Chuck's Challenge 3D
Gamers old enough to remember the era of MS-DOS and Windows 3.1 have more than likely spent a few hours engrossed in Chip's Challenge by Chuck Sommerville. Don't worry if you missed out on this classic title though, as Chuck's Challenge 3D has arrived to fill that void. Instead of playing as Chip you are in control of a purple alien called Woop. His fondness for puzzles has prompted Woop to summon Chuck Sommerville in order to create some new puzzles. It is a whimsical plot, but provides the perfect excuse to once again tackle some fiendishly addictive puzzles.
CC3D only has one goal per level and that is to guide Woop to the exit portal. This is easier said than done, as even the smallest levels have some type of puzzle that you have to solve in order to escape. The game eases you into the swing of things with some gentle puzzles, but with 125 levels in total, the challenge soon ramps up considerably. Levels are rarely as simple as they look at first glance, so prepare to spend quite a bit of time frowning at your screen in concentration. A few times I found myself on the cusp of completing a level only to discover that the game was one step ahead of me and what should have been a victory, requires a restart. Don't worry as the game has an undo feature where you can basically rewind time to any of your previous moves, so you don't have to start from scratch.
The bulk of your time in CC3D is spent pushing blocks around, flipping switches and figuring out ways to overcome environmental obstacles such as water, lava, ice and slime. Some levels also have hostile creatures roaming about that require quick reflexes instead of puzzle solving to outwit. While playing I continually marveled at the layout of the levels. No matter how big or small a level is, there is never an inch of wasted space and each move has to be carefully planned lest you back yourself into a corner. Having to constantly think ahead is quite taxing, but nothing beats the feeling when it all clicks into place and you figure out what is required. While playing the clock is constantly ticking so if you want the gold medal for each level you will have to hustle.
The levels are split into Easy, Medium and Hard categories but the nice thing is you only have to complete three out of five levels in a row to unlock the next five. There are five sets of levels to choose from, so if you get stuck there is always another challenge to try. While CC3D is also available for tablets and smart phones, the Steam version is no quick and dirty port. The game has been Greenlit back in November of 2013 already and the developers have spent months playing, testing and polishing the game.
The game runs on the Unity game engine and is viewed from a tilted overhead perspective. The colorful visuals look very polished and the game runs without a hitch on my system. You can rotate the game grid or zoom in and out for a better view of the action using the control method of your choice. I found that the keyboard controls worked best for me, but you can also use a mouse or controller. I'm not too fond of the mini effect which causes everything to blur in a radius around your character but it can be disabled. Puzzle games are known for music that can sometimes become very annoying, especially if you constantly retry levels, but thankfully CC3D doesn't suffer from this problem. The tunes are catchy and upbeat without becoming repetitive or irritating.
I don't know how it happened, but completing the challenges in CC3D took me close to 8 hours according to Steam. It definitely did not feel like I had spent that much time playing the game, which goes to show just how engrossing it is. The game has a ton of replay value as well. In those 8 hours I only managed a bronze medal on many of the levels. The game ships with a level editor so you can follow in the footsteps of Chuck and create your own levels. You have full control over the size of your level and there are more than seventy elements you can place on the grid. If your level is good enough, it might even be featured as the weekly puzzle for the game. Those who prefer playing over creating can download and try out the levels designed by other players. I'm also happy to report that the game has full support for Steam achievements and trading cards.
There is honestly very little that I can fault about Chuck's Challenge 3D. The levels are well designed and constantly introduce new hazards or ways of playing which keeps things from becoming stale. Some levels can be completed in seconds while others feel like a chess match against the computer as you struggle to stay one step ahead. The arcade levels mixed in with the puzzle solving may be frustrating to players without quick reflexes but can be skipped so shouldn't be an issue. I have to admit that some of the levels had me completely stumped but the game always kept me coming back for more. Quality puzzle titles that are not dumbed down or infested with micro-transactions are rare, so don't hesitate to pick up Chuck's Challenge 3D.
TAGS: Chuck's Challenge 3D, Chuck, Woop, Snappy, Nibbles, Blinky, Omni,
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