by January 10, 2020 @ 2:06 pm
This preview is based on the PC version of Conan Chop Chop on Steam.
There was a time when Conan Chop Chop was but a mere April Fool’s Day gag. The mighty Conan the Barbarian… in a cartoon-y beat ’em up? That’s… kind of weird. Thankfully, odd as it may be, that April Fool’s Day joke turned out to be very real, and the game, developed by Mighty Kingdom and published by Funcom, is shaping out to be a fun little cooperative adventure.
I first played Conan Chop Chop at E3 last year. It was one of the most pleasant surprises at the show as it caught me completely by surprise and provided a really fun time. Now, as the game nears its February 25 release date, I got a chance to play a more complete version. Turns out the game is still fun! No surprise there, and this spells nothing but great news if you’re a fan of cooperative dungeon crawlers.
Rogue-Like Party Game
Conan Chop Chop has a very animated look, so much so that it may put off — or at least confuse — longtime Conan fans. The game isn’t meant to be a super serious action-adventure experience, though, and its visuals reflect that. The aesthetic might actually be a bit too simplistic, but it still manages to work within the context of the game.
Simple as it may be, the graphical direction of Conan Chop Chop is indicative of the game’s not-at-all-serious tone. Dubbed a rogue-like party game, its focus is very much on having fun with a group of friends. After playing both by myself and with another player, I can definitely confirm that this is an experience best enjoyed with others.
That’s not to say that Conan Chop Chop isn’t fun if you play by yourself. You can totally jump and have a good time without any other players on your team — I certainly did. That said, the game is pretty tough, so teammates are welcome. Despite its cheery, colorful look, it’s quite unforgiving and forces you to play methodically. From the overworld to the dungeons, enemies are heavily saturated, and they’ll attack in mobs. It’s definitely possible to take out gangs of baddies alone, but it’s much more doable — and way more entertaining — with a few buddies.
If you meet a premature demise when playing alone, it’s back to the start with ya. Conan Chop Chop doesn’t take it easy on you, and as a rogue-like, if you’re destroyed by one of the packs of enemies you encounter during your travels, you’re done for. If you’re playing with others, however, you can be revived (though you’ll lose some currency), adding yet another reason to enjoy this adventure with a group of friends.
Chop Chop Hack Slash
The world of Conan Chop Chop is procedurally generated, and you start with a blank map every time you die. As such, dungeons will never be found in the same locations. Discovering dungeons and exploring the world is a lot of fun, as is going through the actual dungeons themselves. Combat is the standard hack-and-slash deal, but there are upgrades you can purchase or acquire along the way to increase your attack damage on weaker enemies and bosses, as well as knockback, defense, and so on.
The flow of the game and combat, which relies on blades, hammers, and bows, reminded me a bit of earlier Legend of Zelda games. That said, character animations are much faster here than they were in the Zelda titles of old.
There’s a case to be made for Conan Chop Chop being a more linear experience without the rogue-like elements. And while I do think that game could be fun, the cooperative party design offered here makes starting over and returning to the game world really, really enjoyable. Even then, if you want to go it alone, you can certainly do that, and you’ll still have a good time. Co-op is where it’s at, though, so bring some friends, enter this wild departure in the Conan series, and chop your way through the hordes of fantastical, cartoon monsters.
Conan Chop Chop is scheduled to launch on February 25 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC.
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