Making a good video game is a pretty difficult job. There are so many factors that you have to consider in order to make something that players will actually enjoy. You have to come up with a good gameplay loop, nice graphics to look at, intelligent enemy A.I., an engrossing story, a way for players to know what their objective or goal is, and so on. It's the kind of task that's usually best left to an entire development team, rather than just one person.
Because if you do try to handle it all yourself, you might end up with something like Chaos.
Oh Chaos, How Do I Even Begin With You?
The story, as far as I can decipher, is that you come from a world that's slowly dying, so you're on a mission to find a new home. You and your brother head to a planet where previous explorers have gone missing, and you both crash land there. Now you must find your brother's ship (because you both traveled alone for some reason), and explore the vast, orangey-red wilderness of this planet.
At least I'm pretty sure that's the story, as it was delivered in a monotone voice by someone who I assume was the game's developer, and it was drowned out by the opening music. Also, the player-controlled character may or may not be a cat person of some kind?
From there, you're off into the wild world of Chaos. The game is ostensibly an open-world first-person shooter where you go around blasting aliens and uncovering some kind of planet-wide mystery. Here's the problem though: you know how when you start a game like that, you're usually given something like an objective, or a map, or even just a marker of some kind to walk to? Chaos doesn't give you that. You start the game in your crashed ship, you walk outside, and you're just in the game.
I've Played Walking Simulators That Had Less Walking Than This
So, what do you do next? Oh, you start walking. You walk, and you walk, and you continue to walk some more. Maybe you might find a house with a note inside, and nothing else. So you continue to walk. Maybe you might encounter an enemy, but they won't even notice you until you literally walk right up to their face and introduce yourself. Only then will you engage in some fairly generic combat that ends with a dead alien. What's your reward for killing this alien? Why you can keep walking, of course, for the path is now clear. If you want to spice things up a bit, you can even run!
The entirety of my playing this game was spent walking around, wondering where the hell I was supposed to go. I'd wander into houses hoping that I'd find something that would give me some kind of mission or direction, but all I found were notes that looked like they came right out of The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, along with the occasional key. What door did that key open? Beats me!
There's literally nothing to do. I walked around for hours, praying for something to happen, but aside from the day turning to night and some enemies remembering that they should probably attack me at some point, Chaos is an empty void.
Everything Else Is Also Bad
Graphically, everything looks like it was pieced together using pre-existing assets, and it looks pretty good... if this game had come out in 2004. Textures pop in and disappear, you're able to just walk through rocks and other scenery, and despite this game looking like Garry's Mod running on a toaster, the framerate will just randomly chug for no reason. Multiple times I thought the game had just outright frozen, only for it to come back to life several seconds later.
Maybe if there were some kind of interesting art design this would all be fine, but everything is so bland, yet odd. There are some interesting attempts at ideas, but the opening area is just red grass and blurry rocks for large stretches, houses that look like they were built by villagers from Skyrim, and the rest of the areas are equally dull. The enemy design isn't much better. The main enemy I ran into looked like a Muppet Babies version of a Xenomorph.
Finally, there's the sound design. Everything sounds like it was pulled from a free online library of non-licensed sound effects. When I was walking, my footsteps would actually keep going long after I'd stopped moving. The only saving grace is that the music is pretty tolerable, but definitely not anything special. In fact, it sounds like something you'd hear in the background of a gym, so if you need some tunes for your spin class, then this soundtrack will probably work just fine.
No. Just Absolutely No
Look, I feel a little bad going so hard on this game, because it was obviously a passion project by the developer. A lot of people dream about making games, and the fact that this person actually went and did it is definitely worth some applause.
The problem is that this game would barely pass as a student project in a first-year game design program. But you know how much this game costs? 22 dollars! This game expects you to pay 22 actual, human dollars in order to play it. It might have been OK if this had been free, or $2, or $3, or maybe even 5 bucks, but that's pushing it. Charging nearly 25 dollars for a game this broken, boring, and bland is absolutely astounding. There are incredible indie games that offer outstanding gameplay and story that retail for less than 10 dollars. I do believe a portion of the sales go towards a suicide prevention charity, which is great, but not enough to justify this high of a price tag.
The only positive thing I can say for this game is that it's almost worth playing to witness how hilariously bad it is. If there's a Mystery Science Theater 3000 for video games, then Chaos would be Manos: The Hands Of Fate.
1 Out Of 5 Stars
A review copy of Chaos was provided to TheGamer for this review. Chaos is available now on PC.