Chasing Static - Review - Xbox
Over the last year I have really re-fallen in love with low-poly, retro like video games. Maybe it's my love of the original Playstation and is bulky, jarring 3D models (looking at you nightmare fuel Hagrid!), but I'm instantly drawn to a game when I see that kind of art style. That's why I was extremely looking forward to playing Chasing Static from Headware games. Originally released on the PC in October 2021 and now ported to the Xbox consoles in 2023 thanks to Ratalaika Games - Chasing Static is a psychological horror short story set in the untouched wilderness of rural Wales. I'm not sure why all these PSX graphical style games always seem to be horror themed but I guess its to do with the grainy aesthetic adding to the creepiness of it all? It's taken a while for me to get around to this review. At the time of launch on Xbox the game had alot of issues. Lots of bugs and achievements not popping etc. This has since been rectified with an update or two so I thought it was finally time to jump in!
The story: In the dead of night a fierce storm rages across North Wales. Miles from any town, Chris Selwood seeks refuge in a remote roadside café. Shortly thereafter Chris experiences a horrific sight as he finds the café waitress pinned to the ceiling by something with fierce glowing eyes, he passes out waking up to the dusty old abandoned remains of the café. Explore the untouched wilderness of rural Wales as you uncover the forgotten remains of a mysterious facility and try to piece together what happened to the missing villagers of Hearth.
Inspired by 80s Sci-Fi horror and contemporary surrealist cinema, Chasing Static delivers a unique take on the narrative adventure genre through new audio driven gameplay mechanics and non-linear exploration.
The game features audio driven gameplay mechanics that have you hunting anomalies with an experimental Frequency Displacement Monitoring Device. You can explore the world of Chasing Static at your own pace, uncovering it's secrets in any order you please. You will be exploring a selection of locations, solving puzzles and finding echoes from the past using the monitoring device. Graphically even though the developers have gone with an old school low poly aesthetic, the environments are very detailed and atmospheric. The graphical style really heightens the overall experience as the grainy visuals and blocky models make everything look that much more creepy. The audio is decent as well, with the voice acting throughout the game keeping up a good standard. The whole game really gives me the nostalgia vibe of playing games like Silent Hill which is a great achievement. The game isn't too long either, with a playthrough coming in at under three hours. This isn't a complaint though as it means the game maintains your attention and keeps ups the atmosphere without overstaying its welcome. Achievement hunters will need to play through the game a couple of times to pick up the full 1000g too.
Playing through Chasing Static was a nice nostalgia like trip back to the era of the 1990's horror gaming classics. The game features some great environments and atmosphere and it was a game I could start and complete in a single sitting. It does feel more like a horror walking simulator than action game, but the slower pace also adds to the sense of dread as you progress slowly through the story. After a very rocky launch I didn't come across any bugs/issues so I assume all the major problems have now been fixed as well! TOTAL SCORE: 7.5/10
Chasing Static was released onto the Xbox store on January 12th 2023. It's playable on the Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S console. The game is priced at £12.99 and can be purchased HERE. A copy of the game was provided for this review. A big thanks for that.