|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Tommo||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: UFO interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 5, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Pete Richards
For those who love puzzle games, Chameleon for the PSP is not the most challenging title on the market. While Chameleon is suited for puzzle gamers of all ages, it may lack a serious challenge for adults playing against the computer. However, it will probably have youngsters scratching their heads to solve problems. Still, playing versus live opponents can provide short-lived fun for those looking for a basic, few-frills puzzle game.
Essentially, Chameleon pins you against an opponent - either A.I. or a friend - with the goal of dominating the majority of the tiled board onscreen. Each player is given a starting tile located at either end of the board, and after choosing your color, you must gain ground in turn-based gameplay by joining other tiles of the same color together into one large group. Players have to slide the hexagonal tiles around to join them, and by completely surrounding different colored tiles, they will automatically turn into your color. It sounds fairly basic, and on its own the game is easy to play against the A.I. However, different obstacles thrown onto the playing board, such as large boulders to block your path, makes things a bit more difficult as you move on. There are also some specially-marked tiles that perform unique functions such as power-ups, making the game a bit less mundane but still not completely exciting.
Each player takes on the role of one of four characters who possess their own special attacks to be used when the player sees it is most vital, sometimes causing serious turnarounds in gameplay. The four characters are poorly animated manga girls who have short biographies and can do things such as shuffle all the free tiles on the board, add an obstacle to ruin your opponent's progress, or remove a tile to help yourself. The inclusion of these characters is somewhat unnecessary, though it does make the game a tad less bland for the easily entertained, as they pop onscreen to break up the redundancy of the gameplay. It also makes this game feel much more like a children's title.
But Depending on your age and knack for puzzle games, Chameleon can be overly simplistic to the point of annoyance. Each move is timed at ten seconds on default setting, which is great to keep up game pace, though the time limit can be adjusted to a player's liking. Still, on the default setting, the A.I. seems to frequently make mistakes and moves that I, as an observer, would not have made. Stupid moves and wasted time by an opponent makes it very easy to capitalize in Chameleon, which is why the game definitely works better against a living, breathing opponent as opposed to the CPU. Even changing the difficulty setting doesn't make this game a whole lot more challenging or interesting, which is something Starfish could have easily improved upon. Though Chameleon does not appear to target any age group in particular, most adults will find little challenge playing this game. But, for a child or pre-teen developing math, geometry, and puzzle-solving skills, Chameleon may very well be a beneficial and somewhat educational tool.