It’s Finally Time to Fall Into the Depths of Chasm

It’s been a long time coming but the years of work have finally paid off with the release of Chasm.  The game first showed up on Kickstarter and Greenlight with a demo that was a little on the rough side, but with very nice pixel art to help ease its early nature.  The campaign did pretty ok for itself, blowing past the initial target and snagging a pair of stretch goals to boot, and then the Bit Kid Games got down to serious work polishing and expanding Chasm into its current incredible shape.  A little over five years after the Kickstarter’s completion (and four years after its initial estimated delivery date) Chasm is done and released, and the result is a phenomenal roguelike/metroidvania that’s grown far beyond its humble beginnings.

A new recruit gets his first assignment and it turns out to be, of course, far bigger and more challenging than his commanding officer could have ever expected.  A small village has sent a cry for help after finding something strange in its mines and, by the time the soldier-trainee arrives, the village is deserted.  Seeing as the mines is where the trouble originated it seems the best place to go searching for them, so it’s off into the depths to see what you can turn up.  As it turns out, there’s a whole lot of monsters filling up the tunnels between you and the villagers’ salvation.  Each rescue villager brings a new option to the town, whether it be magic, weapons, or a game of chance, but nobody’s giving anything away for free.

Each new game is based on a seed, so while the depths of Chasm are reliable each time you go down there every time you start a new game it’s a new adventure.  The cave layout is all-new so the exploration is relatively fresh even if you’ve got experience with the monster attack patterns.  The soldier isn’t exactly a tank and, while he can soak up a good number of hits, the damage is to be taken seriously.  Save points are spaced a decent way apart, and death gets a Game Over rather than a kind-hearted offer to revive back at the village.  This makes progress slow but steady, with death feeling like the natural result of impatience or carelessness rather than being unfair.

While this isn’t a review I will say I’ve been massively enjoying my time with Chasm so far, thanks to its fantastic art, a great soundtrack, and a nice combination of platforming and combat.  One of the only problems I’ve got, in fact, is that there’s a fairly low-protection piece of headgear that gives you an avian companion.  You could makes a valid point that, as new gear becomes available, it’s smarter to dump something with higher defense into the helm slot, but it would fail to take into account the all-important counterpoint- My hat is a bird.  Your argument is invalid.