Apple TV Game Review: The Phantom Pi Mission Apparition
A creepy kooky ghost hunting platformer with an arcade spirit and plenty of character. Fun to play in the dark with your kids too.
This is an Apple TV game about Cecil & Cecilia, who are in the ghost business. In fact they are a crack phantom paranormal investigator duo to be reckoned with. It looks as if they’ve been at it for a very long time judging by their anachronistic victorian-era style. The clientele? Famous stars who are themselves ghosts trying to enjoy their afterlife haunts. The mission is afoot after being called upon as agents of the dead by legendary zombie-ghost rockstar Marshall Staxx. Staxx, just trying to rock retirement, is the victim of a poltergeist plot to make his eternal rest unrestful. The PI’s start the mission at Marshall’s haunt, Ravensmaw Manor, to do what they do best: hunt ghosts!
I play Cecil, a stout gent, sporting tweed, a monocle, red whiskers and a phantom trapping gadget handgun. Ravensmaw Manor is a vast old mansion riddled with rooms that ooze ghost and classic arcade platformer presence. My fearless PI goes forth, searching rooms by way of stairs, ladders, lifts and doors. Most doors are open, some are locked and some barred but all lead confusingly around the house. Some even lead to other dimensional rifts (levels). Cecil’s detective work yields clues and pickup objects that are essential to solving each level. A fuse, a crowbar, skeleton keys, or just a plank must be utilised to make headway. He also finds kooky clues such as chilling Staxx fan mail, eerie news clippings, postcards from beyond and other odd memorabilia. With this creepy collection the story unfolds.
Obviously poltergeist apparitions lie hidden in dark places to accost Cecil unawares. But he’s packing his ghost-gun and knows how to use it. Trapping ghosts like sprites and wisps, some bearing diamonds, ups the stats throughout the rift levels. The big boss spook Baublebelly is behind this haunting harassment and must be caught. However, our PI must chase him through several swirling purple rift levels before facing a boss-battle. The Phantom PI Mission Apparition presents 4 acts each with 4 scenes plus a fifth for the wacky Baublebelly battle. More scary surprises and antagonists have Cecil outwitting phantasmal fans and solving puzzles between ghost-fights. This is a mission of memory challenges that are fun but not overwhelmingly challenging. Nevertheless, as you advance the manor’s rooms mysteriously multiply and things get trickier.
Ghosts & Graphics
This Apple TV game is great with the Siri remote. Easy clicks get your PI through most everything. Except ghost fights, which require speedy thumb-slides to control and capture spirits and collect diamonds (beware the skulls). Capture ghosts ASAP or be stunned and thwarted! There are more achievements (I’ll leave to you) to rack up in your scrapbook. The characters and graphics are really what gives Phantom PI its personality. There’s an old-school feel to the graphics and arcade mechanics, but with rich colours and loads of detail. When you get to a boss-battle, you’ll see the arcade nostalgia conveyed by developers Rocket 5 Studios. Another cool feature zooms out the view to see all the manor’s rooms together. Characters like Marshall Staxx and his manor have a sinister art-style whereas Cecil & Cecilia are adorable protagonists. Baublebelly and other details certainly bring back memories of Ghostbusters.
The Phantom PI Mission Apparition is an Apple TV game that is weird and creepy, but more harmless dark humour than horrific. It’s mature enough to play for a bit of fun, but a blast together with your kids on the big-screen.