Chasing Static – Review
Follow Genre: Mystery, Adventure
Developer: Headware Games
Publisher: Ratalaika Games S.L.
Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One / Series X|S, Switch
Tested on: PC

Chasing Static – Review

Site Score
8.3
Good: Nice story, cool nostalgic graphics, great sound design, interesting gameplay
Bad: Short, puzzles are very easy, not really scary
User Score
0
(0 votes)
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Chasing Static is a short narrative game set in the ’90s, where you’ll explore an area haunted by supernatural occurrences, using a peculiar frequency measuring device. This game features nostalgic retro-style visuals and great sound design to immerse you into an interesting world and plot. Even though Halloween may have already passed, there’s no reason not to prolong the spooky season.

Story

This game is narrative-driven and tells the story of Chris, a man who gets lost on the road and ends up in a strange place that seems to be disconnected from the real world. The story takes place somewhere in the ’90s when mobile phones were a thing, but GPS wasn’t common yet. Chris tries to travel back home after attending the funeral of his father, but when he gets lost during a rainstorm he decides to stop at a roadside café to ask for directions and enjoy a cup of coffee. He meets a friendly waitress who’s closing up for the day and promises to show him the way to the nearest village if Chris gives her a ride home through the rain. He agrees, but as he waits for her, the power suddenly goes out. Chris helps her by replacing the burnt-out circuit breaker, but when he returns, he sees the waitress’ mangled corpse being thrown against the ceiling by a strange translucent creature. Upon witnessing this horror, Chris passes out, and when he wakes up again, the café is covered in dust and mold.

Trying to leave the café and its immediate surroundings will prove to be harder than expected. Nonetheless, you try, and you’ll end up exploring the nearby forest to search for help. As you explore, you’ll discover that the café is one of several locations where unexplainable things are happening, and that you are currently trapped in this place detached from reality. Luckily, you’ll manage to get in radio contact with somebody who is also trapped here, and she will guide you through the process needed to eventually escape.

The story is being told via the environment you’ll explore, the objects you’ll encounter, the documents you’ll read, by talking to the mysterious voice answering your call on the radio, and by experiencing the visions from the past. These different aspects deliver the story well, and it makes exploring a lot more fun.

Graphics

The graphics are simple with a distinctive retro style, making it look like the game stems from the era of the very first PlayStation. The models are rather low-poly with simple skins and textures, and the game has a grainy pixelated overlay which makes it look like a 32-bit game. These graphics actually fit really well for a game like this; the old-fashioned looks will put you in a mindset fitting to the era the game is set in, and not being able to see the environment clearly also gives a spooky atmosphere. Also, people who enjoyed playing horror games on the PSX system will instantly be reminded of the look and feel of those games. Static and old-fashioned visual disturbances are used to indicate visions from the past, which fit in well with the grainy visuals.

Sound

The game is fully narrated, and the voice acting is really well done. The soundtrack consists of spooky, ambiance-enhancing music, which really sets the mood for the game. The sound effects are also really well done; the environmental sounds feel natural and realistic, and there’s also plenty of spooky sounds around you, keeping you on edge at all times and properly reminding you that you’re still in a scary place where supernatural things are happening all around you.

Gameplay

Chasing Static is a story-driven exploration game where you’ll gradually learn what happened at this strange place by witnessing visions from the past, while also searching your environment for objects allowing you to progress. There aren’t really any puzzles to solve; the obstacles you’ll encounter are easy to figure out, you’ll just have to find the items necessary to overcome them. As you explore, you’ll collect several useful items in your inventory, like keys, a shovel, or a claw hammer. Generally, it’s pretty clear what you’re supposed to do with these items.

Early in the story, you’ll obtain a strange measuring device called a ‘Frequency Displacement Monitoring Device’, which will detect a certain kind of radio signal, signifying strange and supernatural events. Following these signals will lead you to locations where you’ll be able to witness a vision from the past, and figure out what happened there. The visions often give hints about the locations where you’ll need to go to find the next items you’ll need. This will eventually get the area contained so that are able to leave. Using this device to navigate through the world, and through the story, is a pretty fun game mechanic, which makes you feel like an old-school ghost hunter.

Conclusion

Chasing Static is a pretty good narrative-driven game. The story is nice, and the way it’s being told is interesting and fun. The ‘puzzles’ you’ll encounter aren’t hard to figure out, but you’ll need to do a bit of exploring before you are able to locate the objects that are needed to progress. This way of being led through the story feels natural and keeps the game interesting. The graphical design works really well to create a spooky setting for the game, and the sound design and voice acting is absolutely great and create the proper atmosphere for the game, pulling you deeper down the rabbit hole. This game is recommended for people who like games leading you through an interesting and spooky story, without complex puzzles hampering your progress.

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Anmaja


I'm a LARP writer, freelance teacher and everlasting PhD student, and an avid gamer. Nowadays I game mostly on PC, but I love my retro playstation 1 & 2 as well :) I like watching anime, movies and series, and read books & comics whenever I have time!

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