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Game Info:

Chip’s Challenge 1
Developed by: Niffler Ltd
Published by: Nkidu Games
Release Date: May 28, 2015
Available on: PC
Genre: Puzzle
Number of Players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Not rated
Price: $1.99

Thank you Nkidu Games for sending us this game to review!

Chip’s Challenge was originally released in 1989 as a launch title for the Atari Lynx.  Because of the poor reception of the Lynx, this classic game was ported onto other platforms including the Commodore 64 and Amiga.  Many older gamers played this game on Windows 3.1 as it was released in the Microsoft Entertainment Pack 4 that came out in 1991.  The 2015 Steam release has animated sprites, a different backdrop, and public domain ragtime music from Scott Joplin.  The rest of the game and its interface is very old school. 

When launched, the title music of The Entertainer (played by many ice cream trucks near me) will set the mood as the game’s story appears on the screen.  Nerdy Chip McCallahan is eating his lunch as his crush, Melinda the mental marvel, issues him a challenge.  If he can complete it, he’ll be welcome to join her computer club, the Bit Busters.  He accepts the challenge and the journey begins!

Chip's Challenge 1
Highlights:

Strong Points: Challenging puzzler that has a lot of levels for $2
Weak Points: No control mapping; no check points or quick saves
Moral Warnings: Cartoon violence

The first few levels serve as tutorials to show you the ropes of chip collecting, environment manipulation, and enemy behavior.  After the tutorials, the difficulty ramps up significantly as this game earns the challenge part of its title.  There are close to one hundred and fifty levels and there is an option to skip the current level if your blood pressure is rising.  If you want to unlock the twenty-four Steam achievements, you’ll have to complete all of them.

Each level has a limited amount of time and a set number of computer chips required to collect in order to unlock the exit portal.  Many of the levels involve collecting various colored keys to unlock similarly colored doors.  These doors often lead to several hazards like water, ice, fire, and conveyor belts that make traversing them difficult unless you have the proper footwear equipped.  Be wary of thieves that steal your collected tools that are required to complete the level.  

In the event of a theft or unintentional mistake, the level can get reset by pressing the escape key.  The timer doesn’t begin until Chip is moved by the WASD keys.  I was surprised to find that the arrow keys or game controllers are not available for use in this game.

 

Chip's Challenge 1
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 72%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 3/5

Morality Score - 96%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

There are many ways to die and when that happens, Chip says “Bummer” in a humorous monotone voice.  While I found it amusing the first few times, it didn’t take long before the deaths got to be rather annoying.  Even though most of them were earned, a few of them left me wondering why it happened.  All of the deaths had me wishing that there was a quick save or check point system in place.

There are a wide variety of enemies to contend with including spiders, chattering teeth, tanks, slime, and rocket ships.  Most of the foes move in a predictable pattern, but it’s not always the case.  Many of the enemies share the limitation that they cannot cross dirt paths so be sure to use that to your advantage.

The enemies are only of half the battle; the other half is the environment.  There are many movable blocks that have to be pushed in a certain way to proceed.  One wrong move and you’ll have to restart the level which is a pain if you mess up after collecting multiple chips.  Another struggle is identifying the hidden wall entrances or remembering which blocks NOT to push to detonate buried mines.  Moving dirt is required to make paths in water or to bury cherry bombs before they explode on you.

Other than the cartoon violence, Chip’s Challenge is fun for people of all ages.  My kids enjoyed watching me die/play and want to have this game installed on their PCs.  The asking price of $1.99 is very reasonable for the amount of content in this classic game.  There’s a bundle available for Chip’s Challenge 1 &2 for $4.99.  The sequel sells for $4.99 so you may as well get the first game for free in the bundle.

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About Us:

Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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