Utopian World of Sandwiches appears to have a great eye for concept delivery. The critters that star in Chompy Chomp Chomp are undeniably cute and insatiably hungry. The game is as eye-catching as it is frantic, though sometimes a bit too much for its own good. This party game will provide entertainment for most, but its flaws may grate the enjoyment of others to a fine dust.
Imagine a game of Pac-Man with just the ghosts, but the ghosts are tiny-horned devils. Each of the four devils is controlled by a player. A circle rests beneath each one — its color represents the devil you need to eat. You’ll have to chase them down and eat them up while avoiding your own assailant, at least until the color of the circle and the targets change. This is the basis of every match in Chompy Chomp Chomp.
There are elements that provide a level of chaos, like every good party game should. Several power-ups may litter the stage at any given moment, like deployable ice-patches and speed boosts. There are also poison items that slow you down for a short period – usually long enough to be eaten by your enemy. The frequency and appearance of these can be tuned to your liking, which is great because being poisoned is simply not fun.
You respawn quickly in one of the four corners of your display after being eaten, though it’s incredibly easy to be picked off once you reappear. This can lead to an unfortunate string of deaths and subsequent loss of points. This is prevalent enough that it could damage some players’ enjoyment of the game. It is admittedly quite frustrating to go from first to fourth because someone happens to be at your spawn point each time you reappear. The best strategy to counteract this seems to be “Never stop moving,” but it can be difficult to locate yourself at first. Perhaps a short post-spawn invincibility period would allow players to jump back into the fray more easily and avoid becoming a one-person all-you-can-eat buffet.
There’s a pretty diverse selection of maps, though some are better than others. The best ones have a good mix of open space and tight corridors — too much of either results in a rather boring round. Support for both online and local multiplayer is a nice touch. The game seemed to run pretty smoothly in the two-player, two-bot set of games I played over the intertubes with Armless Octomate Mike Wall. There was a couple of moments where we both kind of ran through our targets without actually eating them, but it happened maybe once every five games.
Chompy Chomp Chompy is not a deep or nuanced game, but its a ton of fun in short bursts. The joy comes in balancing the need to chase someone down while watching your back. It’s perfect to break out on game night, or in between bouts of Hidden In Plain Sight.
Chompy Chomp Chomp was provided for review by Utopian World of Sandwiches. It is available for 80 Microsoft points ($1) the Xbox Live Marketplace