Chariot review for Wii U

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

The indie game scene has given us a gigantic variety of games, each differing in quality, substance, and entertainment. One of the most endearing qualities that I am thankful has seen a resurgence is the ability for a game to make me laugh. Chariot takes what should be a very serious subject and turns it into a lighthearted adventure filled with moments of a very grumpy and funny dead king. He?s not really that angry that he?s dead, but he?s not happy that he?s about to be buried without a vast amount of treasure. So it?s up to the player (and a friend if you want to play 2-player simultaneous couch co-op) to take on the role of the king?s daughter or her fianc? and to deliver the king to his final resting place, but along the way collect as much treasure as possible to make his stay in the afterworld a bit more pleasant. Of course the king doesn?t stay silent during this quest, spouting out one-liners where it?s appropriate.

Chariot 2

The outrageous story takes backseat to the very fun game mechanics. The entire game can be played solo or with a partner. The king?s body is in a coffin and attached to it are four wheels. Your character can push the chariot up and down small hills or attach a rope to pull it along. The rope can be extended or shortened to adequately maneuver the chariot throughout the environment. Everything behaves as it should, with real physics playing a big part in how things move. For example, rolling the chariot down a hill will cause it to gain speed and allow for it to cross bigger chasms. Treasures are scattered about the environments and the only way to pick them up is to get the chariot near them. As more treasure is accumulated and the levels progress, blueprints will be found and allow you to use some of that money to purchase helpful items. One of the first in the game is a stake that can be placed and a rope is attached to it, holding the chariot in place. This tool is needed for some of the more tricky spots to get the chariot where it?s needed.

Each playable character can use a rope to attach it to the chariot and pull or lift it around the environment. Some areas of the level will have signs posted showing that two people are required to get through that specific section (very similar to how Little Big Planet handles multiplayer-only areas). While these aren?t required to be explored to complete the game, completionists will want to tag a friend in to collect everything. Playing co-op is fun and encouraged, but it can become more difficult as each player tends to make mistakes or perhaps get through a section in a different manner. Communication is key to successfully navigating the levels together. The game is compatible with: the GamePad, Wii U Pro Controller, Wii Remote and Classic Controller, Wii Remote and Nunchuk. So, pretty much any controller combo you may own should work fine.

Chariot 1

The game?s visuals are very nicely detailed and eye catching. The animations are solid and the game moves very smoothly. There are various environments, although for the most part you are exploring caverns. The game remains colorful throughout, with some nice lighting effects rounding out the artwork. The 2D platforming mechanics work great with the art and everything feels solid and polished.

Chariot is one of those games that smartly starts out fairly easy, but continues to layer in new play mechanics and before you know it you?re swinging the chariot across the level like you?re Indiana Jones with his whip. The game ramps up nicely in the difficulty curve and while I don?t think it ever becomes insanely hard, it?s a nice challenge to try and get through each level with as much treasure as you can. The pacing feels right, and the game should take most people probably three to five hours to go through, which isn?t bad for the $14.99 asking price. If you enjoy 2D platforming games with a hint of puzzle solving, Chariot will answer the call. There really aren?t any Wii U exclusive additions, other than you can play the game off-screen with the GamePad. Visually the game holds its own against the PS4 version, so feel free to buy it on whatever platform suits you best. Your chariot awaits.

Grade: B+