I need puzzle games before bedtime the way bees need honey, so I was beyond delighted to get my hands on a copy of publisher Nkidu’s first game, Chuck’s Challenge 3D. I’d heard great things about the 1989 puzzler Chip’s Challenge, and though many years have passed since its precursor, I assumed Chuck’s Challenge 3D would be great. I wasn’t disappointed. The developer, Niffler, has done a fantastic job creating a puzzle game without that typical repetitive feel.
In my experience, puzzle games have little, if any, backstory. Chuck’s Challenge 3D turns that notion on its head. You play as Woop, an adorable purple creature that summons Chuck, a game creator, so that Chuck can create games for Woop to play. It goes without saying that traditional expectations would dictate the reverse, so I was interested in the game right away. Here’s what some of Chuck’s challenges look like:Graphics
I loved the overall layout of this game, especially the puzzles. The bright colors and quirky graphics were visually pleasing. The design also pays attention to shapes, with the same polygons and patterns repeating throughout in a visually appealing theme.
I was most pleased with Woop, though. There’s something about solving puzzles as this adorable guy that makes it more worthwhile. Maybe it’s his tiny teeth.Sound
This was a tough category to pin down, which is actually a compliment. I think the game came together seamlessly, so I really had to listen for any variations in what I was hearing. The music itself is charming, but doesn’t distract from the puzzle solving. Collecting objects on the map, such as keys, will lead to some pleasant sound effects. I personally loved clomping around on magnets for this exact reason.Gameplay
As you may have gathered from my introduction, the first night I played Chuck’s Challenge 3D, I only meant to get in a relaxing hour before bed. This, dear reader, was not the case.
The game started out easy enough. Push some blocks. Use them to cross some water. Flip a switch now and then. I was all set for sleep when things got just a little more difficult. And then a little more.
Of course mechanics repeat themselves, such as pushing blocks into water in order to cross it, but new ones are regularly introduced, continuously scaling up the difficulty in a way that almost feels adaptive. I had to be faster, more responsive, as obstacles began firing at me. Levels were no longer passive. I was forced to do more than vegetate when solving these puzzles, which was a great.
A definite competitor for the main attraction in Chuck’s Challenge 3D is Create mode. After you’ve built a level in Create mode, you can then share it with the community. I especially enjoyed playing through these user generated levels. It kept the game fresh for me and provided challenges from different perspectives. If that isn’t enough to keep you playing regularly, there’s also a weekly puzzle to solve to compare your stats with the community. And hats.User Interface
You can choose to play Chuck’s Challenge 3D with a keyboard, a mouse, or a controller. I found the keyboard controls to be the easiest to use, as the mouse control was a bit less responsive. The controller function was not available at the time of this review, but will be upon release.
Because the menus are so simple, the user interface didn’t feel like another puzzle to solve. The levels themselves are fun to navigate through, and none of the clicking or maneuvering I had to do to get around the game’s numerous options was cumbersome. Further, if I made a mistake on a map, I could click to go back a step in the top left corner of the screen as many times as I needed to.
I barely scratched the surface in Create mode, but was thoroughly impressed with the ease of using these tools. The process of dropping in whatever obstacles and challenges I wanted was very intuitive, and the resources were easy to manage. There are still tons of combinations and layouts I didn’t try, and I’m looking forward to doing so.The End!
This game will be available February 28th! Click here to purchase it on Steam.
Developer: Niffler | Website: http://www.chuckschallenge.com/