Ever since wandering the caves of Pokémon Red and Blue I’ve had a fascination with solving puzzles by navigating an avatar across grid-like spaces. Basic as the puzzles may have been, just sliding on ice and pushing boulders about made my younger self giddy. Though several games preceding and succeeding Pokémon utilised similar mechanics (namely Chip’s Challenge, an old Atari game on which this one is loosely based), the developers of Chuck’s Challenge wisely chose to revive a formula far more varied and exciting than another uninspired “match three” affair.
So while not entirely inventive decades after the original concept came to be, Chuck’s Challenge had me feeling nostalgic while still remaining firmly in the present with its own quirks.
Most of that can be attributed to level designs that manage to be ridiculously elaborate while still enjoyable to navigate. Virtually every action can be performed by simply tapping a directional button, be it moving your protagonist, activating switches, or shoving blocks. Later levels might have you playing with the camera to get a better grasp of your surroundings or rewinding individual moves to reduce the monotony inherent in prolonged puzzles, but all of it operates smoothly and with noteworthy swiftness.