Deck-based beat ’em up Phantom Dust out now free

Phantom Dust is one of those games that lots of people talk about but nobody I know actually bought back in the day. Originally released for the Xbox None in 2004, it’s a 3D fighting game set in destructible environments. The twist is that all of your character’s abilities are determined by a deck of cards, so you can switch in new attacks, blocks and specials when you earn/buy new cards.

Today Microsoft re-released it free on both Windows 10 and Xbox One, with cards available as microtransactions. You can, I believe, unlock every card in the game by playing. Here’s a video from Microsoft explaining how it works.

PowerHearthStone. That’s what I’m calling it.

I like the look of it, especially if the singleplayer campaign can make me consider my own lonely life in the way the Microsoft man suggests it might. I’m not writing about it because I like the look of it though – I’m writing about it because I told Alice I’d played it so she asked me to say a few words. And I wrote this: “A guy who lived down the corridor at uni had it and it was the best reason to talk to him.” I should add that the person question was a good friend and I wasn’t being entirely serious. I really liked Phantom Dust though.

Except, no I didn’t because I’ve never played Phantom Dust. I’ve thought I had for years but I was actually confusing it with a different obscure collectible card game from around the same period, but on a different console. I thought Phantom Dust was Culdcept.

Now, it turns out that Phantom Dust actually looks more interesting than Culdcept so I’m happy to swap out one cult favourite card game for another, but what an odd thing it is to realise I’ve been wrong all these years.

Anyhow, you can download Phantom Dust over at the Win 10 store.


  1. Phantom_Renegade says:

    But Windows Store though… I’ve heard a couple of nightmare scenarios from people after using it, as actually fucking up your pc. What I’m saying is, it looks interesting, but not interesting enough to risk my rig.

    • ButteringSundays says:

      And ‘Windows 10’. Curious how anything Microsoft itself touches is only able to run on the latest piece of software they’re trying to sell.

      What I’m saying is Windows 7 for life.

    • Syrion says:

      I was a bit disappointed getting Win10 with my new laptop back in 2015, and last year I had to create a Windows Store account for a piece of software I needed for studies that isn’t available elsewhere and I must say.. it just works fine. I don’t like the ethics behind either the system or the store, but I can’t say anything negative about the experience of using them.
      Although I don’t like having yet another account that might or probably will get its password stolen at some point, ugh.

    • titanomaquis says:

      I haven’t had any windows store problems, for what it’s worth. And I actually do use it for certain apps. Apps have the advantage of leaving little behind them when they are uninstalled, so I like using certain ones temporarily, such as espn, when I want to stream a sports game. Overall, I haven’t had the same experience as some others with the windows store, and I definitely appreciate some of its use cases. And anyway, this is actually a good way for you to judge for yourself, since the game is free and all.

      • Tigris says:

        The problem is just, that trying to log in the windows store (the first ime) can screw you pretty badly.
        I got some error (and I would need to reinstall my windows to fix it) when trying to connect my microsoft account with my windows, for logging into the store.
        After this error happened I couldn’t use the calculator or the image preview (and some other programs neither) any longer.

        So I am not sure if it is really worth to give it a try…

        • jamesgecko says:

          I find your bug report vague and unconvincing. There aren’t many Windows issues that require reinstalling the entire OS to fix.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    I still haven’t beat the final level of Culdcept (PS2) because of its brutal difficulty :(

    Phantom Dust…I think I beat SP? The story is weird and not particularly intelligent nor cogent, but it’s a great battle system.

  3. malkav11 says:

    It’s a cool game but I would rather break out my original Xbox (or I think it runs backcompatible on 360) than the Windows Store.

    • Unclepauly says:

      Problem there is no MP community. This game will have a sizable community for whoever knows how long.

  4. profmcstabbins says:

    One of my all time favorite games. When I worked at a game store and we were phasing out original Xbox games I used the the internal company inventory to find every company I could and called those respective stores asking them to ship their copies to me. I bought copies for everyone in our store and still have two myself, just in case of a random xbox lan party.