Chasm is far from the only game that is built around a sense of nostalgia for the video games that a lot of avid gamers remember from their childhood. What makes it stand out from the wealth of stylistically retro games released on the Nintendo Switch is the vast and unique world it allows you to explore.
On the surface, the story of Chasm seems like the fairly standard sort you’d find in any classic fantasy RPG. You are a recruit sent on a mission to earn your place as a knight for the Guildean Kingdom. You begin on top of a castle and are sent by an elder to investigate the mysterious closure of a local mine.
The adventure takes place below the ground as you search the labyrinth of tunnels in which monsters roam. You have to rescue the trapped miners and villagers and defeat increasingly difficult boss monsters to ultimately restore the mine to its former glory for the good of your kingdom.
Chasm sell itself on the uniqueness of its map, boasting hand-designed rooms that fall together into a new map with each run.
To this end, you are given a lot of save files so that you can play over and over again without losing any of the novelty of the exploration. You are also given seed codes to share the map you have revealed with other players.
This makes for a near inexhaustible wealth of gameplay hours as long as you don’t get bored of 2D dungeon crawling.
The atmosphere of the game is exactly what you want it to be. The art style expertly blends the fluidity of motion afforded by contemporary technology with an 8-bit style that nails the nostalgic vibe. The music enhances this with a retro funk underlaid by deep, ominous notes that swell as you get deeper into the chasm and closer to the danger.
Even the instructions of the game are written with a certain medieval flair, found in scrolls scattered throughout your adventure. A lot of them are nestled within lore that make even the most basic of tutorials seem interesting. You get a lot of information about the story world through them. In the early stages, while you’re still in the castle waiting for your instructions, this creates a wonderful sense of a full and vibrant world waiting outside for you to explore.
Once you’re in the mine, you have complete freedom to explore. You find hostile creatures and sometimes treasure chests containing valuable items that give you a boost as you go on. The villains you come up against are decently challenging. The books you find and the conversations you have with the people you meet along the way are charmingly written in a way that absorbs you into the game.
With a lot of similarly styled games on the market right now, the vastness and the creativity of Chasm makes for a really fun take on a popular theme.