Have you ever wondered what you'd get if you crossed the Indiana Jones franchise with Groundhog Day, and then made a video game out of it? Probably not, but one look at Phantom Abyss will make you think someone somewhere must have. All the elements are there, from the golden idol protected by booby traps to the crack of your trusty bullwhip. Only, in this adventure, you're more likely than not to get crushed by the rolling boulder, chopped by the spinning blades, and killed by the poison arrow, starting your entire quest over again in a brand-new ancient temple. This is a lot of fun at first, especially when you zip around a corner and have that heart-stopping moment of just avoiding getting impaled by a hidden batch of floor spikes. Or when you make your way to a shrine and pick up some of the handy power-ups, like double-jump or double-range with your whip. This does a lot to make the final relic seem genuinely obtainable.
Of course, Phantom Abyss also likes to use the old magician's trick of keeping your attention focused in one place so you ignore what it's doing in another. Between following the movements of all the phantoms on the screen and timing your jumps or slides to avoid certain death, there never seems to be much time to genuinely observe the world around you. But once you start to take everything at a more methodical pace, you start to realize the significant repetition in play. Sure, each time you leave a temple, either by recovering the relic or by dying, you've got to start over with a new, procedurally generated stage. The problem is, there are only so many room configurations available for the game to build from. Eventually, you start to recognize room layouts, that feeling of déjà vu starts to sink in, and you can't help but feel like you've done just about everything the game has to offer.