Chasm is a solid metroidvania for all kinds of gamers. It offers a difficulty setting and varied enemies that requires you to learn their attack patterns to dodge.
Developer: Bit Kid, Inc.
Publisher: Bit Kid, Inc.
Release date: 31 July, 2018
Chasm is a metroidvania game where you play as a knight delving into a chasm that leads to various regions. There are 5+1 explorable regions in total with a boss fight at the end of each region.
A lot of care was taken into both backgrounds and characters, allowing you to see the beautifully crafted regions. Backgrounds are made in great detail with multiple layers to give some sort of depth to them while still having a unique theme for each region. It’s nice to see the variations given for the enemies too. Some enemies might be of the same type, but they are made differently to distinguish them from the other.
The story is well written to give some context on what’s happening. On the surface, Chasm tells the story of a young knight that embarks on his first mission. Most dialogues are skippable for those who are not interested in such things, although people who want to know more can find more info in the form of journals scattered in the regions. I still didn’t make out how the whole thing happened even after reading them, but at least you get the idea of what’s happening before the main character comes into play.
The game is played like other metroidvanias, featuring interconnected areas with some that require certain items to progress. More items will be obtained as you play, allowing you to reexplore these areas to get optional rewards. However, some of these areas are mandatory to explore, and the game never gives any indication about it. There were times when I was stuck in the game simply because I wanted to obtain as many items as I could before reexploring previous regions.
The game might be randomized on each run, but I don’t find the randomization to be that appealing. They only randomized some rooms while still leaving the important rooms intact. I know that it might be difficult to randomize everything, especially since some areas are tied to progression, but I’d rather play the game without any randomization instead.
The areas can be difficult to traverse at a higher difficulty, mainly because of enemies that can damage you for 1/4 of your HP pool with a single attack. You’ll end up traversing checkpoints to checkpoints later on, retrying it several times until you can clear it without dying if you are not good enough. Sadly, the game will not save your progress whenever you die, so the amount of time that you took to retry these areas can turn into waste. You can always try to consume potions and items to prevent dying, but since the game isn’t generous in giving them nor money that can be used to buy them, you might need to grind to afford it, especially if you use it since the first few regions.
Some platforming sections can be dreadful for those who are not good at platformers. Luckily, most of them are optional and serve as a test to give you some rewards. Moreover, they tend to give non-unique items that can be easily obtained elsewhere, so there’s little reason to get them if you know what the chest contains.
Different types of weapons allow you to choose your weapon of preference. Chasm offers various weapons with different attacking ranges and speeds, with a shorter range weapon having a faster speed and a broader range weapon having a lower speed. I myself got used to a one-handed sword due to its faster attacking speed and tolerable range, although it might be problematic to use for flying enemies; they might slip from my attacking range and deals a lot of damage from that.
Enemies are varied and unique. This applies to all enemies, including the normal enemies. Their attacks might seem to be impossible to dodge at first, but there is always a way to defeat them, whether it’s by using your weapon or magic. It’s fun to learn how their attack works and how to dodge them. The game has somewhat of a difficulty spike in the third region though since there is one enemy that can’t be killed without taking damage due to their way of walking.
Bosses can be tough to beat. All bosses have different and varied attack patterns that need to be dodged. Some attacks can even fill the whole screen, forcing you to dodge them just like in bullet hell games. Luckily, they can always be cheesed with potions if you have a problem with them. In fact, I even used potions on the final boss fight because the save point before the fight is very far from it.
Length and Difficulty
I finished the game in the hard difficulty in 21.8h and replayed the game again for an achievement in 6h. The game offers 4 difficulties, with hard being the third hardest and easy being the easiest difficulty. To be honest, I found the hard difficulty to be hard. I had trouble clearing the area several times and got bored playing the game because of it. It wasn’t fun to retry the area several times and rely on your luck to not getting hit. You can always use potions for these, but I chose not to use them before the very last region because money are quite scarce. You might need to farm money for it, and I’m already occupied with farming enemies to level up and raise my stat already.
Enemies drop rare, unique items. You might spend a significant amount of time grinding for the same enemies over and over to get that rare drop, or even grind enemies just to fulfill a weapon’s requirements to make it stronger. Moreover, the game also has some sort of level system, so you might even need to level up a few times just to be strong enough to clear the areas in a harder difficulty. Luckily, I only had a problem with this in my hard run. The game becomes more enjoyable in the easy difficulty too since I didn’t have to spend time reloading my save over and over because of stupid mistakes.
Dodging can take time to get used to. You didn’t get an iframe for dodging and pressing the left button while dodging will move your character to the right since it always moves backward from where you are facing.
Intel Core i5-9300H 2.40GHz, 8GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
Chasm is a solid metroidvania for all kinds of people. The difficulty helps to adjust it for different kinds of people, while those who still want an extra challenge can try to beat the bosses without taking damage and get rewarded for it. Moreover, there’s also a roguelike mode that can wipe your save if you die if you want to activate it.
The game can be hard at first, but it is fair. Enemies that seem to be impossible to hit with your sword can encourage you to try different weapons or magic, while others that have complicated attack patterns can be dodged if you know what you are doing. I could easily recommend this to those who like metroidvanias, especially the difficult ones.