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Review | Chubbins (Wii U)

Review | Chubbins (Wii U)

by September 29, 2014 0 comments

 

Get hopped-up in the adventure of Chubbins, the bunny.

 

Chubbins, developed by Dahku, is an independently made 2D platformer that emphasizes on maneuverability.  The defining characteristic of Chubbins, is the gameplay that has the player character in a perpetual state of constant bouncing, making this title have formidable challenges within.

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Playing Chubbins is a surreal experience.  From the perverse implications of the title of the game, to the difficulty options given to the player (Soft or Hard) and the nonsensical imagery compounded by the weirdly laid-back, piddling background music- Chubbins’ haphazard imagination is it’s selling point.  Chubbins is also a hard game.  Much of it’s difficulty comes from how much of an eye-strain it can be to stare at such bland geometry while constantly bouncing.  Playing on “Soft” mode, there will be checkpoints scattered through out the level, and moving platforms have a ghost-like track indicating their trajectory.  Playing on “Hard”, Chubbins gets no checkpoints or visible tracks; death makes you start the area from the beginning.  There are a few power-ups that let you cross over color corresponding spikes, but generally don’t make the game more interesting.

 

 

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Bounce height or direction is determined by the properties of the platforms he bounces on, as indicated by the arrows ticking on each box.  Maintaining momentum while bouncing is admittedly gratifying, but when you have to wait or stop to take a moment to time a maneuver around a bouncing badger with a hat, the game becomes a test of patience.  There is some decent platform-hell moments to be enjoyed in Chubbins that evoke memories of [i]Donkey Kong Country[/i], and it’s low points could have probably been rectified if Chubbins had a more engaging soundtrack, instead of what can be best described as flaccid elevator music.

Visually, Chubbins is perplexing.  Chubbins is a rotund white-rabbit with soulless, lifeless eyes, the devil’s eyes, like a doll’s.  The world he lives in is built of sparsely textured, abstract geometric backgrounds that clash with the designs of the morbidly obese critters.  The designs of the characters really could have been colored balls and it would not affect the game at all.  The most interesting moments are the boss-fights, where the most basic of mechanics imaginable are put to imaginative use that can make the game feel like a bullet-hell shooter when having to bounce around one-hit death fireballs.

 

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Who is this game made for exactly?  Chubbins is too hard for children, but it is unlikely that many serious gamers would ever give this game a chance upon first glance.  If the Dahku crew put more effort into their game to look less generic and injected some life into it, people might have given Chubbins more attention.  There is a reasonable amount of content for the price point ($4.99) and the challenge will certainly lengthen the trials within, however there are more worthwhile purchases that can be made in the E-Shop.  Worth noting there was an instance where the game experienced an ear-bleeding sound glitch where the game was rebooted and all progress was lost.

 

Check out the Score

GAMEPLAY

 Bounce from point A to point B.  No story, no context at all.  Avoid obstacles and clear gaps.  Possibly too difficult for the intended target audience (children), but mind-numbingly boring for experienced gamers.

GRAPHICS

Visually, Chubbins is sparse and generic.  Chubbins the rabbit is weirdly creepy but a genuinely amusing character. Much of the graphics do not mesh with the woodland critters and come off as beta build material or placeholder graphics.

SOUND

Limp elevator music, even during boss-fights.  Best sound effect is when Chubbins dies; the poor devil emits a strange human-like yelp that sounds fairly sad and painful.

Value

Chubbins has about 40 levels and has a few boss-fights, but the core gameplay is ultimately unfulfilling.  Considering there are more complex and engaging games for free, claiming Chubbins is worth the $4.99 would be a thrilling bold-faced lie.

Final Score

FINAL SCORE

After the bizarre novelty of Chubbins wears off, the only feeling left is emptiness.  Chubbins is a shining example of how bland visuals and sound can hurt a very simple core gameplay mechanic that can be fun.  This is a game where the enjoyment is from momentum gained from bouncing on the precariously placed blocks.  The kind of feedback from nailing some of these jumps is pretty satisfying but the boring aesthetics completely undermine the intended experience.  Chubbins comes up flaccid and is not recommended.       4         

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