One of the earliest PC games I remember being genuinely obsessed with was a side-scrolling action RPG platformer called Zeliard.
After a long and mighty struggle, I got the game and was pleased to find that it would still run on the old IBM XT compatible we had at the time.
For many hours we would fight through the underground labyrinths of Zeliard to reclaim the Tears of Esmesanti, defeat the evil Jashiin and reverse the petrification of beautiful Princess Felicia.
What an amazing surprise, then, when I discovered Chasm, an action RPG in the spirit of Zeliard with a modern twist — randomised dungeons.
Others refer to it as a “Metroidvania” game, including the developer himself, but that is simply because there is a grand conspiracy to deny Zeliard the recognition it deserves.
I’ve heard it argued that Metroidvania does sound cooler than “Zeliard-like”, “Diabliard”, or “Zeliaroid”, or that Metroid and Castlevania were more widely played, but that doesn’t mean the conspiracy isn’t real.
Chasm — the Zeliard-like we need right now
After a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013, Chasm went on pre-order through the Humble Store, which is where I picked it up and got access to the Alpha in 2014.
In Chasm, you are a soldier passing through the mining town of Karthas after a long war, only to find yourself magically trapped there by the supernatural forces that have been awakened below.
Much like Zeliard, you venture into the underground caverns filled with traps and monsters to track down this evil and slay it.
You may buy or pick up weapons, armour, and other useful items along the way, and may discover special manuscripts that unlock special moves, such as sliding and mantling off the edges of platforms and walls.
Since the Kickstarter and Alpha sales, Discord Games has been renamed to Bit Kid, and the game’s release date was pushed from May 2014 to “TBA”. Sony has also confirmed that Chasm will be coming to PlayStation 4.
Development on the game continues, but Bit Kid has decided to stop selling the game until it is officially released.
With Chasm not yet available (or not available anymore, depending on how you look at it) I do feel a little guilty for leaving you high and dry.
If an infinitely replayable action RPG is what you’re after these holidays, may I recommend that you fire up Diablo 3 again, if you haven’t in awhile?
Blizzard has been updating the game on a regular schedule, introducing significant changes to the way classes play through modifications to sets, and legendary items.
May your holidays be filled with demon-slaying and a blessed RNG.