Chip’s Challenge 2 Review – Classic Brought Back to Life Falls a Little Flat

Video game preservation has very recently been a topic of discussion with the demise of Silent Hills and the P.T. Demo released last year. Sadly, it only serves to remind us that many video games out there never see the light of day and often for petty reasons. Projects such as Star Fox 2, Half Life Dreamcast and half-a-dozen Command & Conquer games have either been left to pirates for release or have never seen the light of day, period.

Chip’s Challenge 2 is a game that was nearly complete in 1991, unfortunately for the game’s creator, Chuck Sommerville, the game’s publisher had gone bankrupt. So it was surprising for me, being handed a code to review a sequel that was never released and is three years older than myself.

I think it’s wonderful that this game that was long forgotten has finally been released to the public after two decades, Chuck Sommerville has been unable to give Chip’s Challenge fans a true sequel due to business reasons rather than personal reasons, and I can only imagine that led to many sleepless nights. So, if you were a kid growing up in the late 80’s and early 90’s who is familiar with the sounds, sights and charm of the original game, you should go out and purchase this sequel on Steam immediately, you will love it.


“Chip’s Challenge 2 often suffers from an issue I find in many puzzle games, where the mechanics don’t sync up to the player’s internal thoughts.”

However, I wasn’t even born when this game was finished, so while I’m overjoyed that an artist has finally been granted his wish, I can only look at this game through a hypothetical lens, or perhaps a few. After all, I never heard of Chip’s Challenge until playing this game and researched online.

Firstly, the game features the same graphics, sounds and charm as the original. Chip, the player character, still says his classic “Bummer” line every time you blow up, drown or get eaten by plastic teeth. Something I preferred about this game immediately over the original, is that the introduction levels are a lot more entertaining all around. The very first level is a bit tedious, but very quickly after that, the game starts going crazy, in a good way.

In-fact, these small, fast paced levels are probably my favourite, next to ones that flood the screen with keys, bonus points and thieves that take all your items. It’s satisfying to complete a stage that’s cluttered with so many things that are out to harm you. However, for every good level in the game, there are two more that feel mediocre in comparison.

Chip’s Challenge 2 often suffers from an issue I find in many puzzle games, where the mechanics don’t sync up to the player’s internal thoughts. You’ll figure out the solution, but then have to go through many tedious steps to reach the end. This also ties in with stages that are just trial and error. Thankfully, the game does allow you to skip a stage, but I often found myself skipping a few, not because I couldn’t beat it, but because I found out the answer which then required multiple steps to complete that were boring.

Unlike a 3D puzzle game, you don’t have that physical element that leads to tension such as gravity or momentum. Instead, things are binary, they either work, or they don’t. You either have the boots to cross fire, or you don’t. There isn’t a problem with this style of gameplay in theory, but it does lead to why you’re often able to solve these problems without much forethought.

Another item of constant frustration is the movement, and that’s to say it doesn’t feel very responsive. Your character moves on a grid, and it’s not a very flexible grid. It’s not a problem when the game doesn’t need you to react quickly or maneuver your character out of harm’s way, but that’s just it, it often does, and without a checkpoint system, much time will feel wasted.

A puzzle game is only as good as its level design, and unfortunately, Chip’s Challenge 2’s levels are a mixed bag of hit and miss. Considering it’s a game from 1991; however, it’s impressive that some of these levels are as fun as they are and can still enjoyed.

For what it’s worth, Chip’s Challenge 2 is a decent resurrection of a once dead sequel that has finally been awaken from its coma. If you are interested in tile based puzzle solvers but want something a bit more… recent, Chuck’s Challenge 3D is available for the same price as this two pack featuring the originals. For a game that’s more likely to be remembered for how it came back to life rather than the actual game itself, it’s nice to know that it’s at least a decent bit of fun. Paying three bucks for a level editor is nonsense; it seems that even ancient titles can’t escape the bad business practices of modern games development.

***A review code was provided by the publisher***



The Good


The Bad