[PlayStation 4] Spooky Chase Review
Spooky Chase from Burning Goat and QuByte Game Studios is a challenging pixel-art platformer. Check our Spooky Chase review!
You are your enemy! In Spooky Chase, every movement you made towards the flag is recorded and then replicated by the monsters. For more flags you collect, more enemies will show on the map!
Spooky Chase is a Halloween-themed release that was released last October on PC, and it is reaching consoles this week. Being a seasonal release, I was actually surprised to see it appear in early 2021 instead of releasing in time for Halloween 2020… or for Halloween 2021.
In Spooky Chase, there isn’t much of a story to begin with, and you’ll be thrown into the action quite quickly. The main gameplay is that of an autorunner platformer in which you run until you change direction with the left analog stick or the D-Pad. You can jump on platforms, and your objective is to collect all of the flags in each level. Once a flag is collected, the game goes into the next stage of the same level, and an enemy will spawn and follow the exact same path you’ve already taken.
This is challenging because once you’ve collected a few flags in the same level, there will be as many enemies to evade as flags you’ve collected. Since the levels are small and bite-sized, you’ll have an ever-increasing chance of hitting one of your past selves. Levels also have golden balloons that can be found during your run for the tenth flag, and collecting them unlocks extra abilities and special bonus levels that are surprisingly hard.
Speaking of the difficulty, I was surprised by how hard this game is. Already in the first level, Spooky Chase is a full throwback to when you used to rent a game at your local store for the weekend only to realize you have to master the mechanics and get good during the first level, or else. Each level has a set number of flags to recover, so this game mixes skill, patience, and memory so that you can remember which paths you’ve already taken so that you can avoid the new enemies that are added at a steady pace.
More characters are unlocked as you progress through the game and collect more and more candy, and I really liked the way each new look was presented with the game’s art style. There is also an Endless Mode that features the same gameplay as for the story levels, but you’ll stay on the same level for as long as possible until you’re hit. Finally, there’s also a local multiplayer option with a Survival Mode, in which players will be creating new enemies.
A quick note about a game-breaking bug I encountered: at one point, I reached a level, and my character wouldn’t start running. Nothing could make it run, and it happened every single time at the same level as I tried to collect the fourth flag. I closed and restarted the game, and the same issue happened at the same point. The only solution I found was to delete my game save and restart a new run. After doing this, I was able to get past that fourth flag and carried on with my adventure. I’m not sure what caused this, so hopefully, this is fixed by way of a patch so that you don’t run into the same issue.
The pixel art of this game is reminiscent of the 16-bit era, which is a good thing. The sound is WAY too low for the game, even when maxing out the options, so I had to crank up the volume on my TV a good deal before the sound felt more balanced. This is a major issue because when a trophy pops (or when you go back to the PS hub), the sound then becomes so loud that you will have to quickly rush to the remote to lower the volume.
Trophies are awarded for progressing in the game, collecting lots of candy to unlock new characters to play as, as well as for collecting all ten flags in each of the levels that you’ll get to play. This is a release that will require exceptional patience if you’re looking to add its Platinum trophy to your collection. There’s going to be a lot of trial and error involved in this one, as well as a bit of luck so that you can get some of the flags on a level to pop a bit closer to each other.
I have mixed feelings about Spooky Chase. It’s a Halloween-themed game that is releasing out of season, and while the gameplay is easy to get the hang of, the difficulty ramps up considerably right from the start. The pixel art is great and easily the best aspect of the game. If the game-breaking bug is fixed, that will make it easier to recommend the game, but in its current state, it’s a hard one to recommend.
This Spooky Chase review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by QUByte Interactive.