Spy Chameleon review for PS Vita, PS4

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Wii U
Publisher: Unfinished Pixel
Developer: Unfinished Pixel
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: Leaderboards

Having already played Spy Chameleon on my Wii U, I was kind of ecstatic when the game arrived on PlayStation platforms. Nothing against Nintendo’s home console or anything, but when I get addicted to a game, I prefer that it be on a platform I can take with me everywhere. As far as I was concerned, Spy Chameleon and the Vita were pretty much guaranteed to be a winning combination.

Imagine my dismay, then, when…nah, just kidding. Spy Chameleon on the Vita is almost everything I could’ve wished for. It’s a stealth game that practically demands you play each of its bite-sized levels over and over again until you get them just right, and the Vita’s portability means you can do that everywhere. It runs smoothly, the controls work well, it looks nice — basically, everything you could want out of the game has made the jump to PlayStation, and you get trophies to boot.

Spy Chameleon 1

So why did I qualify that by saying it’s “almost” everything? Because, unfortunately, there’s one tiny little glitch present, one small problem that irks me every time it pops up. In each of the game’s 75 levels, you need to grab 10 flies, beat a target time, and find all the ladybugs. The ladybugs don’t pop up until you’ve achieved one of those first two goals. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, whenever I was playing the game on the go — that is, when it couldn’t see the online leaderboards — it didn’t always realize that I’d beaten the target time, meaning I had to do an extra run-through or two in order for it to properly register. It didn’t happen all the time, and it never happened when I had an internet connection, but it popped up just enough that it left me feeling the teensiest bit of annoyance towards a game I otherwise loved.

Just as you shouldn’t let perfect be the enemy of the good, however, you shouldn’t let one minor issue get in the way of enjoying an otherwise outstanding game. Like I said before, Spy Chameleon’s gameplay seems tailor-made for the Vita. Not only are the levels short and contained enough that they translate perfectly to on-the-go gaming, the controls are as intuitive as can be, and everything just runs smoothly. On top of that, it looks fantastic; there’s no obvious downgrade from the console versions, and the titular lizard pops off the screen no matter what color it is.

Spy Chameleon 2

It’s a shame, then, that Spy Chameleon has that one niggling little issue — one weird problem that prevents me from giving it an absolutely full-throated endorsement. However, that’s not enough for me to not recommend it. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen because of it — that you have to play highly replayable, very enjoyable levels one extra time? Considering how much fun Spy Chameleon is, that’s a trade-off I’m happy to make.

Grade: A