Imagine the scene; Chuck Sommerville – the creator of Chip’s Challenge – is chilling out with a cocktail when he is abducted by Woop the alien. He wants Chuck to make him puzzles to solve, he is not keen but eventually he agrees and sets about creating puzzle challenges for Woop to complete, as a character within the game.
The game is viewed from a top down perspective; each puzzle requires you to get Woop to the exit, a swirling blue vortex. The puzzles range from the basic, moving blocks to clear a passage, meanwhile other levels require you to pickup little power ups to allow you to walk on water or Lava to help you on your way. Sometimes you will come across electrical barriers that will require you to collect F.I.S.H. (Fuel In Silicon Housing) to remove them.
There are plenty of characters, or ‘pets’ as Woop calls them, to come across too. The first ones you meet are Snappy and Nibbles, normally Snappy is really helpful by moving in patterns to help you reach the exit, but don’t move them about too much otherwise they become Nibbles and you’ll be for it. There are plenty of other characters with their own unique characteristics to encounter later on in the game too.
If things don’t go plan in a level you have the ability to rewind each move you make, rather than having to replay the whole level, though really each puzzle is designed to be completed within a couple of minutes so it’s not the end of the world if you need to start again. In fact it’s a big positive for me; you can play the game in quick bursts without having to commit large amounts of time to the game. Depending on how quickly you complete a level you will get a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal, so there is always a reason to go back to try and better your times.
Unfortunately the control scheme is a real let down, there is an on screen d-pad in the bottom right corner of the screen and I found it a real pain to use. At times it was unresponsive and when it did respond it felt very slow, not helpful when trying to improve your times. There are other control modes though they aren’t much better, the joystick is over sensitive and swiping feels like it doesn’t work, I felt like I had no control over Woop at times and it led to needless deaths and times much slower than I would have liked.
There are two other modes which add some extra playing time to the game. Race mode gives you the chance to go up against your friends to see who is able to complete the different puzzles the fastest. There is also a Create mode, which gives you the ability to harness your inner Chuck to design levels which can then be shared with your friends. Anything you see in the different levels can be built into your customised levels. I spent longer in this mode than I thought I would and ended up having quite good fun. Another nice feature is Puzzle of the week which you can download for your puzzle solving pleasure.
There are 25 puzzles to start you off and they are free, if you wish to play on more maps then you’ll need to pay. If you enjoy a good puzzler then this could be another game to add to your iPhone Pile of Shame. The control scheme are a real let down though but hopefully they can be improved in future updates.
MLG Rating: 6/10 Platform: iOS Release Date: 02/12/2011
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a digital copy of Chuck’s Challenge for review purposes by the promoter. The title was reviewed over the course of one week on an iPhone. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.