Jun 15, 2011
Phantom Probes is part puzzle game, part guessing game. There is an invisible shape that the player must discover the identity of from one of 3 possibilities. To help figure this out, there are 3 probes to use the will give clues to the shape of the object. These vary from magnetic balls that will fall on the shape, bullets that fall on the shape, and a wave that will fall partway down the screen to possibly hit the object (though not hitting the object is as much a clue as hitting it is). There are hints available, at the penalty of 1 minute on the timer, that shows the side of the object that the probes are hitting. Guessing wrong results in a 5 minute penalty.
Phantom Probes does a great job at making players use their deductive skills to figure out what the shapes are. It’s satisfying when something convincing about the shape is revealed by one of the probes. Soem of the later shapes are particularly tricky, and since the game randomizes the shape per level, just trying to use the tactic of quickly randomly guessing is largely just a waste of time – and not very fun, to boot.
The problem is the way the game’s progression works; right now, it’s based off of a single level time, with the game only adding five minutes per wrong guess. This would work better in a continuous stretch of gameplay, like if the goal was to try and get a certain number of objects in a row correct, then the penalty would mean more. For single levels that can be quit and then restarted, it makes a lot of the challenge dissipate. The developer is working on this, but it still isn’t quite at the level it needs to be. The game itself is interesting at times; it’s the meta elements that need a lot of work.
Phantom Probes needs a lot of work in the setup of the game itself, the concept is intriguing. It just needs a lot of work to be brought out in a form that makes it a great game.