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Chuck's Challenge 3D Review

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On 12/05/2013 at 06:00 AM by Matt R

Hey Kickstarter people with too much money on your hands: how about trying to fix Social Security?

For those 10 and under, unless you're nostalgic for Chip's Challenge or really like level creators.

If you were given 13 grand, would you use it to make a sequel to an Atari Lynx puzzle game? I can't say that would be my first choice, and I bet it wouldn't be yours either, but could nearly 400 Kickstarter backers go wrong? (I can see Takedown: Red Sabre players are reaching for pitchforks; easy, folks, this is nothing like that. Stand down.) Another adventure in crowdfunding has resurrected one man's decades-long dream, and after playing the final product via Desura, I consider my brain partially teased, moderately amused.

If you've played the original Chip's Challenge, you'll feel right at home, but anyone can easily jump in. This is a modernized version of what a sequel to that game would've been like, with some additional features like an unlimited undo button and colorful environments that can be zoomed in and out and rotated for different perspectives. It's easy: just get to the exit portal.

There are a respectable 125 brain teasers (25 easy, 75 medium, and 25 hard) that are all laid out on square grid floors. In the vast majority of them your little purple character moves boxes onto a switch to open up a gate that might, say, give you a key to open up the next part of the level where more boxes need to be pushed or switches stepped on, or a set number of thingies needs to be collected, and so on.

There are levels with switch-controlled robot drones, zip lines, slippery ice, water hazards, one-step-only platforms, enemies that wander around in patterns or mirror your movements, bombs that have to be avoided, and all sorts of permutations of all or some of them, but most of this game is not hard or even very challenging, even with an undo button. When it is hard, it's usually because the small, enclosed spaces only give one pathway to victory, only one correct way to push a series of boxes to completion or escaping through a swarm of one-hit-death enemies, and in these cases luck and trial and error will frequently trump the usefulness of the undo button.

If I haven't mentioned this yet, this game has lots and lots of box-pushing puzzles with so very many different combinations and variations that it can become tedious, so I wouldn't recommend it to those over 10. It just whips away at the same ideas like an ant smacking its antennae against the backs of a flock of aphids just for a drop of honeydew. In my book, there's not enough honeydew to bump its score above average. There's a level creator and upload feature and plenty of high score potential with the leaderboard, and enough hard levels to keep even adults occupied for a little while, so the effort is at least respectable. One can hope this indie developer can Kickstart some of these challenges into a bigger and better thing in the future.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



Matt Snee Staff Writer

12/05/2013 at 06:34 AM

A modern sequel to a Lynx game?  That's nuts.  (I had a Lynx as a kid -- California Games ruled!)

Jamie Alston Staff Writer

12/05/2013 at 09:52 AM

Atari Lynx-- now there's a name I haven't heard spoken in a loooong time.  I never heard of Chip's Challenge before, but it nice to know the history behind Chuck's Challenge 3D anyway.  I wonder if fans of the Lynx will buy this just based on nostalgia alone.

Matt R Staff Alumnus

12/05/2013 at 10:46 PM

Ants and aphids: it's a real thing!

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