Bite Sized Reviews: Cave of Phantom Mists

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Bite Sized Reviews: Cave of Phantom Mists

It’s time to take a little trip down memory lane. Honestly, I should have had this up sooner, but things do get away from us sometimes, don’t they? TheThousandScar here! As I’m typing up this article, the rain is pouring outside. Three guesses about the country, huh? Yep, lovely old British weather…. Yes… lovely.

I’m not here to rant about the weather again, because who wants that? If we go back in time a few months, I covered one of 2022’s biggest sleeper hits. That was Astlibra Revision, a fantastic side scroller that packs above its weight class. Unlike most games like it, Astlibra featured an expansive story along with its heavy combat mechanics, alongside one of the best tutorials I’ve seen in a video game. If you have not played Astlibra: Revision yet, I highly recommend trying it out. I’ve been enjoying it a lot more than I expected to, and I’m not even a fan of its genre! To check out my impressions of the game, click on the link below:

Back in mid-February, the developer behind Astlibra Revision released a massive DLC for his game, The Cave of Phantom Mist. Big thanks to the people at PR Hound for supplying us with the review code. Unlike the base game, Phantom Mist focuses on a side character in her own, self-contained story. This is a pretty chunky piece of DLC as well, especially given its 10$ price tag. Just like with the original game, I played Phantom Mist mostly on the Steam Deck, although I tested the mouse/keyboard controls on my laptop too. This is just a taster of my experiences with the expansion, so this might not go into as much detail as I sometimes do.

All the nice quality-of-life features from the base game carry over into the expansion, although the DLC lacks that interactive tutorial mode. Honestly, that is not a problem given that you need the base game to play Phantom Mist. It recommends playing the original game before moving into the DLC, so all the tricks and mechanics from Revision exist in Phantom Mist.

The premise is different. You play as an ordinary baker in a struggling city, and after the Guild party goes missing, her home life comes under threat by the demons. This is explained to the player through a long intro cutscene, in which your protagonist is rescued by a kindred spirit. Instead of the hilarious raven from the original, we’ve got a wolf to guide us through the game.

I will be honest here: I did not feel much for the introduction this time. I’m not sure why, as it did not do anything wrong. I just did not feel as emotionally invested. Perhaps it was just the character in this expansion giving me little? I don’t know. While I enjoyed the dialogue in the base game, it felt a little wooden and stiff for me in Phantom Mist. The visual design in Astlibra is still gorgeous, with its breath-taking horizons. The starting city that serves as a player hub oozes character, with several mini-quests to complete while searching for the lost Guild party. I had trouble navigating the different areas, as there weren’t any map markers to show where to go. For instance, it took me a while to find the entrance to the Cave. Fortunately, you get access to an unlimited item early on that can return you to and from the hub.

Most of the game involves exploring the gigantic Cave of Phantom Mists, a labyrinth of platforms and increasingly dangerous foes. It plays like a standard roguelike, where death is not the end and players can upgrade their character with a slew of items and powerups to make progress in the dungeon.

In a way, it’s a strange little expansion. While the DLC doesn’t offer much in the way of new enemies and environments, the progression and new magic spells offer a refreshing perspective. If you like Astlibra, this offers just more of Astlibra, and that’s a good thing. While it is a standalone story, it still requires the base game to play it. Playing Phantom Mist after the base game is something I recommend because it does contain some spoilers from the original storyline while being its own contained tale. I appreciate it so far, I just wonder how necessary Cave of Phantom Mist is. I don’t know…I can’t put my finger on it.

Despite that, I can’t fault it much either. Astlibra Revision is a great game, and Phantom Mists offers great performance. For only ten dollars, it offers more than some much pricier DLC offers. While it may not do much truly distinct from the original game, the roguelike progression and dungeon crawling make it more focused, and that’s something I can get behind.

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TheThousandScarAuthor/Blogger/Cartographer/Streamer/Narrative Game Writer/I play far too many games. |

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