Here’s a question for you : You are a hero in a world where no heroes are needed, where all evils are vanquished and all quests are completed. What do you do? You enter Chronicon of course, a dungeon crawler RPG developed by Subworld, a company that consists of only one person, Daniel “Squarebit” Stigsjöö.
Chronicon is a dungeon crawler RPG in the vein of Torchlight, Grim Dawn and the early Diablos. In the game you choose one of the four different classes, Templar, Berserker, Warden, and Warlock, enter the Chronicon device that creates a portal into memories and try to relive the old heroic tales of those who saved the world, honouring them in the process.
If you played RPG’s before then the controls of the game will make you feel like home. You move with W,S,A,D, you use your main attack with left click and your skill attack with right click. Of course you have your quick slots for healing and mana potions, for your Scroll of Return or whichever elixir you need to have handy. The familliar keyboard shortcuts for your inventory and quests are also there and if you need to change them, everything is customized from the options. Note that you can also play with gamepad if you prefer.
Chronicon’s hi-res pixel graphics are beautiful and with attention to detail. The animation is simple but definitely nice and it gives life to the world. The dungeons are as dark and as massive as you’d expect, making them feel like a really dangerous place to be. Add to the above the ambient music that sets a mysterious tone to your foray into dungeons and you have a pretty spot on atmosphere for the genre.
This game is the joy of loot hunters. You can follow the main quest or all subquests you will find in the dungeons but really they’re not that interesting and that’s fine, because they’re there to keep you on the move. The fun of the game is in the endles grinding, loot hunting and leveling. In the dungeons you will find many interesting and varied enemies to fight and destroy, from the simple skeletons to ghost wraiths that might overpower you with their abilities. To take them down you search the dungeons’ hallways and rooms for gear, and they are filled with it. Boxes, barrels and chests are there and waiting for you to open them and claim their contents. All gear is random and you might find something that is for another class. That’s ok though because in Chronicon you have a Shared Stash that can transfer items between characters. When you finally find gear for your character then it’s Christmas day.
All items come with different abilities so you will need to think carefully about how you want to level your character. This is great because it caters to many playstyles and adds replayability to the title. You can definitely have different variations of the same class character, for example I chose my Berserker to hit fast, not hard but to regenerate health quickly. You can definitely go with a slow but powerful hitter if you like. Also there are four skill trees for each character that add different attributes to your abilities. You can do extra fire or ice damage with your attacks for example and when you reach level 40 you can unlock your ultimate attack.
As far as gameplay and mechanics go, Chronicon is definitely a well thought out game, apparently made with love by its developer. During my time with it I really enjoyed my dungeon delving, pushing for better gear while excited to see which new enemy will appear in front of me, ready to fall by my fists. I spent a lot of time comparing items and gear trying to find the ones that work best with my playstyle, while moving some of them in the Shared Stash for my other characters.
When I play a game I try to go in blind, without checking information on the internet or the developer’s page. When time came for this preview and I started looking stuff up, I was amazed that all of this was made by a single developer. The quality and the whole experience is going to make you feel like home if you like dungeon crawling rpg’s and you enjoy loot hunting. Chronicon has already 3 worlds to explore, lots of gear and items to find and many hours to spent your time, even though it’s still in Early Access. You can also play with three of your friends on the same pc if you have 3 additional gamepads.
That said, there are a few things that I’d like to point out. There was a bug I encountered when I entered a portal that crashed my game, but that happened only once and fortunately I didn’t loose any progress. Also, the inventory is pretty small and I had to return to Chronicon every 10 minutes to sell all the unwanted items. I didn’t find any way to upgrade the inventory slots so I hope that’ll be added in a future update. As I mentioned above, the story is not that interesting so, if you are one of those players that need something exciting story-wise to keep you going, you might be dissapointed. Finally, I would definitely like to see my gear showing on my character when I equip them, it would personalise the experience even more.
All of the above though are minor problems and are expected from an Early Access release. The developer is working hard, adding more stuff with every update and he is very active on the forums, listening to feedback and talking with the players. In the future he plans to add two more worlds, crafting, a hardcore mode and more gear and items. I believe that even in this form, Chronicon is definitely a game that you should check if you enjoy dungeon crawling rpg’s, especially in the low price that it comes.
Chronicon is available in Early Access form and you can buy it on Steam at the price of 9,99€.
-Dimitris “Dimi Kaye” Kalyvas