Chariot review for Xbox One, PS4

Platform: Xbox One
Also On: PS4, PC
Publisher: Frima Studio
Developer: Frima Studio
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: No

In this day of zombie killing and first person shooters, violent games still sell by the bucketful, so it is refreshing when an old school platformer comes along. Even better, when the developer has the foresight of remembering how it fun it was to do couch co-op with a sibling or a friend, which just doubles the fun?so to speak. The folks at Frima Studio are just the company to bring back classic co-op platforming gameplay back from the dead (or at least a comatose state) with their new digital release by the name of Chariot.

Chariot is a charming, colorful, throwback to the old school kind of game that will many adults will remember fondly, while showing new and younger audiences what we always mean by saying that games were better when we were growing up. The story is set with a young princess taking on the unfortunate circumstance of burying her father the King. Once she arrives to his last place of rest, the King?s ghost appears and is appalled by the conditions he is to be buried and demands to be laid to rest in the manner in which he was accustomed to in life?in total luxury. So it is your job to now take his coffin, or chariot if you will, around looking for jewels and valuables to make the king?s last place of rest as wealthy as can be. Since the king doesn’t trust you to collect the riches yourself, he demands to be taken along on your journey.
Chariot 1

Moving from place to place in Chariot means dragging the chariot with you. This is accomplished from behind by pushing, or pulling and lifting by rope as you must find unique ways of getting by, over and through the obstacles that stand in your way between riches and nothingness. While the premise seems easy enough, it is the weight and physics that you have to contend with that really hamper your progress. Whether it?s keeping the chariot from rolling away, to the task of getting the it over ledges and platforms, the further you progress into the game, the more daunting and thought provoking the game becomes.

Even with a friend tagging along, the later levels can become near controller smashingly frustrating. This is due in part of learning to work together in perfect harmony, like Ebony and Ivory, which will take some getting used to. Thankfully, once you do get your timing and planning down, it is true that two heads are certainly better than one. It also doesn’t help the fact that in later levels you will have money stealing enemies such as bats and large penguins that not only get in your way, but possibly take what you’ve worked oh so hard for in the process. Most of your failures will result from just learning your surroundings and completing levels through trial and error. So if you don?t mind failing a bunch or restarting missions for you perfectionists out there, than this fact is old hat.

Chariot 2

One great reward is the unlocking of new gadgets that, while are level specific, provide new ways to move the king to and fro. This of course will come with a price that I?m sure the King isn’t too pleased in spending since the point of your plan is to obtain money, not spend it. While the early levels do have a one way only design to them, it is nice to see that there are multiple ways to attack the later stages which relieves a bit of the frustration.

The look and feel of Chariot is old school platforming fun, from the colorful enemies and areas, to the light hearted soundtrack and oddball subject matter. Even with the game?s frustrating elements it still remains enjoyable throughout your journey due to the game?s simplistic nature. Sadly while there is couch co-op play, no online play is to be found, so if you are to take on this daunting task with a partner, they will need to be present and accounted for on your couch next to you. While this I?m sure was the developer?s intention, a total omission of an online co-op option was a little disheartening.

Chariot 3

Even with a few flaws and missteps, Chariot is still a very enjoyable platform title that is most welcome in a day and age where they are virtually nonexistent — unless you are a Wii U owner. With Chariot also being a free Games for Gold title for Xbox Live Gold subscribers, hopefully this becomes a growing trend. LEGO games, Max, and Rayman are just not enough to satisfy my appetite for these titles, and developers need to take note of this fact. That being said, whether you grab this for free or for the low price of $15, Chariot is worth your time, even if it is just to rekindle the platforming fire you may have lost.

Grade: B