A stealth puzzler, in Spy Chameleon you control the titular lizard as he must avoid a various assortment of cameras in order to reach the levels exit. With seventy five levels, each increasing in difficulty there’s plenty of content here for the enticing £4.49 price tag. And it’s a damn fine game.
We do love it when a game comes out of nowhere and surprises us, Spy Chameleon is one of those games. What starts of as pleasant tutorials showing you what to avoid soon turns into a mess of cameras, attached to everything from roaming robots to fish tanks. And to avoid them the chameleons colour changing ability comes into play.
During the earlier levels you’ll come across rugs on the floor with a specific colour, and with the gamepads face buttons you can change your colour from green to blue, red or yellow. By matching the colour of the rug you’re able to hide from the cameras. This gets a lot more difficult later on with the likes of paint cans used in a similar way, and not to mention the changing, disco like floors. It means you’re always on your toes.
The levels are brilliantly designed and thankfully the controls are nice and responsive, something needed when you have the colours of the floor changing constantly, with one wrong slip sending you back to the previous checkpoint.
These checkpoints being favourably positioned, allowing you to quickly try again if you’re caught. Doing this though doesn’t reset the timer and this is a game all about finishing levels in the fastest time possible. Not surprising when there’s actually a “Speed Run mode”.
Reaching the end of each level is challenging in itself, but the longevity in Spy Chameleon really comes from doing all the challenges. With each level you need to complete it in a set time, collect all the flies and then collect all the ladybugs (which are unlocked after beating the level once before). With it being impossible to do these in one run, levels will need to be replayed, at least doubling the games longevity if you want to 100% the game. There are also a number of achievements, some of which can only be unlocked in hard mode, which if you really want to get the most out of Spy Chameleon is the way to play.
Graphically everything is bright, colourful and cartoony. Serviceable would be the best way to describe it, not exactly setting the world alight, but it does the job. Music is the same pretty much, though it does have an opening theme song, the beat repeats after a few seconds which managed to burrow into my soul like very few themes do.
As has already been said with Spy Chameleon, going back and beating your previous times is a major part, which can be considered both its strength and weakness. Nintendo are not the best at advertising small, indie games, and with the Wii U’s sales being less than stellar it means getting a group of friends to buy the game will be a tough task. This is despite it being well worth the asking price. There is a global leaderboard, but beating your friends is where this sort of game thrives. It may seem harsh criticising a game for something like this, but it’s the stone cold truth that unless it goes multiplatform onto PS4 and Xbox One it may just sink without a trace. And that would be a shame.