Chip’s Challenge (1995, PC) review — Games

We’ve all had this experience. You vaguely remember a video game from your youth that you had a lot of fun with, but you don’t remember its title or enough distinguishing details to easily facilitate an internet search. For me the Epyx puzzler Chip’s Challenge is one of those games.

Chip’s Challenge was originally released in 1989 by Epix as one of the launch titles for Atari’s ill-fated handheld console, the Lynx. However, the 1995 version released as part of the Best of Microsoft Entertainment Pack was the one I remember. Along with JezzBall, Rodent’s Revenge, SkiFree and Pipe Dream, I don’t know how many hours I sunk into this little gem.

To be honest, I had completely forgotten about Chip’s Challenge until I caught a glimpse of the Lynx version in a video about the history of Atari. Suddenly all the memories came flooding back. One quick Google search and a Wineskinning later, I was reliving all my childhood glory.

The goal of Chip’s Challenge is collect all the computer chips scattered around each level before making your way to the exit. To do this, you’ll have to collect keys and power-ups, solve puzzles and avoid a variety of enemies.

Chip and some on his foes.

There is a good deal of variety between levels. Some are centered around avoiding enemies. Others are based on block puzzles. There are even a few time-based challenges. Some levels don’t have any chips to collect and instead just have you figuring out how get around obstacles to reach the exit.

None of the levels are all that challenging, and there are very few that I couldn’t beat in more than a few tries. It can get frustrating when you’re almost at the end of a level, and you wander into an enemy’s path or accidentally walk into the water without flippers, but none of the levels take more than a few minute so complete, so it’s never huge setback. There’s even a password system so you can skip any level that’s giving you too much trouble.

Chip’s Challenge is a fairly simple game by modern standards, but it’s a perfect game to play while watching TV or listening to a podcast. Despite its age, the level design is solid, and if you give it a chance, you’re sure to have a lot of fun.

You can get a port of the Lynx version on Steam of $0.99 or download the Windows 95 version here. The two versions are identical apart from the graphics and that the Windows version has one extra level. Personally, I think the graphics on the Windows version are a lot cleaner, so I’d go with that.

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