After 23 years, Chip’s Challenge 2 has been released. But is it good?
Originally completed in 1992, Chip’s Challenge 2 has been stuck in a legal quagmire for the last 23 years due to trademark disputes. Thankfully for fans of the series, Chuck Sommerville has finally been able to get the trademark back, and has released the game via Steam.
That being said, Chip’s Challenge 2 has been delivered in a form which likely resembles what the game was when development originally finished. The graphics retain a simplistic charm, and the game generally looks and feels as if, well, you’re playing something from 1992. System requirements are astonishingly low, and match only that of what Steam needs to run (512 MB of RAM, 1GHZ processor). I suspect the game could very well get by on an old 486 processor, if you could get the game on the machine.
But with this retro-focused delivery comes some drawbacks. Most notably, the game is limited to playing in a small window, and there is no way to re-size said window or enter a full-screen mode. This is an odd choice, especially given that extra development was seemingly done for this Steam release. Steam Achievements, trading cards, and even Steam Cloud support are all there, so taking the time to add full screen support would have been a welcome addition.
Gameplay is also very much like that of a game from 1992. There are no checkpoints, no ability to rewind, and no way to undo a mistake. In a game where some puzzles are trial and error, this can get frustrating quite quickly. Move your character left one space too far, or push a block the wrong way, and you’ll have to start the puzzle over again. None of the puzzles are incredibly long, but the impatient gamer may get unduly upset. That said, the ability to rewind the game would cheapen the experience, and would remove the challenge presented within.
This isn’t a game that I can play for hours on end without taking a break. I simply don’t have the patience to rush through and solve all 200 levels at once. But, it’s a game I keep coming back to, completing 5-10 puzzles at a time . It’s a game that I, when not playing, end up thinking about. And for me, a game that gets stuck in my mind, that makes me think about playing it when I’m not, is a good game.
If you’re a fan of the series, or puzzle games as a genre, I recommend it. If you’ve never heard of or played Chip’s Challenge, give it a shot. You’ll find a rewarding and challenging experience.