Chyrza: A Short Night Vale-ish Horror Story

Seems like a lovely spot for a picnic

If you’re in the mood for an atmospheric short story I’m going to suggest you point your personal computer towards Chyrza and click all the buttons necessary to download and play it.

Developer Kitty Horrorshow refers to it as a first-person flash-fiction horror story. What you’ll find is an abandoned desert village near a mysterious pyramid. Around the edges of the village you’ll see mysterious platforms and pillars to explore, each containing a trigger for the next part of the story.

In terms of the general tone, it’s horror but not of the jumpscare type. The best way I can think of to describe it is as if someone made a game from one of the news items in Welcome To Night Vale. If you know Night Vale, there’s actually an episode where the town is visited by a mysterious philosophical pyramid.

It’s a very short game and I preferred my replays to my initial outing. The reason is that I ended up optimising my route round the structures and triggers so the story had fewer and fewer interruptions involving meandering and working out where I’d already been. I’d also say that visiting the structures in a purposeful loop feels more appropriate for how the story itself plays out. I’ll leave it at that because spoilers but I think you’ll see what I mean when you play.

These stairs. THESE STAIRS.

The only downside? Good lord, climbing the angled steps on one building is a horrible experience. They do that thing where your character catches and judders the whole way up and it yanks you out of the story. I’d say maybe start with that building so you get it out of the way and can enjoy the rest.

6 Comments

  1. alex_v says:

    Eerie, haunting experience. Memorable. Thanks for introducing me to it.

  2. Monggerel says:

    If this ends like Heartwood does (TOTES NOT A JUMPSCAR! I SWARE!) I swear to g-o-d I’ll mumble something disapproving.

    • Harrington says:

      There is one moment that’s a teensy bit jumpscare-y. It gave me a little startle, but perhaps I’m just a wimp.

  3. prof_yaffle says:

    I agree about the similarities with Welcome To Nightvale. Especially the warning message that comes with the game.
    One thing Linux users should be aware of, it suffers from the typical mouse problems that Unity3D games have on Linux of constantly looking upwards. Playing in windowed mode, with a reduced resolution seems to fix the problem.

  4. Zallgrin says:

    I played this and really loved it. The ending particularly was simple, yet really effective and cool. Very confident story that did not falter at any moment.