It’s been hard work to avoid preparing a Chenso Club review that isn’t simply gushing with praise. It’s a game that’s seemingly come out of nowhere, yet immediately managed to steal away hours from even the biggest titles of the moment. Chenso Club might not compare to The Last of Us Part I for it’s AAA presentation, but it surely will engross you for just as long.
The game tells the story of one character initially: Blue. Blue has been created to protect the world, but for many years she was held in a laboratory as for some reason her creators were unable to boot her up. The alien invasion resulted in alien technology somehow making it’s way into the lab, and booting her up. Blue is given literally three lines of dialogue before being sent on a mission to save the world. Average Tuesday, then.
You can unlock many more characters as you progress, and subsequently use those characters to unlock additional characters. This is putting the cart before the horse in that unlocking new characters is supplementary to the core gameplay loop, but it’s a good example of the surprisingly deep systems that have been embedded into Chenso Club.
Beginning with a simple screen-by-screen tutorial, the player will learn the basics of Chenso Club within five minutes. Run, jump, attack, special attack. These are all the tools you need. There’s also a power-up and currency system which is lightly touched upon, but these don’t come into play until you’ve made some progress through the first world.
Each world is divided into multiple stages a few screens long. The player must defeat all enemies on the screen to continue. This is harder than it sounds, as the player often has limited space within which to outmanoeuvre half-a-dozen enemies. It’s certainly a more refined experience than Arsonist Heaven, despite the on-paper similarities.
During each world you’ll encounter characters at random intervals. These might be a shop, with which to buy new power-ups, a fortune teller who can increase the difficulty to earn you more fans (more on this later), a bonus level or one of a number of others. Additionally, the way in which you respond with a one-word answer to a dialogue. This, and the currency elements, give a certain touch of The Binding of Isaac to the proceedings.
There are two currencies in the game. The first is the blood you collect for defeating enemies, which also acts as your health. You can choose to spend this on power-ups, but be wary of spending too much as should you die, it’s back to the start of the world. Should this happen, you’ll also lose any power-ups you’ve purchased.
The second currency is your fans. As you progress through worlds, defeat bosses or overcome though challenges, you’ll earn fans. Get enough and you’ll earn coins which can be spent on ever-present power-ups. These are significant game changers, and are most certainly worth investing in as soon as you get the opportunity.
If you haven’t yet realised from this Chenso Club review, there’s a lot going on here. The cheerfully colourful screenshots belie a game in which it’s easy to become absorbed. It’s a game designed to bank on that ‘one more go’ appeal, and is usually very successful in doing so. The game’s difficulty is balanced to suit many play skills and rarely feels cheap, and the art of progression is an ever present draw. You may have heard little about Chenso Club, but to play it is to want to talk about it.