PSX 2015: Chasm Hands-On Preview – ‘Vania Mania

December 9, 2015 Written by Chandler Wood

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Metroidvania games are a dime a dozen these days. Procedural generation is either done really well, or feels like a way to artificially increase the length and replayability of a game. Chasm — a game which falls into both categories — seeks to buck the trend, offering something familiar, yet different enough to not fall into the same rut as those before. 

If a game like Axiom Verge lands on the “metroid” side of Metroidvania, then Chasm is the “vania.” This is the first thing that I was told when I sit down with one of the devs for a demo, and it shows. Chasm feels much more grounded, and the aesthetic is swords and dungeons instead of lasers and sci-fi.

While they wanted to go with procedural generation to bring a new experience , it was also important that the game feel handcrafted, instead of assets haphazardly thrown together by a computer. To remedy this, each “room” is handcrafted by a human, and the order of the rooms is mostly randomized (the first part of each area is set up to make sure you get the equipment and abilities that you need to progress). Think Rogue Legacy. This enables Chasm to feel like it has a lot of heart despite being a procedural experience.

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Speaking of Rogue Legacy, it must be said that Chasm is tough. Platforming is not easy. Certain places require precise timing to things such as jumping up a series of disappearing platforms — which I embarrassingly failed at more times than I would like to admit. Combat is unforgiving, especially when just jumping in and beginning to play. However, a bit of patience will make even tough areas manageable, and that’s the precise delight of games such as this.

Boss characters are difficult but have a specific pattern, that when learned, can be exploited by experienced players By the time I came through and tried out the game, only two other people had managed to defeat the demo’s boss — a large ghostly phantom that quickly whittled down my health with the help of a myriad of green fireballs. 

Chasm will definitely be a game to keep an eye on if you’re a fan of the metroidvania style, Chasm will fill that spot while taking a procedural twist to keep every new playthrough feeling like a fresh experience.

Chasm does not currently have a release date but is scheduled for PS4 and PC sometime in 2016.