QByte Interactive have been quietly building up a great portfolio of indie arcade games that they’ve been porting from PC to console. Chameneon is possibly their strongest title yet. It is so simple on paper but its infuriatingly addictive and challenging. Prepare to rage and hit restart in this on rails grind n switch platformer.
Chameneon is a cross between a platformer and a runner as you auto grind cyan and purple rails and you need to survive the level to continue. Think Sonic on rails, FutureGrind or Tarzan Freeride and you are in the right area. Your character has three speeds, slow, auto (medium) and fast and that affects how you jump and your jump has a hop, jump and leap depending on how long you press the jump button for. This means as the grind rails you slide on swoop, gape and have spikes on, you’ll be working out at what speed and what type of jump you need to survive. This sets you up for the main gameplay mechanic here… the switch up.
Cyan and purple grind rails are like spaghetti junctions, looping everywhere and anywhere. Using the switch button you can switch which coloured rails are on or off. This means you can jump, switch and land elsewhere, or jump through spikes by turning them off. After the initial 15 levels to get you used to the ideas of Chameneon, the game lets itself loose and expects precision, timing and forward planning as you work your way around the neon noodles. The clever thing here is that gravity switches with you so if you grind upside down and jump, you’ll fall upwards not down and so when your jumping and flipping, you need to keep this all in mind.
Chameneon handles really well but there’s a bit of inconsistency when it comes to slopes and gravity. This is where firstly, frustration kicks in and secondly, where time trial mode hits. You can advance the game by surviving the level but there are three things the game tracks. Collect enough energy to charge a battery. Collect the hidden neon disk pick up, often on a harder to reach area of the level and survive. Lastly, all the achievements bar two for completing those two feats on each of the 80 levels are tied to time trials. To win these, you need full speed ahead, pixel perfect platforming and often breaking the physics of the gravity. When you are turning a corner and at a 45 degree angle, sometimes you can really fling yourself across the level and time trials seem to know this bug/feature exits and accounts for it. To play like you are breaking the game is an odd addition but different nonetheless.
Add in a synthwave soundtrack, 80 levels of challenge and quick restarts and you have a very competent and tricky platformer that for such a cheap price, brings you some old fashioned, hard platforming. Don’t snooze on this just because its not an easy platinum.
Review copy provided by publisher.
A solid budget platformer that has plenty of challenge and a few quirks to tackle. Good fun for the price.
Plenty of challenging levels, with multiple routes and ways to complete them.
Additional collectable challenges for the insane and lovers of high difficulty.
Decent, if limited, synthwave soundtrack.
Inconsistent use of gravity when it comes to slopes, sometimes you fly, sometimes you don't.
Difficulty curve is a squiggly one (although it is a hard game in general).
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