Chippy Review – Not Chipping Fun Away

Platforms: PC
Developer/Publisher: Facepunch Studios
Release: 14th June 2019
Price: 12.49

Chippy is indeed a funnily fitting name for a game not many have heard of. For example, simply googling the name may give you quite a few hits for restaurants that seem to make godly fish and chips but not for the actual game you may be searching for. Regardless, you´re hungry afterwards and not just for a Bullet Hell shooter. Luckily Chippy can satisfy you in at least one of those regions, even though it doesn´t offer any fish and isn´t the Fish & Chip simulator you may be hoping for.

Lacking any kind of story, Chippy is mainly focused on 2 things: Beating each stage that consist of only one boss, and reaching the highest score possible. To be honest, I never was much of a score hunter, so whether this may prove an important replayability point is entirely up to you, so I´m gonna judge this game solely based on its gameplay and length with some remarks to the its leaderboards.

As already said, each stage consists of only one boss and there around 14 of them. In theory quite a short experience, though, as some may already heard, Chippy is currently quite a hit and miss for many due to its difficulty. On the one hand, I can totally see that, as the early boss called Kraken already delivers quite a challenge with almost hundreds of projectiles moving on the screen, while bigger ones actually follow you around, keeping you constantly moving. On the other hand, it´s clear to me, Facepunch actually tried to bring a fairness to the whole game and it worked at least for me.

The biggest reason are the quite forgiving projectile hitboxes. I often noticed I had actually touched the borders of some, however, none actually counted unless I was almost in them for two thirds, a system I noticed in pretty much any stage. As a result, getting hit by these many attacks is made quite a lot harder, especially since the ship is pretty tiny, even for the gaps. So I never felt like it was an unfair difficulty or even harder than most other more score based Bullet Hell shooters, that take their playtime from said difficulty.

Another reason why I kept going despite actually dying at every boss quite a few times (so don´t think I´m actually remotely good at this genre) is the great feeling of power in each fight. As the name suggests, Chippy is all about chipping, namely, chipping away the tentacles or other extremeties of the bosses. Since all of them are built out of tiny boxes, similar to pixelart but not as retro-y in terms of presentation, it allows for a very easy way to determine where to attack, how structures are linked together and what parts to attack. Additionally, the colors of them also indicate how much damage they can take and whatnot.

Naturally, because of this very clear conveying of information and the great feeling of power when the bosses lose all their parts, Chippy can be extremely fun and I found myself often enjoying this simple act a whole lot, mainly because there aren´t an games I know of with this design idea. On top of that, the more you destroy, the more powerups are created, which you have to manually pick up, that grant you everything from more damage, faster shooting rate to items that freeze time, make structures super vulnerable or transform enemy bullets into yours, bringing a great dynamic into the mix.

Without a doubt, the pure base gameplay is super fun and offers a good mix between difficulty and rewards for me. Unfortunately, the overall pacing of the fights is more of a mixed bag for me in exchange. First of all, while the fights clearly want to be fast paced, I felt the projectile speed and amount of damage necessary to destroy certain things were just a bit off, making Chippy feel a bit too slow in certain moments while a bit too fast in other ones.

Overall, it´s close enough to still feel good but could profit from less durable bosses and a bit more speed early on. Especially since each stage, and that´s by far my biggest criticism, consists of several stages of the same boss, where they don´t really change up their pattern but just get bigger and more convoluted each time you kill the previous stage. So when you die, it takes way too long to actually progress to the point where you died, making the whole pacing feel even slower.

Except these two though, Chippy doesn´t have many problems, especially in terms of presentation. As I said earlier, I really like the clearness of Chippy´s presentation and geometry, how it conveys information through them but also it´s whole colourful aesthetic. Most bosses are based on real world examples like kraken and manage to incorporate most influences really well. Combined with the vibrating projectiles that convey their type and pattern through colors as well, at least most of the time, I grew really fond of pretty much any visual element. Only the soundtrack was a bit meh, ideling between being too slow or not pulsating enough.

Conclusion

All in all, Chippy is a really fun experience for anyone that can handle a more difficult but fair bullet hell shooter with a unique test. I would even go as far as recommending it to anyone who´s interested got spiked by its premise alone, it´s not an expensive commitment after all and I had a lot of fun.

[A Review Code was provided by Facepunch Studios]