Developed By: Pixadome
Published By: Curve Digital, Aurora Punks
Category: Action Platformer Roguelike
Release Date: 9.1.22
Chenso Club is an 8-bit styled roguelike action platformer bursting with bright colors and an overall charming presentation. It follows the story of android vigilante Blue and her fellow members of the Chenso Club, a team of female heroes fighting against an alien invasion. The story is as simple as it is brief; see aliens, fight aliens. I guess there’s something of a twist at the end, but the paper thin characterization of the narrative doesn’t really accomplish much in the way of foreshadowing. Still, the villain’s reveal and hurriedly-explained backstory carries an unexpectedly powerful emotional wallop, which was a nice narrative surprise in a story that otherwise relied on lighthearted, amusing, and very short cutscenes between levels. Still, if you’re picking up Chesno Club, you’re playing it for the gameplay.
Slice’n’Dice and Dash
The basic action of the game is fairly simple. You can run, jump, dash, regular attack, and special attack. Enemies teleport in every time you enter a room, and you can’t move on until you finish off every one. The platforming action is fast, furious, and fun, and gets harder the farther you get into the game. The number of enemies, traps, and pits gradually increases, making the action more frantic as you go. Sometimes there can be a little too much happening on screen to successfully track, but just keep dashing and slashing. You’re invincible while dashing, and defeating enemies drops life force which recharges your health. Some levels do get too populated to see all the traps, though, and that can be pretty frustrating.
Get Stuff, Get Strong
Luckily, there are plenty of opportunities to level the playing field. As you move through the game, you’ll unlock power-ups like health, speed, dash, and damage increases, as well as passive and active attack items. Passive items like a razor blade that floats around you or a drone that automatically fires on nearby enemies are helpful for thinning out big herds of enemies, while active attacks like a boomerang or omnidirectional projectiles make for a good ace in the whole if you’ve been cornered. Of course, this being a roguelike, all the cool stuff you unlock goes away when you die. It doesn’t feel like too big a loss most of the time, except for the dash upgrades. You can only dash once without a break to start with, and once you get used to being able to dash a few times in a row it’s really hard to go back.
You choose your character at the beginning of your run – there are five in total. Blue is unlocked at the beginning of the game, with the remaining Chesno Club members unlocking as you beat the level where you meet them. You can’t change your character in the middle of a run, but if you play on anything but the easiest difficulty you’ll have ample opportunity to try out any characters you’ve unlocked. The game is pretty tricky, as I’ve said. Each world consists of a variable number of stages depending on the difficulty selected, and each stage is broken down into three levels. There’s a boss fight at the end of each world, which provides a decent challenge. Although to be totally honest, the boss fights aren’t as frantic as many of the regular levels, so if you’re able to stay calm, focus on defense, and attack when there’s a clear opening, the bosses aren’t bad at all.
8 Bits of Beauty
If you’re a retro pixel graphics enthusiast (I am), you’re really going to like how Chesno Club looks (I do). The game absolutely nails everything that makes the 8-bit look really work. The graphics are bright, clear, and cheerful, whether you’re looking at the in-game graphics or the comic strip style cutscenes. The soundtrack is an upbeat, up-tempo chiptune score, which will keep you amped up and full of energy the whole time you’ve got the game booted up. I like Chesno Club’s gameplay, but I love its art direction.
Yes/No Club? (The Answer is Yes)
Let’s keep this conclusion short and sweet. Chesno Club is good. The action makes good use of its roguelike elements to keep things fast-paced, fun, and endlessly replayable. The story is light but cheerful, and ends on a shockingly poignant note considering its brevity and general lack of depth. Finally, it looks and sounds great. Try it today.
Buy Chenso Club
Digital – $9.99
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The Switch Effect was supplied a game code for review purposes.