So a new game came out this week called Chippy and it has absolutely nothing to do with Rissoles or Sausages in Batter. What a time to be alive.
What it does deal with is some pretty damn fiendish boss battles in a good old fashioned schmup setting with the aim being to ‘chip’ away at enemy armor until you find a weak spot.
Just like any good schmup, Chippy plays really, really well. The twin stick nature of the game will immediately be familiar, as will dodging projectiles, collecting powerups and shooting an unlimited supply of bullets out of your weird mouse pointer shaped spaceship.
A mouse pointer spaceship that also has an eye in the middle of it. Sounds very Eye of Providence to me.
The enemies themselves could even be secrets kept hidden from the world, with the likes of the Kraken and Medusa ready to tear you apart. Your job is to keep blasting through their armor to reach the hit points for their shooters and weak spots, then blast it to smithereens.
Powerups can also help, like adding a friendly turret to help you break down defences, or using two guns instead of one to increase your rate of fire.
You can even get a shield to defend yourself from the incoming onslaught. And you’ll definitely need it.
You’re not going to get through these levels easily as, right from the get-go, the screen will be absolutely littered with enemy fire. The learning curve is steep and watching the gameplay for a few minutes may be enough to turn away even the most competent gamer.
But Chippy has another secret weapon that’s not been talked about too much but is one of the best features I’ve seen added to a game in some time.
On the outside, it seems like a smart, but simple ‘Replay’ system where you can download videos and learn from other players, watching their movement, studying your enemy, and gaining some valuable insight into how powerups can work most effectively.
You can even leave fun little comments for them to read back and speed up the time it takes for you to get through the whole replay. And then there’s the Hijack Mode.
Basically, you can ‘Hijack’ another player’s game through their replay and take over from where you pause the video. Even if that means the boss is seconds away from dying, or if you just want to get past a particularly challenging phase.
You might even decide this player has better powerups than you, or has taken less damage and fancy your chances a bit better.
The game isn’t picky and lets you jump in wherever you want at the tap of a button. Making the game one hundred times more accessible than most other schmups on the market. Honestly, I love it.
The transition is seamless, too, and it still adds up to your personal best score on any given level, though it doesn’t allow you to cheat so much that you can leapfrog other players who’ve beaten a boss from start to finish without that extra help.
Basically, it makes Chippy infinitely more accessible than most other games in the genre even if on the surface it seems more intimidating than an Ikaruga or Geometry Wars.
There’s plenty to keep you going, too, between the game’s base Crusade Mode which has you fighting more traditional foes, as well as the Invasion Campaign which is just bonkersly ludicrous in more ways than one.
While Facepunch have really deviated from their Gary’s Mod days, they’ve managed to create something really quite special. Hijacking is my new jam and Chippy absolutely definitely needs to be on your radar if you’ve been waiting for some decent shooty bang bangs.
Chippy is out now on PC.
Review code kindly provided by the publisher