Chip's Challenge Review

While some may find the game repetitive, its complex puzzles and the elegant solutions needed to solve them are very appealing.

After Chip's Challenge made its 1989 debut on the Atari Lynx, worldwide productivity took a hit and cognitive ability took a proportionate rise. Two-thirds sokoban and one-third Adventure, Chip's frustrating higher levels prompted people who ordinarily prided themselves as intelligent to smash their keyboards into fractions less easy to add up. The game's division into short, quickly digestible levels makes it a great fit for mobile, and the simple game is just as fun as it ever was. While some may find the game repetitive, its complex puzzles and the elegant solutions needed to solve them are very appealing.

Wander through strange, death trap-ridden factories, see the world...
Wander through strange, death trap-ridden factories, see the world...

In Chip's Challenge, you're charged with collecting all the microchips in each level and then proceeding toward the exit, which opens only after you achieve this feat. In some of these levels, chip collecting takes a backseat to avoiding area-specific obstacles, such as ambulatory enemies, like spiders, or stationary traps, like pits of fire. Many of the game's puzzles involve the strategic use of boots, which can protect you from a variety of hazardous materials, like molten lava. You can only wear one pair of boots at a time, so you must plan your movements accordingly. Conceits such as moving platforms and teleportation squares are also often added to the mix, making Chip's Challenge an ever-shifting array of visual mathematical problems that will simultaneously perplex and entertain. This game doesn't benefit from technological ambition, even the kind specific to the mobile platform. What makes it such a good fit is its easy accessibility, and its sheer quantity and variety of great brainteasers.

For example, the game's graphics play a minimal role. That's okay--they're mostly symbols. Chip's Challenge is based on similar, sokoban-style games that used ASCII characters instead of the game's current sprites. In fact, the original Lynx version of the game almost falls into this category. The mobile version's relatively polished graphics are much closer to those of the DOS version of the game. The graphics are nothing spectacular for modern handsets, but they're perfectly adequate for confusing the heck out of you, which is the whole point of Chip's Challenge. It's challenging, and that challenge involves collecting crudely drawn chips.

The audio is even more unimportant. A rousing call to arms will greet players on the menu screen (at least the ones who choose to enable sound at all, which is defaulted to "off"). Other than that, you'll just hear enough audio to remind you that you enabled sound.

Chip's Challenge can be digested in short bursts of furious brain activity. Since you can save between levels and pick up your game later, it's perfect for the brief sessions of play that are typical on mobile. A solid port of a classic puzzler, Chip's Challenge can be recommended to get players' mental gears turning, at least for short periods at a time.

The Good
Great puzzles
Good variety of puzzles
addictive
accessible
quick, frequently-interrupted play possible
The Bad
graphics not spectacular
sound minimal
8
Great
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Chip's Challenge More Info

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  • First Released 1989
    unreleased
    • Amiga
    • Amstrad CPC
    • + 6 more
    • Atari ST
    • Commodore 64
    • Lynx
    • Mobile
    • PC
    • Sinclair ZX81/Spectrum
    8.1
    Average Rating137 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Images Software, Epyx, Mforma, Audio Visual Magic
    Published by:
    U.S. Gold, Epyx, Atari Corporation, Mforma, Niffler Ltd
    Genre(s):
    Puzzle