Game developers never cease to surprise me with what a team can do with pixel animations. Just when you think you’ve seen everything; a studio comes out of left field with something you never thought of. Chippy is a twin-stick, bullet hell game where the player takes control of Chippy, a cute, pixel spaceship. It is the player’s job to take out fourteen unique bosses by chipping parts off of them (get the name now?) and destroying their cores. The unique thing about Chippy is that wherever you shoot, you can break off parts of the bosses. This happens by destroying the pixels and when you completely sever a part it gets destroyed. Chippy offers a ton of drop in fun but leaves more to be desired for longer periods of play.
At its core, Chippy is a very simple game. As soon as you boot the game up, you are immediately dropped into the frantic combat that is a bullet hell game. There is no explanation as to why you are doing the things you are doing; you just start fighting. There really isn’t even a proper tutorial for the game either, you just better know what you’re getting yourself into when you read the description of the game. Now, normally the lack of a tutorial in a game is a sign of bad design, but with a genre of game like this that has been around for a while now, it is forgivable. After taking out the first boss you are brought back to the main menu where you can see how you stack up against other players on the leader board. You can sort this through different mediums like if you wanted to see global stats, stats from your friends, or if you just wanted to see your personal times. Each boss has their own leader board to see who can defeat them the fastest.
When you pick a boss to fight you are immediately dropped into the game. Each boss has different phases as you destroy their cores, fights never end after just one kill. Chippy fires a rapid single fire shot to try and take down each boss. There are powerups that you can pick up that help you passively or are available to activate to sway the tide of battle. Chippy can pickup a damage buff or a shield that you don’t have to activate that will buff him during a fight. The shields basically give you a free death card, allowing you to be hit and still go on with the fight. In Chippy, getting hit means certain death, so you have to be conscious of everything that is going on around you. Powerups are typically sent out in pairs and you have to choose one and the other one gets destroyed. This makes your choices matter because sometimes you are choosing between a damage buff and a shield, or a shield and an active ability. Active abilities come in many different forms like being able to freeze the enemy bullets for a period of time or gaining a turret that fires with you for a duration. Sometimes, a powerup will have a red aura about it, which means that it is typically a high level powerup but will spawn something dangerous to make your battle harder.
These fights are by no means a walk in the park either. Chippy will challenge even the veterans of the genre with new mechanics with each fight. So far, my favorite boss has to be the second one you fight, called the Kraken. Aptly named, the Kraken will grow more tentacles with each stage that you defeat, giving him access to more moves and defenses. The Kraken will launch out bubbles that won’t hurt you, but when you hit them, they pop and send you flying in a direction. This becomes troublesome when you get surrounded by giant bubbles and need to pop them to get out but lose all control of your ship and get destroyed by a thousand bullets. Needless to say, these fights will keep you on your toes at all times. The difficulty curve is fairly steep, as even the second fight had me rolling up my sleeves and focusing more. Chippy will challenge you, plain and simple.
There isn’t much else to the game unfortunately. Chippy comes packed with fourteen different boss fights, each with differing mechanics and skill levels. You will be challenged for some time, but those looking for a longer period of play will feel like the game lacks content. Aside from clearing out all of the bosses, your replayability is going to come from trying to beat the scores on the leader boards and figuring out different tactics to beat each boss. If you live for a challenge and love bullet hell games, then Chippy just might be the game for you.
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