Beginner Phasmophobia tips for finding ghosts and staying alive

Phasmophobia tips beginners how to
(Image credit: Kinetic Games)

Some Phasmophobia tips will help if you're just starting out in this enjoyable combination of a detective game and pure horror. Players must work together to discover what type of ghost is haunting a building. If they manage to stay alive while gathering information, they’re doing a great job. Of course, it can also end in a gruesome death. 

The game does offer a tutorial, but the instructions you get are very basic and will leave a lot to be discovered. If you don’t want to be thrown in a haunted house without knowing what you’re doing, we’ve got you covered. All you need to get your career as a ghost detective started is this guide and nerves of steel (and perhaps some friends who will tolerate your screaming).

How to get started

Phasmophobia get started

(Image credit: Kinetic Games)

Phasmophobia is a co-op game for teams of up to four players. However, if you are brave enough, it’s also possible to play it solo. If you want to try that, click ‘play’ and make a private game for yourself. If you want to play co-op but don’t have anyone to play with, you can join a public game. 

Before you start co-op, you should know that this game uses voice chat to interact with the ghosts and to discuss theories with teammates. Most players therefore appreciate it if you have your voice chat enabled. Also, keep in mind that the ghost can always hear you. Saying its name repeatedly will provoke it, which is often less appreciated by the team.

The game will start in a truck; your ghost hunting headquarters. Here, you can equip your items and find additional information on the whiteboard. Make sure to read the optional objectives; you get extra cash rewards for completing these. As for items; you can equip only three of them, but you can come back for more. It’s highly recommended to always take a flashlight with you (unless you enjoy total darkness in the presence of a ghost).

Understanding Phasmophobia gameplay is easier if we divide it in two parts: searching for the ghost’s location and finding out what type of ghost we’re dealing with. We have some tools that can detect ghost activity; however, every ghost type has only three characteristics. For example, you can discover the ghost’s location if he reacts to your Spirit Box. But not all ghosts have the Spirit Box characteristic, in which case nothing happens.

Phase one: find the ghost

Phasmophobia find the ghost

(Image credit: Kinetic Games)

As a beginning player, you will have access to the EMF (electromagnetic field) Reader. This is a very useful device to take with you, as it measures fluctuations in paranormal (ghost) activity. It shows a score between 1 and 5 (green to red), with 5 being the highest. Walk around the building with the reader in your hand to see if you can get a sign of the ghost’s presence.

An even better tool for locating the ghost, is the Thermometer. Unlike the other items mentioned here, the Thermometer is not part of the Starter Items, meaning that you must buy it in the store before the game starts. But no worries; you should have enough in-game cash after just a few missions. It will help you discover low temperatures, which indicates the presence of a ghost. If it drops below -10 degrees Celsius or 50 degrees Fahrenheit, you have found the Haunted Room. 

After using these, you can take the UV light and see if you can spot any fingerprints. Fingerprints are unlikely to show up immediately as the ghost is probably not very active yet, so don’t start out with this tool. Once there has been some ghost activity, walk around with it and see if anything lights up. Don’t skip the doors! 

Perhaps the most interesting way to discover the right location, is using the Spirit Box. If you’re alone in a dark room, you can ask the ghost questions and see if he answers. Yes, with your real voice! It is not the most efficient way to detect ghost activity as it takes a lot of time to do this in every room. Use it once you have a general idea of where you should be.

Phase two: identify the ghost type

Phasmophobia identify the ghost type

(Image credit: Kinetic Games)

By finding the haunted room in phase one, you should have discovered some things. You may, for example, know that this ghost can cause freezing, or that he can talk through the Spirit Box. Now it’s time to find the final pieces of the puzzle.

Every ghost possesses three of the following characteristics:

  • EMF-5
  • Freezing temperatures
  • Fingerprints 
  • Spirit box
  • Ghost orbs
  • Ghost writing

You can use the EMF-5, Thermometer, UV light and Spirit Box as described in phase one, if you haven’t already done so. To figure out if the ghost has the ghost orbs characteristic, place a camera in the haunted room. Make sure the light is green before you place it, not red. Go back to the truck to watch the room on the screen. Do you see a tiny spot floating around? That’s a ghost orb!

To check whether the ghost can do ghost writing, take the Ghost Writing Book and place it in the haunted room. It can take a while before the writing appears, so don’t be too quick to dismiss this possibility. 

You have all the intel you need by now. All there’s left to do is go back to the truck and use the journal (press J). You can add all your clues in there, and you can see all 12 ghost types plus their characteristics. After entering in the correct type, you can finish the game by pressing the button next to the truck door again.

How to not get killed

Phasmophobia How to not get killed

(Image credit: Kinetic Games)

If you think this sounds easy, you’re going to be disappointed: there’s a good chance you will get killed before completing the investigation. To prevent this from happening, try not to provoke the ghost and keep an eye on your sanity level.

Try to keep the balance: if you don’t disturb the ghost, it won’t kill you. But if you don’t disturb it, it will not be active and you won’t find any clues. Check the ghost activity levels in the truck (lower right screen). If it’s low, the ghost is shy and you need to provoke it more. If it’s high, you will get plenty of clues, but you must be very careful.

Every player starts out 100% sane. However, being in the dark, being alone, spotting a ghost, and witnessing paranormal activities will make it drop. That’s dangerous, because the lower your sanity level falls, the higher the chance a ghost will attack you. The best way to prevent this, is by staying in the light as often as you can.

Mind that the ghost will react to the average level of sanity of all players inside the house. It’s therefore not a good idea to leave the teammate with the lowest sanity behind while others return to the Truck. You can see the team’s sanity levels on the lower left screen inside the truck.

If you’re unlucky, the ghost may start a Hunt. This means that the ghost is now corporeal and will try to kill players. All the exit doors of the building will be locked. You can try to hide in a closet, or simply keep running until the hunt is over. If you play on Amateur difficulty though, the ghost will not attack for the first five minutes unless you repeatedly say the ghost’s name or use a Ouija board.

A few more Phasmophobia tips

A few more Phasmophobia tips

(Image credit: Kinetic Games)
  • Many new players are unaware of the possibility to keep your flashlight on while using other items. You can easily do this by swapping to another item, and then pressing T.
  • If you think the sprinting ability is broken; it’s not. ‘Sprinting’ in Phasmophobia is just a form of walking a little less slowly.
  • Don’t forget to pick up the house key in the truck. 
  • It is very tempting to turn on every light in the house. However, turning on too many may shut down electricity for the rest of the game.
  • If you decide to go back to the truck to grab some new tools, consider leaving the rest in the house for later use.  
Marloes Valentina Stella

I’m a freelance journalist who (surprise!) kind of has a thing for videogames. When I’m not working on guides for GamesRadar, you can probably find me somewhere in Teyvat, Novigrad, or Whiterun. Unless I’m feeling competitive, in which case you should try Erangel. You can also find my words on PCGamesN, Fanbyte, PCGamer, Polygon, Esports Insider, and Game Rant.