Note – This review of Phantom Trigger is based on a playthrough of the Steam version.

Phantom Trigger is published by tinyBuild Games, who previously released Mr. Shifty on the Nintendo Switch. Phantom Trigger is currently priced at $14.99 in the eShop. The game is a hack ‘n slash with some RPG and puzzle elements along the way. Tiny Build describes it as a “hardcore neon slasher.” 

The game starts with Stan trying to guess what his wife is making for breakfast. He collapses in the middle of the discussion. You are then suddenly in the phantom zone. Here you will meet Toad, Ant, and Tree who will occasionally interact with you throughout your adventure. You will start with the cube of growth (whip) but you need to find the cube of ice (sword) in order to continue. With a little gameplay you will go into more dialogue heavy segments and find out that Stan has two choices: surgery or an experimental procedure. You will then go back to the main gameplay, and with a little more exploring you find a third weapon cube of flame (gauntlets).

Rather than character upgrades, each weapon gains experience as the player uses it. As you upgrade your weapons different button patterns are unlocked which allows for different attack combinations and abilities. The different combinations of attacks not only prove useful in battle but are fun to unlock. You also have the ability to teleport a short distance which can be fun to control and add interesting ways to attack.

Some of the stages feel kind of repetitive as the backgrounds and enemies remain the same through the course of the level. Each contains a few not too challenging puzzles. There are also multiple places in the level where you are sealed in until you defeat all of the spawning enemies. At the end, there is a boss fight. The game does auto save as you progress across certain blue squares marked in between certain rooms. The change of levels does change the atmosphere and add a few new enemies adding a little variety to the game.  

The difficulty of the game is also something else to discuss. The default setting is “hard” – players must adjust the setting to normal. I chose “normal” and still found it a bit tough at times. As upgrades and attack combinations become available, it is using them to you advantage that makes the game easier to play.

In the end, what Phantom Trigger lacks in diversity it makes up for with an interesting storyline, as well as interesting upgradable weapons. I certainly loved the ability to teleport away from battle and into battle to increase my chances of survival. Players looking for a simple hack ‘n slash adventure may want to think twice before purchasing this game. If you are looking for a bit of a challenge, hack ‘n slashing your way through an interesting story, then this game may be for you.