As a lover of experimental experiences and games trying new things, I approached Chilie with a mix of intrigue and excitement. It has lofty ideas of taking a sweet almost slice of life anime styled story and turning it into something interactive and fun. However, the beauty of trying new things also lies in how things are executed and it is here were Chilie falls down quite substantially. Is it different? Yes. Is it enjoyable? Well… that’s debatable.
Chilie takes place over 40 very short sequences that place a young girl Chilie, with her dad on a road trip of sorts. At times almost nothing happens and other times its crazy and stilted delivery can make things either funny as hell or just strange. During each scene, you are doing usually one of three things. Observational work to spot numbers scattered across the scene to click on. Maths work to use those numbers to create a sum in a certain amount of moves. Or a quick time event of usually outlandish proportions which have a difficulty curve like an epileptic heart attack.
Chilie pops itself into a weird brain training maths game most of the time. If you don’t spot numbers in the scenes and click on them, then it makes your maths puzzle harder to solve as you’ll have only a few numbers or plus, minus, multiply or divide choices to hand. If it takes you too long to solve, you eat a chilli to get more goes. Whilst this in itself isn’t too bad, I’m at a loss to understand the audience it’s aiming for. This is because its too hard for youngsters but the story is too childish and non-existent for adults. The controls for the maths puzzles are also a bit overly complicated as you have to choose the numbers to place into slots and then press the arrow keys relating to the numbers you’ve chosen to move. Add to that the quick-time events that demand you to finish it in four seconds from memory at times you’ll end up repeating scenes and getting very frustrated.
Of course, this would pale into significance if the story was good but whilst there’s a stream of cuteness, any attempt of a coherent story is let down by the wooden voice acting and poor scripting. The dad sounds bored and like he is reading off the page and the girl herself spends more time screaming YAY than anything else – making her quite annoying and unlikable. It’s a shame as the visuals are really stylised and the concept is interesting but it’s like it’s aiming to be purposefully bad but hasn’t worked out how to get into the so-bad-its-good category.
Enjoy a quick look of Chilie below:
Chilie is a miss for me. Its charm is in how stiltedly poor it is - like a sci-fi movie only this is headbangingly annoying. The concept is sound, but it needs some huge quality of life improvements and lower difficulty options to make it approachable for any target audience. Laughably bad at times, this is ripe for a drunk let's play.
Interesting concept and strange accidental charm.
Unique visual style appeals.
Utterly tedious story.
Phoned in voice acting in the so-bad-its-good category.
Control scheme is bizarre.
Difficulty curve is all over the place - causing extreme frustration.
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