Chalk Review

Here is another one of Konjak's most well known freeware games called Chalk, a sort of a mash-up between a shmup and simple mouse controlled game like those you find two a penny on any flash game website. The result of these colliding game designs is something not found any where else and is allot of fun. You control with the mouse and keyboard as she ventures along the stage either destroying or dodging the many obstacles that get in your way. To destroy something depends what it is; an normal object all you need to do is while L-clicking with your mouse draw a line which connects all the green circles in the object. While a baddie will require you to wait until it fires a bullet at you so you can quickly make a line from the bullet to the enemy. This does sound easier said then done as objects are usually moving fast or spinning and most baddies need 2 bullets to destroy them, On top of that you only have a limited amount of 'chalk' (time) to make a line. This forces you to draw lines faster then you would normally or you will find yourself running out of 'chalk' and having a line shorter then it needs to be.

This is the core gameplay of Chalk and you will find extra gameplay mechanics later in the game aswell, like blue boxes which stop you from drawing a line over them so you need to pick them up and either throw them away or drop it onto another blue box to destroy them. Also you can rebound white bullets with a line which is always useful for killing the baddies. Like in all of Konjak's games its the boss fights which are the best parts of the game. While I wouldn't say the bosses in Chalk are on par with those of the Noitu Love games, they still are fun while easy to fight, each requiring you to think of how to damage him, usually this will entail using the objects in the screen to exploit the bosses weakness, Just like in Noitu Love.

The stage one boss has two forms this is his first

Onto the game's presentation. While this is a freeware title and the graphics are all basic, in that you are supposed to be playing on a chalk board, the simple graphics add to the look and feel of the game. The idea you are in a black board is further reinfored with the sound effect of chalk on the black board every time you draw a line. The sound effects are accompanied by a pleasing blip tune which is instantly recognisable as been make by Konjak if you have played a Noitu Love game before. Konjak is really good at giving his games a sense of polish that is his own, making his games instantly recognisable as his. This is one of the reasons he is one of my favorite indie game developers.

To get a high rank you need to chain several object in one stroke

Back to Chalk, there are 6 stages in total the last stage just been a boss rush of all the other stage's bosses before going up against the last boss. I found him to be pretty easy to defeat, although comaired to the other bosses he is a step up in difficulty. Infact Chalk as a whole is quite easy to complete on a single credit. Chalk gives you 3 credits on top which should let even low skilled gamers complete all stages. While Chalk may be easy if it's just played casually like most people will do, Chalk has borrowed gameplay from the shoot'em up genre, where if you wish to can scratch a little deeper and get a much greater challenge from it than what a Joe blogs casual gamer will do. To facilitate this Chalk has a rank system where at the end of each level you are graded on how well you played, From a rank D to an S. To the delight of hardcore gamers to get a rank S or even a A is no easy feat. To improve your score getting overkills etc by killing more then one enemy per chalk line is an absolute must. And soon you will be thinking of ingenious ways of getting overkills.

Those blue boxes can be a pain as you cant draw over them. Pick them up
and throw them away

While I do like Chalk and find it allot of fun, I really do wish Konjak would of added more to the game. More stages, more baddies, more gameplay elements that allow you to use your chalk line to affect the game in different ways, for example different types of bullets with different properties then just the standard purple and white ones. Chalk maybe just a freeware game. But it is so unique in what it does that I can't help wanting Konjak to develop Chalk into something more then what it is now. What I find surprising is that Chalk hasn't been developed into something worthy of a commercial release, as this game screams out like a banshee to be ported over to the DS with it's stylus controls. And while I'm on that train of thought, those of you who have a tablet and pen controller should really try it out with this game. I don't own a tablet but after Chalk on the DS, I bet a tablet comes in as the 2ND best way to play Chalk.

Even though I wish Chalk was so much more then what it is, I can't take away what Chalk really is, A game that although very short is allot of fun (and this is from someone who generally hates action games to be mouse controlled). And even though a freeware title does have good presentation to it. 3.9 out of 5

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