Tag Archives: Phantasmaburbia

A videogames rundown in honor of Barristan the Bold

Episode 6 secene 17a

Right now, I don’t have any particular thoughts on a particular game, so I figured I could use a post to sum up what’s going on with the games I’m playing currently. As usual, I am juggling several, which does not bode well for efficiency and completing many of ’em, but it does allow me to see a wee bit of each thing. Let me break this out into a little list:

  • BioShock Infinite – I am really close to the end on this even though I only just posted my impressions about it recently. Its pacing is such that you keep playing, unaware of how much time has passed. A part of me wanted to just soldier through it last night, but it was getting late, and I suspect there’s an hour or two left to unfold. Regardless, I’ll finish it up tonight and then probably lock myself in a small room, crying over what brain-twisting revelations are revealed. Or spoiling myself via the Internet on all the stuff I missed.
  • Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon – Just managed to beat the first mansion’s boss, a particularly crafty ghost-controlled spider, which has now opened up the multiplayer aspect, as well as the next mansion. Have not moved on to either of those yet, but I will soon. Seems you can also hop back into the mansion levels to track down hidden Boos. Where you at, Boos?
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening – No one has died since my last post about losing Miriel. Granted, I haven’t played since then, but I’ll take my accomplishments with this brutal SRPG where I can.
  • PhantasmaburbiaHaven’t touched it since my last post, but I do plan to get back to it, especially since I know I just need to do some light grinding to get the two boys strong enough to take down the progress-blocking boss.
  • Kingdom RushI play this during my lunchbreak as I slowly sip down vegetable juice as part of my 10-day juicing fast. I got stuck on the first snowly level and had to drop the difficulty to easy to make it through with a pitiful two-star rating.
  • Patchwork – Cannot figure out how to appease the fire spirit (wants something to eat), and since this game is so small and indie and unknown, any online guide or clues are nowhere to be found. Curses, as I really like its art style and music a lot.
  • Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – Stuck fighting¬†Moltaan, the Lord of Lava, at the top of Old Smokey. Probably gotta grind more, especially since I evolved a few familiars, which drops them back down to level 1. Basically, my party is now a tad unbalanced. Oops.
  • El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron – Umm, I don’t know. Stopped at Chapter Two. Ha.

Since my last musings on PlayStation Plus, I’ve gone and downloaded several more games I won’t ever have the time to eat up, like The Cave and Demon’s Souls. Unless I clear a few of the above off my plate. Which may or may not happen soon. But hey, with me, you never know, as something entirely new (or old) will grab my attention. Looking ahead, I can’t really see anything that looks enticing, but that’s the magic of the videogames industry; there are always a few well-kept secrets.

Owl Creek has been invaded by ghosts in Phantasmaburbia

phantasm3a

Well, I’m back for round 2 of digging into Box in a Bundle‘s latest package, which I covered previously in a post about the non-game Dinner Date. This time, I’m most definitely playing a game, and I know that because after two hours I’ve switched between three different playable characters, gained levels, equipped special items, killed ghosts and skeletal rodents and unshapely shades, and died during a particularly tough boss fight. If that doesn’t summarize me playing a game, well…no, that’s it exactly. I mean, I literally did mostly the same thing over the weekend in Ni no Kuni, calling it quits when Moltaan, the Lord of Lava, wiped Oliver and friends off Old Smokey.

So, with that, I’m here to talk about Phantasmaburbia, a long-name game that appears capable of going the distance. To summarize, the year is 201X (twenty-X-teen), and the small modern neighborhood of Owl Creek has suddenly been overrun with ghosts. No one knows exactly why or how just yet. Four local kids, assisted by spirits of their ancestors, will group together on a suburban adventure to save the place they call home.

I’ve only gotten far enough in the game–roughly two hours and change–to have three kids in my party. I named the first boy Todd, the goth girl Rayne, and the gun-wielding, blonde-haired kid Drogo. Screenshots from the developer’s website show that the fourth character is another girl, so feel free to leave name suggestions; otherwise, she will be called something dumb, like Jam.

Anyways, it’s an RPG, with all the things you’d associate with the genre present. Its strongest element is its battle system, which is seemingly based around the active time battle model, with no room for pausing or breathing. Best plan your attacks before you even select them or the enemy, which consists of things like Catdavers and Roadents, might slip in an extra swipe. It makes for lively fights, but alas, many are over too soon, and the battle music takes a few seconds to really kick in and sound amazing. There are some other special elements to battles that involve you clicking dangerous tentacles away or loading bursts of light into a spectral gun, all timing-based.

The graphics are perfunctory, if not elementary. This is not a slam against Phantasmaburbia, as its story and gameplay more than carry the title forward, and graphics never are everything. Am I right, Minecraft? Anyways, there’s quite a bit of dialogue here, and the best is between each kid and their respective spiritual assistant ancestor. Everyone speaks in an Animal Crossing-like fashion, just making noise, but don’t take that as a reason to rush through the dialogue. The ghosts are particularly well-written, showing off their unique personalities.

It seems like most of Phantasmaburbia is spent either outside or underground in weird space/time dimension dungeons. These are where the puzzles are, as each ghost can interact here in a different way. For instance, one ghost can highlight invisible panels to walk on, and another can take over animals to move them onto special tiles. I suspect that once all four kids meet up and are one team, a lot of dungeon levels will involve switching between different ghosts to get everybody from point A to point B.

Oh, and one really small touch that I liked are the garage door motion sensor lights. You go near them, they go on. You walk away, they go off. It’s especially great when you’re nearby and see a wild animal trigger them. I don’t know. It’s the small stuff that can make a world feel big, and despite its rather generic look at times, Phantasmaburbia¬†seems like a fully realized place, one I look forward to exploring more. Though that means I have to figure how to properly use Todd and Drogo to beat the current boss I’m stuck on. But for this sleek and somewhat goofy RPG, trying again is a must.