Phasmophobia will definitely not keep you up at night, but its incredible accessibility features will continuously keep physically disabled players engaged in the hunt.
Score10 out of 10
Ah yes, fall, the season most synonymous with pumpkin spice, brisk temperatures, and a strange desire to tempt fate and communicate with supernatural entities. Outside of covering video games, I tend to shy away from scary and spooky activities. Not only is ghost hunting incredibly inaccessible, I personally do not want to have what little is left of my soul forcibly ripped from my body by an angry demon. Thankfully, Phasmophobia grants me the opportunity to harass spirits from the safety of my home within an entertaining and surprisingly accessible package.
Developed by Kinetic Games, Phasmophobia sends up to four players on varying ghost hunting missions. With equipment ranging from thermometers, spirit boxes, crucifixes, and the ubiquitous flashlight, teams are tasked with mustering up enough courage to successfully identify and record evidence of a spirit. Ghost hunters have the option to explore smaller maps such as quaint two-story homes or test their sanity within sprawling asylums or abandoned schools. Regardless of the location, the creepy ambiance and occasional jump scare ensure that Phasmophobia will consistently make you question every creak, groan, or footstep.
Like most modern titles, Phasmophobia allows physically disabled players the capability to customize every key. While there are numerous actions, individuals only really need to utilize a single key to move, two for actions, and two for communication. I never found myself frustrated with customizing or remembering which keys were necessary to complete each mission. Instead, I was able to enjoy the spooks and jokes with friends.
While almost perfect in its simplistic design, Phasmophobia struggles in relation to its lack of a toggle feature. Communication is incredibly necessary. To properly speak, players must hold either the local or global chat buttons. On especially long hunts, such as the asylum, holding the movement and chat keys became incredibly exhausting.
Thankfully, Phasmophobia alleviates some of the physical strain during the identification process. Despite the size of the maps, each mission usually revolves around a single room featuring ghostly activity. Once the room is located, players just need to set up their equipment to capture evidence. These encounters can take several minutes, allowing for plenty of rest before continuing the expedition.
Further, if a physically disabled hunter is too exhausted to proceed, they can simply wait in the van and keep the team updated via video surveillance or by relaying the information from the ghostly activity meter.
Note: disabled individuals can bypass the requirement to hold the communication buttons by simply using a voice chat program such as Skype or Discord. The game seems to continue to use your microphone regardless of whether you’re holding the communications buttons or not. It’s also worth noting that the game does support a gamepad, however, if the option to comfortably use a keyboard and mouse is present, that’s what I’ll choose and as such haven’t scored the game for a gamepad.
Phasmophobia is not going to win any awards regarding the scariest game of the year. However, each hunt had me rolling with laughter, as well as occasionally shrieking from terror with my friends. Certain maps may be large, but the multitude of methods and strategies to alleviate physical strain allow physically disabled ghost hunters to consistently be productive members of their respective teams. I may not be feeling ghostly vibrations in the bedrooms, but Phasmophobia is an excellent choice for disabled individuals looking for an accessible and mildly terrifying thrill this October.