Chenso Club (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC)

Aliens have taken over the city and the only ones who can stop them are a blue haired android girl and her friends in the “Chenso Club.”  This one reminds me of several different types of games.  It has the style and presentation of titles you might see from WayForward or Treasure.  It’s got some slight Smash Bros. style gameplay and since it’s a (mostly) single screen action game it also makes me think of Taito classics like Bubble Bobble.  But it all mixes together to make a fairly enjoyable experience.  Chenso Club is available on most current consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

Each area in the game has several rounds, and each of those rounds has several single screen stages where you must clear out each area of enemies to move on.  The stages are randomly generated, so you’ll get a different experience each time.  At the end of each area you’ll fight a boss.  You start out with just one playable character, Blue the android girl.  But as you complete areas you can unlock more.  Each character has standard attacks, as well as special attacks you can unleash with the triangle button and the directional pad.  You can also dash, which helps you go faster, jump higher, and bypass obstacles.  And you can pick up and use special items with the R2 button.  Defeated enemies will leave behind currency you can use to buy items and health refills.

Blue the android girl uses a chainsaw as her main attack, but other characters have different moves and maneuverability.  There’s a strong but slower armored girl who uses a hammer, a witch who uses magic attacks, a mountain climber who uses quick but weak moves, and a firefighter who uses water projectiles but can’t jump very high.  They play up the idea that all the girls you can play as are part of a fan club, so at the end of the area, you’ll play a bonus stage where you can pose for pictures to increase your score.  Your score is also represented by followers on “Chirp” and you can even buy items from fans after each area.  During stages, you can sometimes enter shops and bonus stages to get even more power-ups.  You can also select the difficulty that ranges from ‘so easy I don’t know how you can die’ to ‘brutally hard.’  Two players can go at it in co-op as well.

The game has a few minor problems.  Play control is a little slippery, which normally isn’t a problem in the single screen stages, but it does become a bit annoying in the last level where there is some side scrolling platforming involved.  At only six areas, the game is also pretty short, but it is designed for repeat plays.  Overall I rather enjoyed this title, though, and the mix of classic games it adopts gameplay ideas from.

Kid Factor:

Chenso Club is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Crude Humor, Violence, Blood and Gore, and Language.  There are some bad words in the comic book style story scenes.  When you defeat enemies, blood splatters everywhere but it’s so pixelly and cartoony that it’s hard to take seriously.  Oh yeah, there is one bonus stage where you try and fill a giant blender with blood from defeating enemies.  The violence makes me think of Smash TV in a way.  But even so, I MIGHT be OK with preteens and some kids younger than teens playing this.  It’s still just a silly good time.

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