Version Played: Steam – Out Now (£3.99) – Developed & Published By: Village Bench
There’s a real thrill in discovering a wonderful indie title that you just don’t get when you’re playing a big budget blockbuster that everyone’s been discussing to death. Part of it, I think, is the joy of discovery that you just can’t get with AAA games in our always online, social media obsessed world. No matter how much you try and avoid spoilers – or even information on basic game mechanics or screenshots – you’re always going to be going into the game with some sort of knowledge of what to expect.
I realise that in writing this review, I’m ruining the joy of discovery for whoever reads it. The issues that indie games have, however, is that they’re forever fighting a losing battle against games with marketing budgets hundreds of times the entire cost of an indie, as well as the problem of being discovered on digital storefronts in the first place, with so many titles being released on any given day. So, despite perhaps giving you a little taste of what you can expect (and perhaps lessening the element of surprise I experienced), I’m hoping that the benefits of telling you about the game in the first place far outweigh that.
So, what exactly is Killer Chambers? I’m glad you asked.
In Killer Chambers, you’re presented with a series of small rooms – ok, chambers – with the aim of surviving long enough to progress to the next. Your character can jump, duck or even duck-jump (yes, that’s a thing) – and is pretty manoeuvrable. The problem is, these eponymous chambers really are as deadly as the name of the game would suggest, being laden with traps and obstacles that require spectacular reflexes if players want to have any chance of surviving them. Survive for as long as it takes for an hourglass to fill and you can move to the next chamber.
Not wanting to spoil much more of the game – hey, let’s keep some of that joy of discovery intact – I can tell you that it’s wittily written, has a wonderful pixel art style and, despite being very, very challenging it is also ridiculously addictive (and – crucially – the difficulty is never challenging in a way that feels unfair, either). That level of challenge – as gamers of a certain vintage will know – means that when you do finally beat a chamber, there is a real sense of accomplishment. Well, at least until you move on to tearing your hair out over the next chamber you reach.
Yes, this does mean that you’ll be working your way (probably slowly) through one small chamber to the next, over and over again – but please don’t take that the wrong way, as that focus on a single idea means that it’s polished to perfection. It’s a wonderful little game with some neat touches, with some brilliantly implemented sound design (the audio cues are incredibly effective in assisting players with beating chambers). It’s at a reasonable price point that won’t break the bank either.
Killer Chambers is an original title (impressively, it’s by a two person development team, too) with very satisfying gameplay and – though it’s not for players easily discouraged by a high level of challenge – it’s definitely one that I can heartily recommend.
Village Bench kindly provided me with a Killer Chambers code for review purposes.
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