Bit Kid (studio)
09 November 2018 (released)
19 November 2018
This year has been an amazing year for indie inspired Metro-Vania titles. For those who may not be familiar with the genre, Metroidvania games place the players into a massive environment filled with puzzles, battles and encourages a deep level of exploration to find vital loot and gear. So games like Hollow Knight and Dead Cells have stolen the spotlight in 2018 but now another game has entered centre stage. With its release on Steam in July, Chasm was a successful Kickstarter campaign but left many with mixed feelings. Well it’s out now on consoles and I’m here to tell you whether or not you should check this out.
Chasm is the simple tale of a young knight who is given the chance to prove themselves to their elders and save the day at the same time. Our brave hero is asked to head to a Mining town based in the mountains and find the missing town’s folk who were abducted by strange creaturesin the middle of the night. It appears that the town’s folk were taken underground and our young Knight must travel deep under the town to save everyone they can. However, our knight finds a network of long, forgotten places that have been dead and buried for quite some time. Although there is something very much alive within the depths of the Chasm and it’s something very evil. So guess what? You have to defeat it.
So the main objectives for players is to venture through the underground labyrinth while saving villagers and fighting off the legions of evil creatures that lurk below. Chasm is structured much in the same way as any classic Metroidvania game and offers an expansive world where players need to find vital gear to unlock new regions, fight masses of creatures and take part in extensive exploration to find loot and hidden rewards.
One of Chasm’s neatest dynamics is that each town’s person you find offers a new element to the game, whether it’s minor such as offering a small reward or allowing players to buy/sell gear and loot. It’s vital to find these guys as some of them are extremely important and can make your live much easier. For example there’s Sam, the person who sells health, mana and other potions and without him, you’ll be relying heavily on food which is scared. But adding another layer to this character is the capability of unlocking new potions by finding recipes on the map, thus adding more useful tactics for the player to use such as slowing down time. There are other characters with the same type of function and can be easily missed, making the game a whole lot harder.
It’s a neat idea and pushes player exploration to a whole new level. There are plenty of secrets to uncover and as you progress, new keys and items will help you find more. The world is vastly engaging and harbours all the right elements a great Metroidvania map should have.
Combat is varied with a large arrangement of enemies which have their own behaviours and tactics. Most carry out a single attack but often enough you’ll come across multiple combinations and learning their moves will take time to effectively deflect and defeat. One of the main issues however is the difficulty within the first act of the game. Chasm is pretty tough before you find some of the more useful villagers who sell potions, weapons and things which are actually help out. So with low skills, stats and resources, things can be a little slow and tedious with a sense of trial and error in the gameplay. But it could last longer, depending if you find the right villagers soon enough.
But once you get the right perks, the ability to buy potions and sell goods for extra monies, Chasm does become more balanced if not a little too easy. I found myself defeating a majority of bosses without breaking a sweat and this was a little disappointing. So I recommend people who’ve played this type of game before to go straight for hard mode.
The environments are designed beautifully with a high level of detail. The soundtrack is awesome and I loved all the small touches, such as how spouts of flames pop out of enemies when they die (same as Castlevania: Symphony of the Night) or something more obscure like the structure of the first area playing out like a classic Metroidvania game.
Chasm does randomly generate the world’s structured which is interesting but doesn’t change much in the overall experience. What can be annoying are the clunky controls, where jumping can be a massive time in the more complex areas which require a massive amount of platforming and some areas feel a little unbalanced with some layouts and enemy placements forcing damage on the player and being extremely difficult to avoid it.
Now before I proceed with my final verdict, I want to say the following. Dead Cells and Hollow Knight are Metroidvania games at heart with a dynamic element to make it vastly different. Now Chasm has received some grief on Steam and I can only think of one real reason. It’s a safe experience that does well to replicate all the best elements of a classic Metroidvania game but doesn’t do anything to advance the formula. But overall, it’s a great game that fans of the genre will highly enjoy. While I do like Dead Cells and Hollow Knight, both games had some big problems and I kind of left them to gather dust on my hard drive. Chasm is easy to get into and vastly gripping once things get going.
While it’s a little easy (I recommend playing on hard mode) and some of the controls suffer like a rusty tank, Chasm is pretty darn entertaining and a solid Metrovania experience. It does little to make it original but it’s a huge amount of fun none the less.
+ Looks and Sounds great
+ Solid Metroidvania gameplay
+ Interesting dynamic with the Town’s People
- Can be a little too easy
- Clunky controls for platforming
An Xbox One copy of Chasm was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.