Review: Chubbins (Wii U eShop)

chubbins

Chubbins is a simple game. Originally released on iOS devices, the developer, Dahku Creations, touts the game as “…a smoothly simple precision platformer that aims to deliver a hardcore challenge that old-school gamers will appreciate.” You play as a chunky rabbit, constantly bouncing around on blocks, evading fez wearing birds and badgers with bowler hats, dodging spike balls, and occasionally defying gravity. The journey to the Nintendo eShop, however, has not been a kind one. To call Chubbins shovelware doesn’t quite do it justice, as there were some moments where there was a good time to be had learning how to move through a level, but the abysmal presentation of all aspects of the game bogged down the experience considerably.

Developer: Dahku Creations
Publisher: Dahku Creations
Review Platform: Wii U eShop
Also Available on: iOS
Price: $5.99
NA Release Date: 05/06/14
EU Release Date: TBC
Genre: Platformer
Players: 1

Parts of Chubbins work well. It runs in 1080p, at 60fps, with GamePad, Pro Controller, and Wii Remote support. The controls are responsive, which is especially important in a game where exactness is everything. The only buttons you use are left and right on the control pad, or the R and L triggers. They’re snappy and responsive, and there’s not much more to say about them. For the most part, the levels were designed to keep you moving forward, thinking about your next move. For a precision platformer, the more solid beginning levels turned out to be pretty entertaining, offering just enough challenge to show you what may be coming your way soon.

Unfortunately, there are bad levels, and these levels destroy any desire to continue playing. It seems like the developers decided to play around with you every few levels, and not in an engagingly challenging way. You’ll get some fairly difficult straightforward levels, when suddenly you’re confronted with a completely open map, encouraging you to explore the whole thing while bouncing constantly around spikes. It doesn’t work. Every once in a while, there will be a random block that will destroy your momentum, or send you flying the wrong direction, or the timing to pass under an enemy will be difficult, if not impossible to actually nail, and once again, not in an engagingly challenging way. Enemy placement isn’t the issue. If you happen to land at the exact time as your enemy, you’ll likely be stuck in a never ending loop of bouncing. And that loop will drive you mad.

The biggest issue that Chubbins has is the repetitive, well, everything. The incredibly bland backgrounds are the same through an entire level. The soundtrack is thin, leading to maddening loops in the level’s tunes, and the sound of bouncing never ends. You’re forced to replay level after level, because you’ll be dying a lot without any sort of checkpoint available. There aren’t enough gameplay devices to keep you interested after a few levels of your infuriating bounce, leading to an end of interest after the first world.

Chubbins feels cheap. It looks and feels like any free flash game you could find online. The characters look thrown together, the spikes, blocks, everything feels like they had hardly any work put into them. The main gameplay can feel broken at times, and there’s nothing for you to do once you finish a level, sans a “Time Attack” mode, which is at most, a desperate attempt to extend the game’s meagre 5 worlds to something more substantial by spoon feeding you a sense of achievement. At its core, Chubbins is what it says it is. Unfortunately, the actual fun challenge of precision and timing in the platformer is overshadowed by bad levels, repetitiveness, and a game that looks like it still belongs on an iOS system.

chubbins-score

Review code provided by Dahku Creations.

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