Reviews - Updated on April 11, 2022

For the gaming industry, five years is a very long time. Approximately so much time, for example, lasted Wii U, which was discontinued in January 2018. The Chasm metroidvania fundraiser started on Kickstarter in April 2013, and since then Hollow Knight, Dead Cells, Ori and the Blind Forest, and many other great games have seen the light of day. And all of them either offered something new for the genre, or looked unusual. Five years ago, Chasm also seemed to be something original and interesting.

According to the classics

The developers were inspired by the old Castlevania games, especially Symphony of the Night, which they announced during the Kickstarter campaign. Therefore, Chasm has a lot in common with the classic Konami: and – in part – the visual style, and lamps and lamps hanging from the ceilings, which can be broken with one blow, and magical tricks. The character gradually acquires new abilities and will later be able to cling to ledges, bounce off walls and make tackles, although this is now typical for any game of this type.

And although the project cannot be called an exact copy of Castlevania, it does not seem to be something new either. The main “trick” of Chasm was the procedural generation of levels – all the rooms are drawn by hand, but their order will be different with each new passage. You will hardly ever see the version that I went through, but you can exchange numbers with friends and the community if you especially liked some arrangement of rooms. According to the authors, you will want to replay the game either immediately or after a few months or years, and thanks to a different level structure, the process will become less dreary.

Unfortunately, this feature is one of the main disadvantages of Chasm. Good “metroidvanias” like players, including due to the well-thought-out design of locations. Developers place hidden passages, secret rooms and other surprises that open access to treasure chests or generally shorten the path to another region, as is done in Hollow Knight. Here, the generation sometimes occurs in such a way that you see a room of the same type two or three times in a row. The opponents are the same, they are located in the same place, and the transitions to neighboring zones are in the same places.

Chasm game review

The archaeologist constantly shares new finds with the hero.

An idea that has been implemented in many roguelikes for a long time is out of place in Chasm. It does nothing and is simply useless. You save in certain rooms, after death you are reborn in them, you cannot completely lose the earned progress, and in case of death, nothing in the game world changes. Probably, the ability to play the “perfect” version of Chasm will be useful for “speedrunners”, but for the average user, it is of no use. Yes, and this is clearly not the kind of game that you want to return to.

Everything has already been seen

If we forget about random generation, Chasm cannot boast of anything else interesting. You stop following history very quickly – you learn some new details from conversations with an archaeologist looking for the reasons for the disappearance of an ancient civilization, others from notes and notes scattered around the rooms. There is no mysterious universe here, the details of which you collect bit by bit from the descriptions of enemies and objects, just as there is no desire to read notes with 20 lines of continuous text. Against the backdrop of Iconoclasts, it looks too out of date, even if you consider that it was intended to be so.

During the journey, the hero meets the inhabitants of the settlement, who, after being rescued from the cells, go to the surface and engage in trade. Someone cooks food, which is here instead of first-aid kits, someone brews potions or makes equipment, one of the characters opens a store with magic tricks. Former captives do not make any discounts and ask for money for everything, but at the same time they issue small optional assignments like requests to find their lost things somewhere in the depths of the dungeon. Some merchants are easy to get to, while others can’t be reached until you acquire the right skill.

To do this, you have to return to the old locations, open the map and see which rooms, for one reason or another, left unexplored. But this is done very inconveniently. All zones are quite large, and even with passages that shorten the path from one point to another, it takes a long time to get to the desired room (and back). And when you get to it and use a new ability, instead of a prisoner, there will most likely be a chest with an item that is weaker than yours. What is the point in such secrets if you should have received the things hidden there long before you got into them?

Chasm game review

Intermediate “bosses” are not as dangerous as the usual ones, but they can also fray your nerves.

These chests would be much more useful if they contained mountains of gold, because the chances of dropping items and coins in Chasm are too small. You can clear the entire location with several dozen rooms and never see at least some healing food. And when a character has 10 health points left, and you haven’t saved for a long time, a problem arises. You either bravely move forward, dying ridiculously due to falling into the poisonous water, or run back to the save point and restore health there, wasting several minutes. There is another option – to leave and enter the same room, killing opponents and trying to level up, which will also replenish the supply of “lives”.

Later, this shortcoming will become less noticeable, especially when you figure out what the characteristics of the character are here for. The game does not explain this in any way, but the chances of obtaining an item are affected by the luck indicator, which can be increased by accessories or high-quality equipment. As a result, coins will fall out of almost every broken lamp, and the game will become much more interesting. You can buy powerful weapons, dress in good armor, buy all the food and brew the necessary potions, and at the same time get a scroll of teleportation to the settlement. But before the onset of this moment, about four hours will pass, and this is about half the game.

You wouldn’t have to worry about health so much if the combat system was normal, but they also tried to make it look like the old Castlevania. Therefore, the character stands in a pillar for a second after making a blow and is not able to cancel the attack. At the same time, an “exploit” was transferred here with the ability to strike with a sword in the air and immediately perform the next attack while standing on the ground. This makes any fight much easier, so you will use this move right up to the final, even though it looks ridiculous. What will definitely not be useful is the rebound, which often leads to failure and loss of health.

The double strike technique is useful in any situation, but it makes the already dreary battles more boring. Many enemies try to hit the character, after which they stand still or back away for a couple of seconds, and at these moments they can easily be damaged twice. The opponents themselves are as unoriginal as it can be: rats, wasps, kobolds, golems, mages, spiders – all this got sick of it many years ago. Yes, and the “bosses” are uninteresting, a couple of days after the passage, it was difficult for me to remember at least half of them.

Chasm game review

The inability to cancel an attack often leads to such situations.

***

For all its shortcomings, strong>Chasm is far from the worst metroidvania. It’s just that five years ago there weren’t such a huge number of such games on the market, but now the audience’s needs are different. Almost no one is trying to make a new Castlevania or directly copy the features of some other classic games, most bring innovation, offer a modern look. And Chasm tries to look like its predecessor from years ago, but in the end suffers from poor location design, an awkward combat system, and an odd balance.

Pros: fans of the series will surely like the similarity with the old Castlevania; nice graphics; exploring the levels is sometimes interesting.

Cons: repetitive rooms within the same location; boring enemy design; mediocre history; uncomfortable “combat”; in the first half of the game there is too little money and “healers”; the only innovation turned out to be useless.

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