For a lot of people, Chasm is a bit of a dream game in terms of the genre mashups it’s boasting. Looking at the Kickstarter campaign page drops names like Metroid, Castlevania, and The Legend of Zelda, with a sprinkle of Diablo for good measure. But if every Kickstarter that just listed great games was funded, then the internet would be out of money and full of dissatisfaction because most of them would fail to deliver. Luckily, over $190,000 worth of trust and excitement says Chasm will have a much happier ending.
While at E3, I was able to get some hands-on time with the game as one of the team members walked me through everything. Based on what I’ve seen so far, it really seems like an amazing combination of the four franchises I listed before.
The levels are designed just like Metroid, complete with lots of platforming and enemies. The map slowly unveils itself to you as you play and fills in your map as you go along. And like Castlevania, it’s a full-on RPG as well, with tons of items to find, equipment to collect, and stats to increase. The Zelda influence is apparently in the sword-based combat and general stylistic influences. And finally, Diablo shows its influence with all of the loot and varying levels while exploring. Chasm is like a delicious melting pot of gaming influences.
One of the most striking visual elements of Chasm is the quality of the pixel art. I’m a sucker for this stuff and the folks at Discord are extremely talented. By not having a black outline around the character and enemy sprites, everything blends together into the environment to provide a much more thematically immersive design. When in motion, the visuals look even better.
It doesn’t stop there though. A melting pot wouldn’t be much if some unique flavors weren’t added to spice it up a bit as well. One of my favorite elements is the elegant and effective ledge-grabbing system. It adds a new layer to the platforming by opening up the ability to design areas in new ways. Several of the puzzles had me dropping down to grab a ledge, waiting for enemies to pass by, and timing my jumps while avoiding obstacles. Jumping wasn’t floaty at all and the controls were super-tight and precise.
As I progressed further into the game, I started to notice treasure chests sprinkled throughout levels. My gamer instincts kicked in and no matter what was inside the chest, I had to risk my life to do whatever it took to get that chest. Most of the time it just had gold or some health potions that I didn’t need, but one time, that one fateful time during the demo, I found a better sword. Yes! Gotta love that sweet, tasty loot!
But best of all are the lengths to which Discord has gone to make sure that each time you play the game it’s a brand new experience. They’ve designed the game in such a way that your game world is created using a unique generated seed. That seed number determines not only the placement and order of the rooms, but also which enemies and items appear in which locations. They joked that this would help prevent people from just looking up where to go on YouTube, which is true as long as people don’t copy the seed number just to mirror the game. Another result of that though, is that it should make Let’s Plays and Streams even more interesting, because things will be different for each player. Smart design decisions by Discord!
If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, then keep an eye out for more information about Chasm. DIscord Games is planning to release it on the PlayStation 4 and Steam later this summer.