A Psychedelic Cosmic Horror that fuels the mind
Developed by indie developer Brasstoken The Chant hit platforms this month. On initial glimpse, it looked similar to games like The Quarry. However, after completion of the game, it is clear it’s not of a similar play style. The Chant is a survival horror with combat, dialogue choices, and an intriguing enticing story. Join us here at VIBE as we explore this new title and give our verdict!
Introducing the Island
The main character Jess is whisked off to an island retreat offered by a company named Prismic Science. Jess was invited here by her childhood friend in order to confront and face shared trauma from their past. As soon as Jess arrives on the island she is met with idyllic scenery and it is clear this is the perfect place to heal. The island is surrounded by mountains and forests and is composed of a series of buildings and tents in which the commune is living in. The views are particularly breathtaking and players forget in the first half an hour that the game is a horror installment. However, one downside to the location of the game is there is very limited open-world opportunity. The game areas are linear and involve you going there once you have completed certain tasks rather than being able to free roam.
The Chant focuses on three stats throughout the game. Mind, which is dependent on Jess’ sanity and can be affected by interactions around her. For example, early into the game, we learn that Jess has a chronic fear of flies. This is due to her younger sister drowning and her body being surrounded by flies. Whenever a swarm of flies appears in-game players must control Jess’ mind stat. This ensures it does not empty as she will be in a state of panic. Body, consists of the players’ health and will be affected by combat. Lastly, Spirit is dependent on the player using the spiritual abilities that we will discuss further in the article. Maintaining the three stats is important for survival.
Combat in The Chant consists very much of a cautious combat style. As a result of this, it can become tedious at times. However, it’s clear to players that the enemies within the game are incredibly stronger. There are visual cues that will tell the player when to engage in combat and when to not. For example, if the enemy begins to glow the player can not break this attack and must dodge. The weapons in your arsenal are inventive and creative and they will be explored about weaknesses further on in the article.
The Chant encourages players to craft items that will help with combat. Players are also expected to gather resources together that are on the island such as plants to restore the core stats that were previously mentioned. The crafting is quite straightforward and depends on what resources you have available. This a tip for anyone that is wishing to play. CRAFT, CRAFT, AND CRAFT.
The Bestiary in The Chant is diverse and exciting. There are several different monster types and other variations of monsters. Some are humanoid and some are straight-up monsters similar to that of the Eldritch horrors. These creatures are from another world that those in the commune call the Gloom. It’s very clear that these creatures are out to harm as every opportunity they get they attack the player. As a result of this, ‘The Bestiary’ is a handy tool in order to identify weaknesses and make combat slightly more accessible for the player.
The characters in The Chant are comprised of those living in the commune on the island. It’s clear that each person in the commune is here to confront their own personal demons and is choosing to do so by engaging with their spiritual side. The character models are graphically pleasing. It is increasingly important for the player to pick up notes or any other research lying around the island as it will develop the characters and the story more than just dialogue. Overall, it feels a lot of time has been put into each individual character and why they have come to the island.
For example, Maya the cook of the commune had attended the island after the loss of her son and she wished to confront her trauma and learn from it. The commune offers meditation, rituals, and other aspects to help the characters get in touch with their spiritual side.
The upgrade system for Jess is very simplistic. Players must collect prismatic shards in the island and then choose upgrades from this skill tree. A lot, of the upgrades, are just increasing the amount that things such as health items or spiritual items that will fill the bars. As a result of this, it would make more sense if the upgrades unlocked new combat moves or maybe new spiritual skills. Nonetheless, it is important to try and gather the resources to upgrade.
The story for The Chant focuses on a commune on an island where participants pay mega money to engage in spiritual therapy for past trauma. However, things begin to turn sour when a ritual is interrupted and monsters from another dimension (the gloom) begin to run amok. Primarily, the story focuses on Jess trying to escape this island’s horrors. However, along the way she also uncovers the islands’ past and more about her past. Overall, the story is an interesting and intriguing part of the game. Players will find themselves diving headfirst into such a short game but one bursting with lore and a new world to discover.
As we draw into winter, I hope that my articles will bring you comfort to curl up with and enjoy. I am so excited to be continuing to write for VIBE and to be checking out games for the readers and convincing people to give those hidden gems a go! If you are still unsure about The Chant be sure to check out the trailer below. It’s important to note that The Chant is a short experience but we can’t stress enough how quality over quantity is so important, especially for the horror genre. If you completely disagree about the score for The Chant or have any comments please feel free to get a discussion going. Until next time VIBERS!
26, Indie Game connoisseur. Also a hamster mum, fiancée & working in the addiction field. Gaming and writing are my escape and comfort for when the world gets too much!