Chasing Static provides a unique horror experience. Chasing Static is a retro psychological horror reminiscent of the PS1 era. The retro polygon look to the art style is a good choice, making it nostalgic yet it doesn’t feel like an old game. You play as Chris who has just recently lost his father in the opening scene. After the funeral Chris stops off at the Last Stop Café where you meet Aneira who asks you to fix the fuse box in the back. Once you finish and go back to her strange paranormal activities start to occur.
As Chris we use the FDMD which is an audio device. Chris is tasked by Helen, a mysterious woman, over the phone that we need to find anomalies using the FDMD. As we find them, it is the anomalies themselves that tell us the story. These anomalies tell stories of other characters which help Chris figure out the truth of what is happening in Hearth. While the mystery unravels it gets more exciting by each anomaly. As we piece together other peoples stories from these anomalies we begin to find out what is truly happening.
A lot of the story is told through notes you can read when you find them. Reading them explains the past and perhaps why these supernatural events are occurring. These notes that have been scattered along Hearth explain a good amount of the story so I would certainly recommend reading over them.
The plot is quite good overall even though admittedly the ending is rather anti climatic, bearing in mind how good the plot was previously. This doesn’t mean the end is bad, but it left me wanting more answers especially as the ending felt sudden. Still the story is interesting nonetheless.
Gameplay wise you can expect an experience like Resident Evil, as you retrieve items from different areas and in turn the items you collect along your journey bring you to more areas. Unlike Resident Evil there is no combat. Chris has to contain three sites where these anomalies have appeared. Once you find these anomalies you can unlock cassette tapes and find the power for each site which contains them. One thing that was a nice touch was the save points. You would take out a camera and take a photo which would save the game in that spot and it would show you photos of all your save points.
It offers exceptional voice acting. Usually for indie games you don’t even get voices for characters, but Chasing Static shocked me (excuse the pun!). The characters felt alive and gave natural responses to events. The dialogue was solid, however the voice actors improved upon the script.
Notably the music is fantastic and reminds me of retro sci fi. I honestly just wish there was more of it, but in the hour and a half it takes to finish it’s just enough. The sound is fantastic, while you walk outside the drops of rain cover you and fill your ears with the soothing beat of rain hitting the ground. Sound isn’t just used to please you. Often you will hear random whispers and creaks that make you feel uneasy. The psychological aspect is developed even further as you hear these sounds because you know there’s nothing close to you.
Chasing Static made an interesting story within a genre that generally struggles with good story telling. The great voice acting and audio really sets it apart from other indie games. For a horror fan this is certainly worth considering as it takes a different approach than most horrors nowadays.