|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Razorback Dev.||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atari||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan.27, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Nathan Meunier
Ah, the crazy things people will do for romance. The thought of receiving special attention from a prospective partner can incite the heart and mind to bizarre depths. For those who count themselves unlucky in love, pursuing the affections of their heart's burning desire can elicit an even greater level of desperation. Would you hoof it across an entire city, racing a dangerous thunderstorm all the while, just to meet someone for a first date of ice cream cones on the riverfront? Perhaps you're not that desperate yet.
Barreling at high speeds through traffic, jumping over escalators, and slide tackling anyone who gets in the way might sound a bit excessive for a young lad or lass en route to a casual date, but the need for romantic companionship has a tremendously strong pull on the athletic and geeky lovebirds in The Chase: Felix Meets Felicity. It's the unusual pairing of a quirky love story and manic-paced action-platforming gameplay that makes for such an intriguing concept. However, a number of sadistic gameplay design decisions unfortunately mar what is otherwise a really enjoyable and original gaming experience.
When Felix meets Felicity (or vice versa), it's love at first sight. Both young hipsters are employed as delivery personnel for separate businesses. Sadly, neither seems to be able to get a proper date, and they find themselves lamenting their dearth of relationship experience. With their personal lives suffering and their unhappiness with work mounting, a fortuitous encounter sparks an unconventional romance that instantly leads to an offer for a date. Of course, the beachside ice cream rendezvous is scheduled to take place across town when a violent rain storm is brewing. Without money for a bus fare, you'll race the storm on foot and collect flowers along the way to give to your new crush. You can play as either character, making the romantic race interchangeable.
Not only does The Chase have you racing around, over, under, and obstacles towards your date, it has you running for your life. The storm nipping at your heels must be of the acid rain variety, as it melts and destroys all it comes in contact with. You'll get a head start to work your way through each level, but it's not long before the dark wave of malevolent destruction is in hot pursuit. Each area of the city plays like a side-scrolling obstacle course; you'll run, flip, jump, and grind your way through town, while picking up as many flowers, coins, and power-ups as possible. Pedestrians of all varieties will attempt to slow your progress, and traffic and other dangerous impediments also lie in waiting.
Controlling Felix or Felicity through a combination of D-Pad and stylus maneuvers is generally straightforward, at least in theory. Tapping left or right on the D-Pad builds your momentum in the corresponding direction, while hitting up causes you to jump and flip, and tapping downward lets you grind on surfaces to take out enemies you encounter. You can also draw ramps and platforms on the screen with the stylus (using a limited amount of "ink") to bypass and overcome some hindrances. Collecting flowers and toppling pedestrians in your way (malicious or otherwise) boosts your drawing meter. Running through each level quickly becomes a painful chore due to inconsistencies that arise from encounters with foes, objects, and random elements from the environment.
Whether you're navigating the maze-like level design, racing an opponent, or attempting to bring a helpless animal safely to the finish line, you'll constantly find yourself tripping over everything in sight. Running into foes that slow you down is par for the course, but even unsuspecting elements from the backgrounds tend to get in the way. There are frequently random moments where you'll trip up when you'd least expect it; this can lead to utter failure, depending on the specific level you're plowing through. This is made even more aggravating by the fact you're being rushed by a malicious cloud of level-consuming tempest.