Chester One is an Action Platformer set in a world where a villain has stolen all the cupcakes, and it is up to us to reclaim them. We start off playing as Chester, a fireball throwing humanoid with the ability to slow down time temporarily. After making our way through the two tutorial levels, we are given free rein to choose which of the five planets to land on and find where the hidden cupcakes are located. Each planet has their own difficulty rating so picking an easier one may be your best choice until you get the hang of the mechanics. It also features four difficulty modes ranging from Easy to “D:”. Even on Normal, it was quite a struggle on later levels though you will be able to change between them whenever you want via the hub-world if things get overwhelming.
The goal of each level is to reach the cupcake, but they are guarded by a variety of monsters that are bent on stopping you from reclaiming them. Most every one of them can be slain by shooting them repeatedly in the face. It is more complicated than it seems, there are three elements at play here, them being Grass, Fire, and Water. Each element is both weak and strong against another meaning that attacking fire monsters with your fireballs will be significantly less efficient. On the other hand, if you get hit with a fire attack it will damage you a lot less, so there is strategy involved in whether you want to cause heavy damage or play it safe.
Chester will always be bound to fire. To change what element you are, you must switch to another of the various characters. They each play very differently from one another; it is not simply a different sprite that has a different element attached to them. One may cause more damage while some float slightly during a jump and have a bunch of other quirks to differentiate themselves. Each also possesses different special abilities from Chester’s time stopping skill such as spawning four tiny shields around them or shooting a couple of homing projectiles. You can switch between them at any time during the level though your health carries over meaning that if you are near death, switching to another character won’t save you.
Every enemy you kill and every level you complete will get you closer to leveling up whoever you are playing as to make them stronger and more efficient. Unlocking more characters isn’t free, they must be purchased by collecting stamps scattered throughout the stages, and they will all increase in price every time that you buy another one. They can get pretty pricey nearing the end of the game. Thankfully we do get to keep our stamps even after we die and they do respawn in their original positions afterward so it is easy to gather up a small fortune without even trying. Also found throughout each level are frosting cups, sporks and ships that will unlock something after collecting them all. Not in any way necessary but they are there to give us a reason to explore as well as to replay levels.
Fighting is all well and good though you can go through the game without killing a single thing if that is how you choose to play it. Even with a combat system more complex than just shooting them until they die it is occasionally better to run instead of standing your ground. Enemies do not go down quickly, are quick to swarm you and do respawn after a short amount of time. Other than hoping they randomly drop a cookie to refill your special meter or a band-aid to recover some health, it is typically better to avoid them and keep your eyes on the sugary prize. That’s just me though, Chester One gives you multiple ways to play through it to better suit your play-style. One thing I absolutely love is that each stage has multiple routes to get through it, further adding to how different the experiences will be between people.
Probably the most unique feature is the ability to change the art style itself on a whim. Changing the art also changes the game itself like having the world looking like a sketch drawing will cause enemies to attack less or having an LCD style to make platforms move slower. Experimenting with characters and art styles is not required though you will have a tougher time just trying to brute force your way through it. It starts off easy but will quickly take off its gloves once you reach more difficult planets. The controls are spot on, and while difficult, it was never rage inducing. That is unless you are trying to go for achievements or all the collectibles. In that case, good luck my friend.
In total, there are 40 levels to fight your way through. As long as you are playing on one of the first three difficultly modes, all of them will have several checkpoints to keep you ever inching your way to victory. You have an infinite amount of lives to allow you to tackle the section giving you trouble as many times as you like. One slight issue I do take with this game is that the highest resolution is 1080p, making it look less than stellar if your monitor’s resolution is greater than that. Regardless of the art-style you pick, it looks great and has a charming vibe to it, making that the 1080p limitation all the more unfortunate. Combat itself while more complex than it seems, isn’t all that satisfying. With that being said, Chester One is packed to the brim with content & personality and is an absolute steal at just three dollars.