The Chase: Felix Meets Felicity Review for Nintendo DS

The Chase: Felix Meets Felicity Review for Nintendo DS

Run to the Hills

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.

The Chase: Felix Meets Felicity screenshot

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.

The Chase: Felix Meets Felicity screenshot

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.

The Chase: Felix Meets Felicity screenshot

While the hair-pulling problems that arise frequently in the controls and collision detection are enough to drive anyone to sheer frustration, it’s the brutal continue system that really hammers the final nail in the fun coffin. The game only doles out three measly lives from the beginning. When they’re all used up, you have to purchase a single continue using coins you’ve collected on your mad dash through chaotic levels, and they aren’t cheap.

The Chase: Felix Meets Felicity screenshot

Even then, assuming you can afford another go at it, there’s no guarantee you won’t eat it just as quickly and be stuck without enough cash to proceed. Running out of lives and money to buy continues gets you booted back to the beginning of the game, regardless of whether you were only part-way in or on the last level. Being forced to start over from scratch after you’ve poured a substantial amount of time into the game just feels absurd. This isn’t the early 1980s; players dig a challenge but not being punched in the face and then kicked in the gut by one.

The game’s visuals and audio are appropriately upbeat and engaging, featuring plenty of pastel pinks, yellows, and blues. A charming artistic style, amusing dialogue, and original premise help keep the game buoyant amidst the turbulent sea of gameplay failures, but it’s sadly not going to be enough to save the experience from dragging players into the gutter of misdirected anger. The Chase is colorful, clever, and creative, yet it falters unnecessarily. Even with a static level-map, it’s hard to focus on what dangers are coming down the pike on the top screen, while dealing with them on the touch screen where the action plays out.

The Chase’s high level of creativity and uniqueness makes the fact the game is just painfully frustrating to play for any length of time a true disappointment. It possesses some fresh ideas in terms of concept, story, and gameplay but fails to deliver in the end. Masochistic players who get excited over an extreme level of unfair challenge might find some mileage out of this title. However, most folks who’d find themselves drawn in by the game’s concept and presentation will likely be put off by its grueling unfairness.

Upbeat and pleasant pastel visuals are uplifting. 2.3 Control
The basic controls work well in concept, but they’re mired down heavily by collision and level design issues. 3.8 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The rocking, cheerful audio fits the hipster vibe very well. 3.0

Play Value
If it weren’t for several crippling design issues, this game would be a lot of fun.

3.1 Overall Rating – Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Play as a Felix or Felicity.
  • Use the stylus to draw interactive platforms.
  • Horizontal and vertical scrolling levels.
  • Funky and catchy music.
  • Five different game modes.
  • 40 different levels in 8 distinct areas.

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