When simplifying the distinction between games played through augmented reality and virtual reality, just consider the environments. While VR video games provide us with fully realized digital spaces that we can maneuver within, AR experiences take our real life spaces and layers the digital creations over them. They both offer unique experiences with their own limitations, but there’s plenty fun to be had in either. In Phantogeist from dev group Trixi, you must defend yourself from ethereal beasts in a first-person AR shooter and it’s shaping up to be a good example of advanced AR gameplay.
Phantogeist, the product of the Trixi team’s many experiments with mixed and augmented reality, turns your world into a co-op shooter played in an alien conflict zone that can be engaged anywhere you want. The trailer for the game shows players taking note of an overlay being shown through a phone screen that includes a radar, health bar, and score. The ghostly assailants are tracked by radar and your alien companion also seems to point them out when they’re close. Another interesting part early in the trailer shows a portal exploding in the pavement. It’s a small element, but the detail in that portion of footage was quite impressive. The crux of your gameplay is just shooting enemies of varying size and difficulty as they appear so you survive as long as possible and move up the leaderboards, a simple concept made intriguing with AR interaction.
Many augmented reality experiences thus far, Pokemon Go being the most well-known example at this point, required users to remain fairly stationary while actually interacting with the game. Phantogeist on the other hand encourages you to move around and avoid enemy attacks, as well as look through portals at different angles. With Pokemon Go, while the collective experience leans on social interaction, it never really taps a direct multiplayer style of gameplay.
It is a glimpse into the future where Augmented Reality multiplayer games can lead to eSport opportunities, where teams of players compete other in the real life world with virtual weapons,” writes Chip Sineni of Trixi Studios in an email to UploadVR. “Phantogeist isn’t a competitive multiplayer game, but players can already fire laser beams at each other to ‘grief’ the other player.”
The social AR aspect of Phantogeist allows a 2nd player to view the same thing another player sees in real time, something that’s pivotal for AR immersion. Phantogeist can be found on the Google Play store, but currently only works on devices that support Google’s Tango technology like the Lenovo Phab 2. There are plans to bring it to other devices, though. The game can easily be moved to platforms that support Unity, so we’ll hopefully see developments on that front in the near future.
We’ll update when we have more information.