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Adventures Of Chris

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC
Genre: Platformer
Publisher: Graffiti Games
Developer: Guin Entertainment
Release Date: Oct. 8, 2020


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PC Review - 'Adventures of Chris'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on Dec. 22, 2020 @ 12:00 a.m. PST

Adventures of Chris is a hand-drawn, global adventure platformer where you play as Chris, a chubby underdog kid with wacky superpowers that must save children from around the world.

Adventures of Chris opens in the 1990s. A young boy named Chris is walking home one day when he's kidnapped by a vampire who's a little boy. The vampire has kidnapped children to attend his birthday party, but in a fit of pique, he turns them all into toys. Chris is turned into a balloon and floats into the sky, where — wouldn't you know it? — there's a kingdom of magical lost balloons. The balloons teach Chris how to control his ability to inflate and deflate, and Chris sets off to rescue the lost children and defeat the vampire who cursed them all.

The biggest problem with Adventures of Chris is that it is sometimes too mean-spirited for its own good. The central joke of the game is, "Haha, this guy is lonely and fat," and while it tries to provide some positivity to the character, it undercuts it at every chance. It isn't intended to be mean-spirited, but the concept wears thin after the 10th fat joke in three minutes. I enjoyed the game's Mean mode, where it leaned into fourth-wall-breaking humor. It isn't enough to sour the game, but the experience is best when it doesn't rely on that particular series of jokes.

Adventures of Chris is a solid platformer with a twist. You begin with no abilities but quickly gather more in a mild homage to Super Metroid, complete with a near-identical loadout screen. Don't mistake that for meaning the game is a Metroidvania; it isn't. It's more akin to Mega Man, where each stage has a bonus power you can get that makes other stages easier. The game does a good job of encouraging you to explore the various areas. You can get pretty much everything in the game on a first runthrough of a mission, but unlockables (including a very handy compass) make it far easier to know when you're missing something.

The twist is that from the start, Chris has the ability to inflate himself, which allows him to float in the sky and fly over a lot of obstacles or approach puzzles in different ways. At the outset, you can only inflate and deflate once without touching the ground, but as you progress, you can get extra "floats" to chain together movement. It's a pretty cool ability that encourages you to think of weird ways to explore. Floating means you can't move in high winds, so you'll need to use other abilities, such as a super-high belly bounce, to move around in those areas.

One thing I don't like is when Adventures of Chris takes away abilities from you. Mercifully, this doesn't occur very often, but the game is at its worst when you're unable to use skills for no reason. There's one particularly bad area near the end of the game where you have only the power to float and everything is a one-hit kill, which quickly crossed the line from challenging to tedious. Thankfully, the game is pretty good about avoiding that, so it's more like a couple of tedious areas.

Overall, the difficulty level is fairly low. You have infinite lives and respawn with full health, so the major challenge comes from some of the longer boss fights, where you are at genuine risk of running out of health, especially if you haven't yet purchased armor upgrades or additional health. It's a nice balance, but there's no encouragement to keep fighting if you're low on health since you restart where you entered the room, which makes health power-ups feel useless except for a handful on lengthy areas.

There isn't much negative to say about Adventures of Chris either, though. It's a perfectly competent and enjoyable platformer with a variety of content and an unlockable hard mode that genuinely changes up the environments and plot. It doesn't do anything unique but focuses on being an homage to the games the developer grew up with. It's a perfectly fine representation of that kind of nostalgia. Some — or most — of the references might be lost on younger players who have no idea of the references to 1995's hottest games and styles. As someone named Chris who was about the same age in 1995, the title hits all of my nostalgia buttons when in-game Chris mentions his love of Chrono Trigger.

Adventures of Chris is brightly colored and visually charming. The art style is a little generic, but it has enough flavor to stand out. The "popping" death animation is bloodless, but it's surprisingly off-putting, especially in the later game when the highest-tier redshirt looks like he's exploding into gore. What really stands out is the soundtrack. Adventures of Chris has a remarkably good soundtrack with lots of excellent songs that evoke the nostalgia of 1990s video games while being their own thing. Honestly, the title is worth playing for the soundtrack alone.

Overall, Adventures of Chris is a perfectly pleasant, charming and nostalgic trip for anyone who grew up in the 1990s. It plays well, it's colorful and charming, and it has an amazing soundtrack. Only an over-reliance on somewhat mean-spirited jokes drags it down, but that is largely ignorable. It doesn't do anything special or unique, but if you just want a relaxing little platformer to play, then Adventures of Chris has you covered.

Score: 8.0/10

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