While it’s easy to think of Undertale (and its follow-up, Deltarune) as a one-man project, there’s a very talented team behind it. Today, artist Temmie Chang released a small game, Escaped Chasm, a short story about a sad young girl alone in her house, haunted by dreams of a magical world. It’s heartfelt, full of great art, some very good full-screen animations, and even crams four possible endings into its roughly-half-hour play-time. It’s also free, and to say more would be risking spoilers. So go and give it a spin here on Itch, then check out the trailer and my thoughts below.
Unsurprisingly, Escaped Chasm contains some great music. As you’d guess, it’s from the dev’s pal, Undertale lead Toby Fox, but the music heard on the TV comes courtesy of James Roach. An all-star support cast for what was a personal learning project for Temmie Chang. Assuming you get the ‘good’ ending, the story of Escaped Chasm will act as a prelude to a larger game that she hopes to make some day. Despite only getting half an hour to know this character, her fears and her dreams, I want to find out what happens next, too. Some possibly spoiler’y thoughts below the trailer.
One thing that stuck out for me about Escaped Chasm was its excellent use of colour. The monochrome, mundane blue of its world being shattered (literally) by a lone character in reds and autumnal oranges is effective. It comes just as the girl’s isolation starts to feel a little bit too real and oppressive. The writing is terse but effective, and amplified by cutaways to full-screen art for the things that little 16-bitty sprites can’t fully depict, especially expressions and body language. If this is just Chang’s attempt to learn the tools, then I can’t wait to see what a ‘full’ game from her looks like.
You can grab Escaped Chasm free on Itch, although the developer does mention that using the pay-what-you-want feature helps. There’s also a quick guide in the Extras folder if you want to know how to reach all the endings.