Test – The Chant: survival horror and spiritual retreat

New license signed Prime Matter, The Chant is an old-school survival-horror that tries the card of originality by immersing us in a psychedelic universe.

Publisher Prime Matter delivered a handful of enticing titles this year, including Dolmen and The Last Oricru. He continues his momentum with The Chant, another new license which this time follows in the footsteps of Resident Evil and Silent Hill.

Combat is often hand-to-hand.

Developed by a small newly formed Canadian studio, The Chant is an old school survival-horror that tries to stand out from other titles in the genre with its psychedelic universe. No haunted house or boulevards invaded by zombies here, but a small peaceful island on which a spiritual retreat is organized. The opportunity to get to know the “science of prisms”, the central theme of the game, and its excesses.

Because de facto, not everything will go as planned on the island. During a ritual, a group creates a portal to a parallel dimension, Darkness, from which nightmarish creatures pour out that feed on negative emotions.

If the game manages to brilliantly take advantage of this universe in terms of its aesthetics, with sometimes very successful psychedelic decorations, it must be admitted, the very particular setting of the game will not please everyone. It is not, however, for lack of effort on the part of the developers, who have put the package level narrations with quantity of dialogues and cut-scenes to immerse us in this universe. But the project was probably too ambitious for a small studio and de facto, it is very difficult to feel invested in this quest and this universe. The fault is largely due to a not very sexy cast, uninspiring characters and not necessarily very well played and a scenario in which it is difficult to immerse yourself.

Everything goes wrong during a ritual.

The Chant also has the characteristic of being a very short game. There is a way to finish it in less than 6 hours without too much difficulty. The slowest will undoubtedly see the end of the adventure in 7 or 8 hours of play. And the first chapters are completed in record time. If the developers take their time to teach us the basics of “prismic science”, we often have a hard time understanding these strange – and yet not uninteresting – game mechanics based on spirituality.

De facto, you will face demonic creatures here not with a baseball bat or a revolver but a sage stick and salt jets. You have to admit, it’s a little less sexy, and at the start of the adventure, you’re a little lost with the object crafting system, which requires you to pick up sage and string all the time to “craft ” your weapons. The game’s gameplay is surprisingly rich, to the point that you get a little lost in it at first. It will de facto collect various prisms to improve its skills (its energy, its resistance to darkness, etc.) – not to mention the special skills.

The real originality of the game comes from the presence of three gauges, at the bottom left of the screen. There is a spirituality gauge, a health gauge and a mental gauge. Each time you walk through a dark corridor or are startled by a creature, your mental gauge will deteriorate until you are struck by panic fear, which will cause your character to see the world in black and white and become difficult to control. … You will then have to flee to try to recover your health… Fortunately, each of these gauges can be recharged with elements collected on the ground, such as lavender or ginger. An interesting idea, even if in practice, this system quickly becomes annoying and pushes us to loot massively throughout the game.

Aesthetically, the game is quite successful.

On the gameplay side, The Chant unfortunately tends to be very interventionist. The open game areas are very rare and in fact, it is even difficult to miss the many collectibles during the adventure. We advance in a straight line, looting everything we find on our way, we use objects to solve unfortunately very banal puzzles and we face a hostile creature from time to time. If it looks like a survival horror, The Chant unfortunately tends to be closer to a walking simulator in its gameplay. Because clearly, the combat part is not the most successful. It will be enough most of the time to bludgeon the attack button, to roll to avoid a blow and sometimes to send a handful of salt in the face of the opponent. The fights are not very exciting and are above all very repetitive, despite a certain diversity in the bestiary.

And unfortunately, the gameplay as a whole tends to disappoint: The Chant tries to copy the formula of an old-school Resident Evil at all costs without ever really succeeding. The result is very mixed. Because if the game is not unpleasant to browse, it is difficult to really get excited about a title that is struggling to realize its ideas. Yes, The Chant dares to assert its identity, but it doesn’t necessarily give itself the means to do so, and it’s a shame given the work done on the game universe, its bestiary, its excellent soundtrack and its pretty graphics. .

It should be noted in passing that The Chant comes out with honors on the technical level. It is one of the first “new-gen only” games. Understand by this that it will not run on a PS4 or an Xbox One. The game is visually very successful, but if in terms of details, it stings a bit, especially in terms of the modeling of faces.

If it therefore suffers from annoying flaws, The Chant has the merit of being offered at a decent price. €39.99. What excuse some youthful mistakes, no doubt. But still it will be necessary to be seduced by the very particular universe of the game. One thing is certain, here is a production which does not hesitate to think outside the box.


With its psychedelic universe, The Chant does not hesitate to stand out from other survival horror by offering an inspired graphic universe and original game mechanics. If the formula seduces at the beginning, it is nonetheless very difficult to immerse oneself in “the science of prisms”, the somewhat far-fetched scenario of the game and especially to be convinced by its gameplay, which is practically a replica of old-school Resident Evil. With the difference that here, you won’t be fighting zombies with a shotgun but creatures from another dimension with salt spray and sage stick blows… With its overly simplistic puzzles, its very repetitive fights and its permanent loot, The Chant is struggling to shine. The game is also very short. Count 6 to 7 hours to see the end. At €39.99, we forgive some of its flaws, but we must admit, the title is struggling to really convince. It’s all the more unfortunate that visually, The Chant is a great success, and that the title dared, for once, to think outside the box…

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