Available Now on iOS & Android – Free (in-app purchases available)
There’s a real dismissal of mobile games as ‘not real games’ or as bottomless pits of monetisation, even among those in the gaming community who would usually be considered – or consider themselves – as very open minded. Though there is an awful lot of shovelware and titles designed almost solely to squeeze every last penny out of their players, there’s an awful lot of really good games that get lost or fail to catch on. Quite often, there are games that fail to make any sort of impact despite being well designed, satisfying experiences that don’t feature the predatory monetisation that so often blights mobile titles.
Which is where a game like Lab Chaos comes in. It’s a mobile title, yes – but it’s a very well designed, very addictive one. Though it does have some elements of mobile gameplay that can be off-putting; ads that can be intrusive, particularly in their timing on menus (never interrupting gameplay though, thankfully) and an element of microtransactions too. They don’t feel predatory though. An unfortunate necessity, certainly – given the fact that consumers are unlikely to try a mobile game that has an upfront price tag in the first place.
But I digress. Lab Chaos is a fast paced platform puzzler, taking place in a – yes, you guessed it – lab, with your cute little blob of green goo (who’s named Fleck, according to the game’s press release) trying to find its way to the exit portal. Each stage gives you the opportunity to win a star for beating it in a target time, as well as collecting little atomic symbols (‘skill atoms’) and blue crystals, the number of which vary on each stage.
There’s a lot of elements added in as you proceed further into the game, with a few examples being blue springy surfaces allowing your blob to jump and green surfaces bestowing the power of stickiness – and therefore wall-crawling feats of gravity defiance. Magnetism also comes into play at points, sometimes in spectacularly tricky fashion.
The goo character is charming and the game in general has a nice visual style that’s really appealing, along with an excellent soundtrack.
Where it does fall down is in areas that aren’t the game’s fault; being a mobile title, the lack of a traditional controller does present problems with the accuracy that the game demands at times (though controller support is included, which does negate that issue entirely if you have a Bluetooth controller).
Not only that, but the limited lives, with purchasing of more via coins (in turn purchased with real money) can be a pain. However, the latter is – as outlined in my introduction – understandable in the mobile games space.
UPDATE (12th February 2020): Though the limited lives do remain in the game, it’s now possible to purchase unlimited play at a reasonable cost. If you do enjoy Lab Chaos, I’d strongly recommend that you use this option if you can – not only will it allow you to play uninterrupted, but you’ll be supporting the developers with your purchase too!
I’ve also now played the game with an Xbox One controller, paired to my Android phone via Bluetooth. Though a bit like using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut, it’s a great way to play and the game absolutely shines with a more traditional control method.
Lab Chaos is a thoughtfully designed, fun and challenging platformer with some excellent, varied mechanics and a ton of content. It’s well worth checking out, especially as it can be downloaded for free.
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