editor Ben and I found new encounters occurring through every door - no two play sessions will ever be the same.

As a result of the procedural generation, we didn't actually find any companions along the way. The expert on hand, Lewis Denby, explained to us that when you (eventually) link up with your buddies, you control every member of your party at once so spatial awareness is key.

Co-operative play, Lewis also explained, is potentially on the horizon for Phantom Halls but since the game is still in its infancy, we might have to wait until console ports to get our hands on that.

We had a few lagging issues and found ourselves struggling slightly with the action key mapping to the 'Q' key rather than a mouse-click. The latter of those two issues will be fixed in an upcoming patch.

Otherwise, Phantom Halls was a great survival game that embeds itself in the Flash Game philosophy of playing in the moments. As indicated by your survival time on the post-death screen, this isn't a game about reaching the credits, it's about surviving as long as you can and having fun along the way.

Check out Phantom Halls in Early Access on Steam

Will Butler | @QuesaWilla

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