If you've ever entertained the thought of hunting ghosts, you probably know all about what that entails. It isn't enough to go thrashing about in a dark room, hoping to attract spirits so you can communicate with them. You need tools, a plan, and if possible, friends to help you sort things out when it gets a little too scary.
Enter Phasmophobia, arguably one of the most popular games to emerge this year. This ghost-hunting adventure came from humble beginnings to remain consistently one of the biggest and most-watched games on Steam at any given time in 2020.
Its draw? Bringing up to four players together for a co-op game that finds everyone working together to track down ghosts. Kinetic Games' spooky multiplayer endeavours is an exciting riff on traditional horror games that's well worth exploring – if you aren't too chicken.
What Was That?
You'll need to use every trick at your disposal
Phasmophobia requires you to take on the role of a fledgeling ghost hunter. Using an array of gadgets, you need to track down and isolate a number of spirits to figure out what kind you're dealing with and what you need to do to fight back, if applicable.
The game is very much still in an Early Access state, so the team are continuing to work on it – but what's here is already a great base to build from.
There are ten different types of ghosts to track down, seven different maps to explore, and a variety of ghost hunting equipment that you'll need to make use of across randomly-generated campaign levels.
You can fly solo, or you can recruit friends to play. One person will need to stay in the ghost-hunting van where all the supplies and a video feed of everyone is, while the others will be dispatched into the home.
In High Spirits
Prepare to spend plenty of time looking in darkened doorways
Using a guide, you'll need to complete a series of formulaic tasks to figure out what kind of ghost you're dealing with.
This includes speaking to a voice via spirit box to ask it questions, placing notebooks to let it communicate, or even placing a Ouiji board to let it communicate in real-time.
You can go down a checklist to see which tasks it responds to and how it does so to determine what kind of spirit you're dealing with. Is there a cold room? Is there a high EMF reading? You can quickly determine what type of ghost it is, and unfortunately, this does take a potentially scary experience and turn it into a very familiar one over time.
While there are situations that could make it scary (and it may be for some), the repetitive nature of the game can dampen its frightening power sometimes.
Still, that doesn't take away from how impressive it can be. Hauntings, when they happen, can knock the wind out of you, especially as ghosts can go on the hunt and kill you unexpectedly. But as you get accustomed to each spirit's raison d'être, things become less scary each time.
Luckily, that doesn't make Phasmophobia any less impressive every time you jump in. This is still very much an enjoyable multiplayer affair with unique mechanics and an impressive show of voice recognition. If you're into horror games and want something unique to enjoy with friends, Phasmophobia is one of your best bets.
Reviewed on PC