Chasm (PC) Preview

http://youtu.be/-6O0aLIi6CM As we walked the floor at PAX East 2014 this year, we each decided we were going to pick out our personal “Game of Show.” Oriech has already spoken […]

http://youtu.be/-6O0aLIi6CM

As we walked the floor at PAX East 2014 this year, we each decided we were going to pick out our personal “Game of Show.” Oriech has already spoken about his, and for Phawx you’ll hear soon enough. As for me? The choice was a difficult one. Even if we limited ourselves to the Indie area, there were still dozens of games worth playing. After having a taste of as many as possible, the one that locked the top spot for me was Chasm. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since you just watched a video about it. (Incidentally, the creepy bearded guy in the Kangol hat is me.)

Why did I like the game? Well, there are a few things that I really search for in games. I love any game with an exploration element. When I play a game, I usually shoot for 100% completion, and exploration games like Metroid and the modern versions of Castlevania wring every last drop of detail of their maps. Metroidvania games are the only games where I don’t get sick of backtracking, because invariably each trip through the game has me equipped with new abilities which make traversing the levels feel different. Seriously, I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent traipsing through Metroidvania games after getting a double jump, looking for the ledges that were just out of reach before.

My other obsession in games, and this is a fairly recent one, is roguelike-likes. Procedural games with super-steep learning curves, loads of items, volumes of things you need to know and nothing but trial and error to work it all out. I played Nethack (didn’t go so far as playing Rogue itself), and then Binding of Isaac came along and ate most of my summer one year. I love that each game is randomly generated, giving you a fresh playthrough whenever you die (and you’ll die oh-so-many times). Even Permadeath has an allure to me. Imagine my joy, then, when adding rogue-like elements into games of other genres became the latest fad. (I should have made a drinking game out of the number of times I heard the word “procedural” on the show floor.)

I was therefore extatic, and a little confused, when I discovered Chasm, a game that combines all of my personal video game cravings into one tidy package. It even looks like the games of old. This, of course, is by design. The graphics in this game took me right back to the Super Nintendo days, combining depth and simplicity, personality with nostalgia. Good stuff.

What interested me most when I learned that there was a procedural Metroidvania game was how such a thing was possible. After all, enormous care has to be put into designing such a game to prevent overeager players from finding ways to access areas intended to be inaccessible until you find the proper powerup. From chatting with the devs, it seems that the game takes a hybrid approach, mixing and matching low level game elements with each new game, but keeping the higher level stuff like the location and usage of navigational powerups intact.

I only got a few minutes to play the game, but I was quickly pleased to find that the controls and feel harkened back to the classics of the genre just as much as the visuals.

The game is headed for Steam and DRM-free forms this fall, hitting on Mac, PC, and Linux. I’ll be keeping an eye out for it, I suggest you do, too. You can learn more about it from the developers themselves, Discord Games.

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About Decoychunk

Editor, Writer, and general Knower-Of-Words, if there is text to be read on BrainLazy, Joseph Lallo probably has his fingerprints on it. As the final third of the ownership and foundation of BrainLazy, Joseph “Jo” Lallo made a name for himself when he lost the “e” from his nickname in an arm wrestling match with a witch doctor. Residing in the arid lowlands of the American Southwest, Joseph Lallo is a small, herbivorous, rabbit-like creature with the horns of an antelope. He sleeps belly up, and his milk can be used for medicinal purposes. Joseph Lallo is also author of several books, including The Book of Deacon Series, book 1 of which is available for free here.