What would you do if you couldn’t stop running? The only control you had was the direction of travel, and when to jump? How would you defend yourself if you were attacked? How would you complete any tasks you wished to undertake? These are but a few of the questions raised in my latest review title: Spooky Chase. A horror themed platform game where the hero cannot stop running once he starts.
Developed by Burning Goat Studio and published by QUByte Interactive, this pixelated 2D platformer has you collecting flags in a twisted and spooky version of capture the flag. A remarkably easy game to pick up and understand, it will suck you in with its simplicity and get you hooked on its addictive gameplay.
Monsters, so many monsters.
This is a platform game that doesn’t follow the classic approach. There are no power-ups to collect, you won’t receive a weapon to thwart your enemies, and you don’t have ample lives to correct any mistakes you make. No, this is a permadeath title where mistakes end your run, and frustration and rage take over. The story, or lack of in this case, sets the basic concept in motion. A group of children is happily trick or treating, when they decide they wish to play capture the flag as well. This decision was possibly the worst of their young lives as each time a flag is collected, a monster spawns!
And this is the game in a nutshell. Run quickly to grab a flag, you then respawn at a different location with another flag as your target. The monster has spawned and will follow the exact route you have taken. Now you must avoid it while in pursuit of your next target. The more items you collect, the more hectic the action gets. Monsters appear from nowhere, leaping platforms and jumping chasms, mimicking your every move. It’s basic, fast-paced and challenging when 9 ghouls are bouncing around across your path.
Skill and luck are required.
This is one of those muscle memory titles where the more you play, the better you get. But no matter how much you practice, a healthy dose of luck will always be required. Not only do you need to collect the red flags, but it wouldn’t be Halloween if you didn’t have sweets to find. You don’t have to gather them, yet you’ll get a strange urge to over complicate the matter by grabbing every candy in sight. Alongside these collectables, you will also be challenged with getting one golden balloon per world. Like the sweets you don’t have to touch it! But the carrot has been dangled, and you’re hardly going to leave it behind.
To make matters worse, the developers added traps and pitfalls to ruin your run. The game soon becomes a test of memory and reactions. Fog will mask pits and traps, and spikes will hide in plain sight. It quickly goes from being a fun experience to a battle of wills. It gets under your skin and you’ll want to gather all those flags before moving on. The repetitive nature of the game may frustrate some players, but when you finally succeed, there is an overwhelming sense of achievement. Maybe the cursing and heartache were worth it after all.
Smooth and simple presentation.
A crisp pixelated style has been used alongside a dark and sombre tone. This does well to increase the horror nature of the title and works with the theme nicely. The sprites are well designed and stand out from the eerie backdrop. Many costumes are available to select, allowing you to choose your favourite hero. This adds some much needed light to a depressing world. The levels have a simple design and trick you into thinking they’ll be easy to overcome. You won’t be blown away by its looks, and it definitely doesn’t push the Series X, but it plays well and was a joy to observe.
A classic indie soundtrack of chiptune music and shrill sound effects has been implemented in this title. The upbeat, but well balanced music keeps you focussed on the task at hand and has the adrenaline pumping. Sounds play out during every action, just as we’ve all come accustom to in this genre. It was a nice and inoffensive audio that serves a purpose, however it won’t wow you.
Just keep running!
It really couldn’t be easier to play! Start a stage, select your direction of travel and jump. This is it, with no complexities or hidden mechanics. The challenge comes from the paths you create for each new monster, and how you plan to avoid them on the next run. With no controller issues or button lag, any gamer could pick this up and play it in minutes.
The simple concept and repetitive nature of the gameplay may trick some into thinking this doesn’t have any longevity. Fortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Unless you are extremely lucky, you will stumble and fall on every level. Many flags need to be collected, and completionists will have a nightmare getting their 100% status. The small achievement list is linked to the gathering of all collectables. So, only the most hardened of gamers will succeed.
Simple concept and plenty of fun.
When I first saw this, I was intrigued to see how it would interest me. It’s simplicity got under my skin, and I struggled to put it down. It’s a classic indie title that can be picked up between major games and is one you’ll want to keep installed on your hard drive. I recommend it because of its casual and addictive nature, so buy it here! Can you collect all the objects in this spooky game of capture the flag? Run, jump, and avoid each ghoul that comes your way.