Gotham Review

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well now, there’s nowhere this can go butdownhill. i mean, if i say it’s like a mobile game,everybody freaks out because mobile aren’t real games or whatever. even though it islike a mobile game. a very good mobile game, but you won’t hear that part over the soundof people freaking out because mobile games aren’t real games or whatever. so then,i have to lie to you, and say it’s not like a mobile game. but as you’re no doubt aware, i’m theman who’s never told a lie, so then i’m betraying my values. so there’s nowherethis can go but downhill. someone’s gonna be upset about this, whether it’s me oryou. it’s spy chameleon, for the nintendo

wii u. it’s a…um… it’s an interactive software-type-thingthat is good. how’s that? anyone butt hurt over that? so why does spy chameleon feel like a mobilegame? well, a couple reasons, the first one being…it’s arranged like any number ofmobile games. you have five missions, with 75 levels, and each one is kind of like itsown self-contained puzzle. you can play it or skip it, which is common in mobile games…andnot only that, there are also different objectives. so you can beat the level, sure…but youcan also beat it within a certain time, and

beat it while eating all the flies, and thenbeat it while collecting all the bugs…so it’s similar to the way mobile games offerstars or badges for each level for accomplishing certain things. that way, these short levels get a bit ofreplay value. but you know, it’s not just the structureof the thing. it’s also the gameplay itself. this is really simple, really straightforwardstuff. the kind of thing that used to be called “arcade gameplay,” but these days, peoplescoff at as “casual gameplay.” like, if pac-man came out today, the hardcore typeswould be like, “pfft, my mom plays that. that’s not a real game.”

spy chameleon has that kind of feel. it’sreally simple, takes about three seconds to understand…but it’s also really fun, andaddictive. whether it’s a “real game” or not. whatever that means, like it could be an illusionor something. so you play as a chameleon, a spy, chameleon.and all you have to do is sneak through the level and avoid being spotted. everythingelse is secondary to avoiding search lights, security cameras, robots guards, you get theidea. of course, to do so, you have to think fast, move faster…and change colors evenfaster yet. see, as a chameleon, you have one advantageover the security. you can change your appearance

to blend in with your environment, and that’scritical to staying out of sight. speaking of which, staying out sight getsmore and more difficult with each mission. as the levels progress, so does the challenge.and eventually, you’re avoiding more searchlights than even solid snake would be comfortablewith. i mean, look at this, it’s ridiculous. but that’s the thing about this kind ofdesign. when it’s done well, you pair simple gameplay with complex level designs. and that’swhy spy chameleon does. the challenge is never frustrating, becauseit’s never a struggle to play. i mean, you know exactly what you need to do—you evenknow how to do it. so it’s just a matter of doing it.

and that’s a hook that makes it very hardto put this thing down. i guess if there’s anything to nitpick about…iguess maybe the gameplay could evolve a little more. and actually, one thing i would changeis the style. spy chameleon is simple and clean, but it’s not very memorable. evenif it looks and sounds good technically. so a slightly more creative presentation would’vedone this game wonders. but again, that’s sort of nitpicking. for what it is, spy chameleon gets way moreright than it does wrong. this game was published by a company calledenjoyup. and i mention it because they’ve published a lot of stuff on the wii u’seshop, and although they’ve certainly put

out some duds, some of their games are reallygood. unepic comes to mind; or the 99 games, like 99seconds and 99moves…and now, spychameleon. in fact, i’d say this is one of their best releases, certainly one of theirmost polished…and one of their most fun, too. if you like old-school, arcade-style games… or i guess, mobile-style games… you’re gonna love spy chameleon, for thenintendo wii u.

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