Beyond the Chiron Gate
- 2022 video game
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Never before did I crave to read every bit of text a mobile game had to offer. And I had a good reason to do so: once I’d have left, all I couldn’t explore was lost forever.
Beyond the Chiron Gate is the newest (released in 2022) entry in interactive fiction games by John Ayliff, a solo indie game developer whose other works might already be familiar to you if you read previous reviews on this very website (see Eloquence’s review of Seedship). And this game is the first one of Ayliff’s to be charged, at a (hefty) $10 price tag.
Overall, the feeling of wonder that gets you through text and the beautiful soundtrack is the main fuel of this game. It’s what kept me going until I reached the ending (which there seems to be many of!). Let me explain the setting: a probe discovered a weird thing at asteroid 2060 Chiron. Turns out, it’s a Gate to unknown reaches of space. And you get to manage a spaceship, a crew, and discover new technologies in your quest to uncover the secrets of this awesome - yet dangerous - mean of transportation, and, if you are good enough at this role, to harness it for the betterment of mankind!
Unless you’re playing like a douchebag and don’t mind getting your crew members dying over and over again, the average play time is about 2 hours. It’s a tad long to achieve in a single sitting, but this is what I recommend you do, as you will be fully “immersed” in the setting.
The game has you managing a few resources, none of them being particularly difficult to get or keep, yet you will sometimes feel like you’ll never have enough. And trust me, you won’t. The same applies for your crew members : they can get injured, or even die, and in the former case they’ll need some time to recover before being “recruitable” again for your crew. And you’ll regret not having a xenobiologist available when you are desperately craving those forsaken xeno research points!
To put things in a nutshell: Beyond the Chiron Gate is fun, especially when you want to relax in the couch or the bed with your phone. And it’s definitely a huge step up from Ayliff’s previous catalog. However, given its $10 price tag, it suffers from the repetitiveness of some of the events that occur, sometimes making the game feel “shallow” while it often demonstrates otherwise.
Yet Ayliff’s been making these Sci-Fi interactive fiction games for quite a while now, and all of them were available for free. Thus, I actually don’t mind paying $10 for Beyond the Chiron Gate. I had a great time playing it, and will certainly come back to it if the urge to explore the unexplored hits me again.
Stay safe, commander. No one knows what lies behind the Gate.