This beautiful summer is in full swing, so what better time to go inside, draw the curtains, and unwind with a weird anthology of spooky indies? Last month, the Haunted PS1 community reunited to release C.H.A.I.N.G.E.D. – a collection of over 30 bizarre shorts, where your choices at the end of one game leads to a different game made by different developers. Each one loosely follows on from the games preceding them, even though they bury past art styles, perspectives, music, and ideas.
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C.H.A.I.N.G.E.D. is a conceptual follow-up to 2020’s C.H.A.I.N, which also stitched together varied shorts from different devs. This time though, the games on offer aren’t strictly confined to haunt ‘em ups, hair-raisers, and sleep-ruiners. There are on-rails shooters. Low-poly Animal Crossing lookalikes. Marble flinging boss fights against the Antichrist. Third-person sword fights against the Antichrist. (Admittedly there are a lot of ways to kill the Antichrist.) They’re not entirely unrelated to each other, though.
The start of the collection casts you as a mother (Catherine) whose daughter (Lucy) has just been abducted by a home invader (the Antichrist.) With the help of a friend (God Of Time Chronos), you can either travel to Wyoming or Kyoto to stop the son of evil, but that breaks the timeline in two and creates separate branches which continue to web out depending on your choices. That all leads to some great (and messy) time-space-multiverse mishaps.
Earth’s genesis or pre-history? Save your daughter or save the timeline? Become the Antichrist or kill the Antichrist? Each choice leads to a new game, but the twist is that the developers were only aware of the games preceding them. Similarly to how the multiverse operates in comics, that means each branch interprets and reinterprets similar themes, characters, and plot points in unique ways, with little consistency, as it should be. Although there are a pocket of threads that do lead to something more definitely ‘canon’.
Games last between a couple of minutes to, at most, 15 minutes. So, even if you stumble across a tape that you don’t enjoy, you’ll surely be done with it in no time.
You can download C.H.A.I.N.G.E.D (or Chronological Haunted Anomalous Interconnected Narrative Guide Each Decision) on Itch, for free.