Bit Kid Inc. has just released Chasm, a Metroidvania-style platformer with procedurally-generated room placement for PC, PS4, and PS Vita. The game follows a knight from the Guildean Kingdom who gets sent to the mining town of Karthas on his first mission, only to find it abandoned. If an effort to save its villages, players delve into the mines and uncover a much deeper world-threatening problem.
While the game should be fairly familiar to Metroidvania fans, it can be just as tough as the retro games that inspired it. There are also a few things I wish I knew during my first run through the game: that’s why I’ve complied a list of seven useful tips that you should keep in mind when playing Chasm.
1) Save all the villagers…or don’t, for a challenge.
Chasm is a Metroidvania at heart, and one of the main “collectibles” that players can find are the villagers of Karthas, who were kidnapped and trapped in cages throughout the mines. After finding each of these individuals, they will return to Karthas and you can visit them. Each of the townsfolk serves a purpose — Narina sells magic items, Dom is the blacksmith, and Wynn will let you satisfy your gambling addiction at a simple slot machine.
These townsfolk also entice you to explore the game’s massive areas, which should give you a good feeling for the game’s unique procedural generation system. If you do decide to not get the townsfolk, Chasm becomes much harder, so I’d recommend new players go out of their way to find them. That being said, ignoring these people in need should provide a decent challenge for genre veterans, or those who have played the game multiple times.
2) Complete the Villagers’ side quests.
After saving every townsfolk, their respective shop or feature will open up to you; that being said, a side quest that expands their abilities is also given to players, and these are missions worth doing. Like I mentioned before, Karthas’ NPCs are only here to help you, and completing their side quests just bolsters their abilities. Completing side quests gives you access to things like the ability to craft items, which becomes very useful later on in the game.
While some of these items may have you scouring the environment or depending on random item drops, they are worth doing. The enhancements they bring only make Chasm more enjoyable, and give you a better feel for the game’s world.
3) Always be on the lookout for the next Save Room.
Chasm can be quite brutal and unforgiving, especially towards the beginning of the game. The game does get more manageable in the latter half as you level up and find better weapons, but you’ll be dying quite a bit in Chasm‘s early areas. You can only save within special Save Room Shrines, so it’s always a good idea to look out for these. If you’ve gone quite a bit without seeing one, Chasm has likely procedurally placed one nearby.
It’s even worth backtracking to one if things get tricky so you don’t lose lucrative levels and items. While this may seem a little frustrating and repetitive, consistently saving in these rooms will save you the pain of having to redo around an hour of the game, take it from me. Karthas also has an easily accessible Save Shrine, so you can also go back there to save, if need be.
4) Save wisely before entering The Temple and The Magma Chamber.
The Temple is Chasm’s most annoying area: it relies heavily on teleportation, which can mix a bit oddly with the game’s procedurally placed rooms. There are no Save Shrines here, only a single portal that will get you back to the mines where you can easily make your ascent out. This area also features some tough enemies and lasers, so be sure to save right before you enter the temple, or even teleport out and save during it so you don’t have to restart the area.
Meanwhile, The Magma Chamber is Chasm‘s final area, and entering it is a point of no return. If you still want to be able to visit Karthas or do anything else before beating Chasm, be sure to save before entering the Magma Chamber. There is a single Save Shrine within this area, so you should also contemplate if there is anything else you need to do before saving there.
5) Remember to consistently upgrade and obtain new weapons and armor.
Chasm‘s late-game enemies have quite a bit of health, so be sure that you’ve adequately upgraded your weapons beforehand. At first, save up gold to purchase new weapons from Dom the blacksmith after you save him. Completing his side quest and gaining the ability to craft is also important, and will give you access to Chasm’s best armor and weapons.
Other than that, random platform challenges scattered throughout each of the game’s areas will usually reward you with a better piece of armor or weaponry. These may seem like simple distractions, but they are worth doing. Enemies can also randomly drop good items, so be sure to pay attention after you kill one to see what they dropped.
6) Explore as much of the gardens as possible in your first time through.
While it may not seem like it at first, The Gardens is Chasm‘s most important area. In addition to being the third area players can discover, it also houses the entrances to The Temple and The Magma Chamber once players have the required items. Exploring and finding every room within The Gardens your first time through will save you the hassle of scouring for these in the late game, which I spent a lot of time doing during my first run.
7) Don’t expect to get complacent on subsequent runs.
Chasm changes with every run due to how its procedural generation works: while each individual room was designed by the developers, they are procedurally placed, making every run different. The game still manages to feel coherent no matter the room placement, but this also means that the game will be keeping you on your toes in future runs.
Chasm will never be the same game twice, which should give it immense replayability, but also means you won’t be familiar with the game and its areas on subsequent playthroughs. You can also spice up a second playthrough by playing it on Mortal difficulty, in which you only have one life to complete Chasm, like a typical roguelike game. Either way, Chasm is the kind of game that will keep you coming back.
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