Developer: Facepunch Studios
Publisher: Facepunch Studios
Genre: Twin-Stick, Bullet-Hell, Shooter
Release Date: 15.06.19
Price: £11.39 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
Somehow, Chippy had not been used as the name for a video game, until now. From Facepunch Studios (developers of Rust) comes this twin-stick shooter that’s all about breaking apart giant transforming sprawling bosses. Early on, I was holding my eyes open, unable to blink as I avoided the onslaught directed at me until tears rolled down my face. But does Chippy crumble under the weight of its ambition, or does it run circles around the competition? Read on in this Rapid Review to find out.
Chippy is a dual-stick bullet hell, not unlike Geometry Wars, taking place in a rectangular arena. Where it differs from Geometry wars is that each level is discreet in design, taking you up against one of 14 bosses. The way that you battle with each boss is unique though, and not merely a case of “shoot the big glowy-thing.” Early bosses can be defeated with such an approach, but you are quickly incentivized to make use of Chippy’s primary gimmick. You are not chipping away health like you might assume based on the name; instead, you are chipping off pieces of the boss pixel by pixel to take down the defences of the bosses main “glowy-thing.”
Each boss has a series of shield generators that you will have to disable, either through shooting them a bunch or disconnecting them from the main body of the boss. You separate the body and generator by slowly chipping away at the limbs connecting the two. One boss is a giant mass of plant matter, that can regrow recently destroyed pieces at set intervals, and eventually even regrow certain shield generators. This makes the boss more than just an exercise in not getting hit, but also executing your game plan with speed and precision as well. This makes it a puzzle game in some ways, as there are a variety of ways you can tackle each boss and the order in which you can execute specific sequences of the fight.
I was impressed with the way that the fights evolve and change, requiring the player never to utilise the exact same strategy twice. While making short, focused attacks on small weak-points will help you take down some bosses, and others require extended hit and run strategy as space spiders are chasing you. And the strategy can even change within each fight, as they transform for each stage and become larger and more dangerous.
Throughout each stage, you’ll be presented with powerups that you can pick-up, often with some risk or trade-off attached. The most common instance is to have a choice between two powerups, with the one left unchosen disappearing. Other examples are booby-trapped powerups that will activate some obstacle to be avoided. These can be both one-time attacks or last through the remainder of the stage. It’s up to the player to determine whether it’s worth it to pick up that extra damage in exchange for an additional obstacle or two in the level. Shields are common (and useful as you usually die within one hit), as is extra damage, but you will also find dashes, turrets, and many other powerups throughout the game.
Another thing you’ll find in each level is fantastic music. It’s remarkably great at helping you focus your attention on the game and draw you away from any other distractions you might have. I was instantly grooving to each and every song the game presented to me. The worst thing I can say about it is that you spend a long time listening to each song, as the songs are level specific and restart when you start a level over. But even that is a small complaint because it’s a great soundtrack for fighting space spiders.
It also has a very clean look. It is not overly pixelated, despite the pixel-based nature of its destruction. It isn’t excessively busy, which makes it easy to read the screen and understand what is happening and where threats are coming from. It also makes it easy to identify weak points on your enemies, even while you’re dodging a wide variety of attacks. Each boss also has a unique visual style that makes them unique. While they’re all based on the same base node, which is your target, the construction and style of the bodies are vastly different. This along with the small bits of taunting dialogue the bosses throw in your direction, gives each boss more personality than you might expect.
Currently, there are 14 bosses in the game, and the developers have plans to continue adding on to Chippy with even more content. They’ve already released a roadmap for their new content which includes things like gameplay tweaks, ship customization, new levels, and plans for Steam Workshop support which will allow players to create and share their own levels. Once these things are implemented, I can see this already good game becoming great.
For those who enjoy bullet-hell games, Chippy seems primed to become a modern classic with tons of reasons to keep coming back, beyond just improving times and leaderboard positions. The base experience is enjoyable and will only be made better as Facepunch Studios continue to build on it. For the rest, if you enjoy a genuinely challenging experience with the backing of a solid soundtrack and stylish visuals you’ll find something to latch onto in Chippy.
Rapid Reviews UK Rating
You can purchase CHIPPY from the Steam Store using the link below.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.