Have you ever wanted to investigate the plights of ghouls and ghosts everywhere? If not, it’s something you really should look into. Someone’s gotta look out for those poor little guys. That’s why The Phantom PI: Mission Apparition is an interesting game that works well for players of all ages and families alike.
Cecil Sparks is a peculiar gentleman who seeks to resolve ghostly issues for those who have passed on from this world. In the case of one Marshall Staxx, a rock star who partied just a little too hard and woke up a ghost, he needs help recovering his stolen gear from a mischievous ghost known as Baublebelly. As players assist Sparks in getting back the equipment, they learn more about Staxx and his plight through newspaper clippings, tapes, and other pieces of his life.
But that’s only part of the fun. As you make your way through The Phantom PI’s 20 different levels, you’ll need to put your puzzle-solving skills to good use in order to successfully navigate a series of rooms in a haunted mansion. You’ll be faced with environmental puzzles that need to be resolved before you can continue, such as needing to put out a fire and finding something to do it with. Sometimes you might even find that other spirits want to get in your way. It’s your job to resolve these problems by finding simple yet intelligent solutions.
A lot of the issues can be resolved by seeking out and finding the items you need in the background and taking the spooky old haunted houses in as a whole. Each area is rife with secrets, and there’s plenty to find if you delve into the game with an eye for these things. You can collect additional spirits and bits of information if you simply take the time to study your surroundings, and that’s part of what makes The Phantom PI so charming.
I particularly enjoyed the attention to detail found within the haunted areas themselves, which brought to mind familiar and comforting images of horror titles from my childhood, or a favorite “spooky” special I grew up watching. And while the models themselves may look cartoony, there’s an infectious charm to it all that makes you relish the aesthetic as a whole. It transports you back to a simpler time, and while there’s solid gameplay to speak of and plenty to do, it just feels great to kick back and appreciate the look as well.
The Phantom PI: Mission Apparition is the first in what I hope is a series of sequels that adopt the same look and casual yet intelligent attitude toward adventure games. The fact that this game exists is reason enough to rejoice, for it means there are still creators out there who know this is something we want to see. Give it a look, and help a ghost solve some problems!