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Phantom Dust Is Still A Great Time (And Totally Free)

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Phantom Dust is a 2004 action game that mixes Magic the Gathering deck building and frantic arena brawling. A free remaster was released yesterday for Windows 10 and Xbox One. Heather and Chris collect magic spells and slash their way to a few victories in this archived stream.

Set in a post-apocalyptic future, Phantom Dust straddles a line between punk aesthetics and magical fantasy. While the game does offer a single player mode, the big draw is multiplayer. Players can face off to hurl magic at each other in team battles or free-for-alls.


(My fearless and peerless co-streamer Chris Person made a video talking about how cool the game is a few years ago.)

Phantom Dust is strange to play. Various orbs dot the battlegrounds. Collecting these orbs grants abilities with distinct effects. You much pick up magic to conjure a fiery sword or erect an iron barrier to block incoming attacks. Each ability costs “aura” which can be obtained by picking up white orbs. You need to move quickly to grab what you need.


The catch is that you only have four ability slots and picking up a new ability or aura orb means overwriting at least one of your current spells. Matches are all about risk and reward, juggling skills and boosting your aura until you have the perfect collection of abilities to take down your opponents.

There’s still some technical quirks in Phantom Dust. One of the biggest hurdles is the camera. This is a game where locking on really helps keep track of opponents. Unfortunately, it is hard to toggle between enemies. Clumsy movement also means that combat is a little stiff.


That said, the core concept is so interesting that I’m eager to return for more matches of magic and mayhem. And hey, it’s free! That’s a pretty great price tag for the chance to blast some folks with badass magic.