(Mini) Game Review: Chenso Club

Chesno Club sounds cute and fluffy, a place that you would happily send your kids to after school. It’s not, it’s really not at all. Chesno Club comes from developer Pixadome and publisher Curve Games, a game that looks and sounds cute and fluffy, but a title that is crammed with violence, blood and more violence.

“Aliens are attacking! Who will save us? Chenso Club will! Using chainsaws, hammers, and the aliens’ own life force against them – these fearless warriors will pulverise enemies on their way to victory. Go solo! Go co-op! Go hack those aliens in this action-packed, side-scrolling platform brawler!”

Right from the off, Chenso Club gave me major Master System vibes. The way it plays, the simple platforming mechanics used and even the graphics. Just look at the following screenshot and tell me it doesn’t scream Master System (in a higher resolution) at you.

CHENSO CLUB SCREEN 1

The bright and cheery colour palette, the design of the platforms and enemies. I can’t be the only person that thinks that this looks very 8-bit Sega. Pop Alex Kidd in there and nobody would notice. Anyway, Chenso Club is (if you hadn’t guessed) an action/platformer, with a bit of a Rogue-lite twist. With five different playable characters, though only one is unlocked at the start. Each of the characters are unique with their own skill sets and distinct weapon.

Along your journey, you will kill a great number of enemies, nab power-ups and upgrades to help you take out the various bosses. This is very much a traditional action/platformer with simple and very playable mechanics. Light and heavy attacks with a jump and dodge control scheme, standard stuff. In terms of the basics, one look at Chenso Club can tell you everything that you need to know about it. But, throw in some Rogue-lite elements and you have a very playable and challenging title.

CHENSO CLUB SCREEN 2

Periodically generated levels will keep you on your toes and mean that you’ll never know what is coming next, no matter how many times you play. Plus the longer you play, the harder the game becomes. Fortunately, you can buy upgrades from the shop that will pop up as you make your way through the game. Unfortunately, you have to pay for those upgrades with your blood. Yup, your very health meter is the in-game currency here and you will have to decide if having that extra damage power-up is worth you literally paying with your life. This adds an interesting strategy mechanic to the game as you have to weigh up the pros and cons of each purchase you make… or don’t make.

There’s an in-game social media platform called ‘Chirp’ (no idea what it is lampooning) and you can meet NPCs as you play, who will happily follow you on Chirp. Then, between levels, you can log onto Chirp and use those NPCs as helpers who will give you various gifts. There’s even a bonus stage where you have to fight and pose for photos to increase your Chirp follow count. The more followers you have, the better the help you can receive. Oh yeah, those bonus stages are another thing that made me think of Master System games.

CHENSO CLUB SCREEN 5

I have just read back on this (mini) review and I have managed to make Chenso Club sound awfully cookie-cutter. In many ways, I guess that it is. However, the devs have done a fine job of taking the basic action/platforming genre and making it their own. £12 is what this is going to cost you on the consoles but £16 on Steam? You know what? either way, it’s worth it. I genuinely really bloody enjoyed this one. It is basic and harks back to the ‘good old days’ of gaming. Yet, it also feels very modern and the Rogue-lite elements give it a wonderful edge over other similar games. With five different characters, a couch co-op option and some great boss fights, Chenso Club is an old-school romp that I have to give a big recommendation to.

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