When developer Gamerizon released Chop Chop Ninja late last year, they had a hit on their hands. The unique action platformer offered a novel solution to the dilemma faced by most of its genre peers on the iPhone, eschewing virtual d-pads and buttons altogether in favor of a buttonless touch interface. And while the experience often devolved into a screen-tapping frenzy, it was nonetheless refreshing. Gamerizon was quick to follow-up on that game’s success, releasing the ninja spin-off Chop Chop Runner and the sports titles Chop Chop Tennis, Hockey and Soccer. In the last year, the Chop Chop franchise has enjoyed more than six million downloads worldwide!
And at long last, the Chop Chop franchise returns to its platforming roots in its newest, and perhaps greatest itineration — Chop Chop Caveman.
Visual Presentation: Chop Chop Caveman looks fantastic, having the best art direction of the franchise. The game keeps with the series’ signature Powerpuff Girls-like look, but has perhaps the richest, most attractive color palette of any Chop Chop game thus far. The jungles and other environments are alive with color, vibrant and exciting, and a joy to behold. The titular caveman is adorable, as are all of his prehistoric nemeses, and the game has some really nice animations, especially when compared to the cardboard puppetry of Chop Chop Ninja. Add support for the iPhone 4’s Retina Display, and Chop Chop Caveman is a pretty game indeed!
Controls: Mechanically, Caveman’s controls are identical to those found in Chop Chop Ninja and should feel immediately familiar to anyone who played the earlier game. A great deal of refinement has been introduced to the experience, however. Overall, the controls just feel tighter and more responsive. The Caveman feels less floaty and easy to maneuver, and the game has been streamlined such that it feels more like playing a game, and less like a tap-tap storm. The experience of playing Chop Chop Caveman is just much smoother than its predecessor, and these relatively minor control adjustments make a world of difference in actually playing the game.
Replay Value: There are lots of reasons to come back to Chop Chop Caveman. In each of the game’s 20 stages there are pebbles, three large gems and a tasty vegetable to be found. High scores are also kept for each stage — based on completion time, pebbles collected, kills and meat eaten — providing incentive to return to completed stages to better your scores. The game features integration with both OpenFeint and Game Center, with acheivements and leaderboards.
Universal App: For $0.99, Chop Chop Caveman comes as a universal app playable both on iPhones and iPads. And because of the game’s buttonless interface, it plays equally well on all devices. I find myself preferring the iPad only because its larger screen allows me to enjoy the game’s gorgeous art assets all the more.
Story: Chop Chop Caveman is HUNGRY and needs meat!! It’s a simple premise, but cavemen are not known to have been the deepest of thinkers. This is a no-nonsense tale of a hungry caveman munching dinosaurs, and that’s all the motivation I need to have fun. What I enjoy most about the game is its lack of melodrama and pompous puffery. The game takes itself about as seriously as it ought to: not much.
Whatever dislikes I leveled against Chop Chop Ninja have more or less been addressed in Chop Chop Caveman. Anything negative I could say against the game would be nothing more than nit-picking, and even then I find it difficult to complain.
Chop Chop Caveman may be the best prehistoric platformer since Bonk’s Adventure, and the best Chop Chop game yet. Despite its setting having moved backwards in time, the imperfections of Chop Chop Ninja have here been honed in the most forward-thinking manner, and while cavemen may be well-reputed for their rough demeanors, Chop Chop Caveman is as smooth as they come. I’ve been really enjoying the game, and I’m pretty sure you will too. You get a lot of thump for your buck in this one, and I have no problem calling it a …