Platformers have seen quite a renaissance as of late in the indie space of game development. Some try to recreate the magic of older, well known series. Others try to cement their own identity within the genre. Chenso Club is definitely one that fits into the latter category. It is a simple game that has some high points, but is also rough around the edges at other times.
Published by: Aurora Punks
Developed by: Pixadome
Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch
what is Chenso Club?
At its core, Chenso Club is a very simple platformer. The controls are about as basic as it gets, with a jump, dash, light attack, and heavy attack making up pretty much your entire gamut of options. There are 5 basic levels, that each break up into 5ish sub-levels a piece. At the end of each level, you face a nemesis. Once you’ve beaten said nemesis, you unlock a new character. Each of these characters has some differences, but none of them changed the meta so much that it felt like I was getting something really original. The simplicity of Chenso Club isn’t a terrible thing, but I do believe some more defining traits of gameplay could have better served the game.
Between each level of Chenso Club, you get a few cutscenes worth of story telling. Besides this however, you really don’t much interconnectivity between levels. Each of the settings is drastically different from the last one, and there really isn’t much callback or foreshadowing between levels. In addition, the experience does not really change when you rotate characters, making each of them suffer from a lack of distinct identity. There is an overarching plot, but it is rather hard to invest in giving its lack of depth and very short length in general.
Mechanics and Design
Getting a little deeper into the mechanics of Chenso Club, there are some positive take aways here. First off, despite their limited nature, the controls feel really tight. I rarely had issues with falling off of platforms when I didn’t want to. Additionally, the shop mechanic was a really fascinating one. Instead of a currency system, you buy powerups with “blood” or this games version of lives. There is definitely a risk-reward balance to be done in your head, as these powerups can be super helpful. Buy too many of them though, and you won’t live to find out how helpful they can be. Additionally, the level design was well made, with there being a good amount of variety in different areas. Boss battles were also present and definitely added to the experience. My only complaint is that there is no mid level save feature, which seems to be an annoying trend in some indie platformers as of late.
Chenso Club is another great looking indie platformer. The animations are well made, the soundtrack is worth listening to, and the visuals are compelling in their nature. There is no doubt that Chenso Club is a game that was made with love.
Chenso Club: A platformer that struggles to find its own identity
Chenso Club is not a bad game. The makings of a solid platformer are all present throughout the experience. Its main struggle is that is does not distinguish itsself in any meaningful way. Groundbreaking gameplay can make up for a forgettable plot, and the reverse can also be true. Chenso Club does not have either of these in its corner, and as a result is simply a pretty looking platformer that plays well, but is otherwise forgettable. This title could be made into something special, but right now it just isn’t there.