Edutainment games don’t exactly have the best reputation. The trap that many fall into is that they’re educational first and entertaining second – if at all. The problem is that without the entertainment, will anyone really care about the game at all?
Last year we covered Bee Simulator on the site, which was a surprisingly fun game about bees that had you controlling one as it attempted to save its hive. Get-A-Grip Chip and the Body Bugs, on the other hand, is a platformer aimed at teaching you all about the human body.
Will this also succeed at being an enjoyable edutainment game for you to digest, or should it just be excreted?
Many thanks to Redstart for the review code.
Our story begins with an unnamed patient suffering from some some quite severe problems: his mouth, stomach, and intestines are all plagued with body bugs. Thankfully, the doctor suggests a revolutionary procedure that involved swallowing a little dude called Chip, who will navigate around his body and get rid of those nasty bugs. Essentially it’s the plot to Fantastic Voyage, except starring a small dude with a magnet attached to his head instead of a ship.
Despite the stories simplicity, it’s presented rather well. There are brief comic strips that bookend the experience which tell the story, and the rest of the game is simply navigating the three areas to clear our the bugs. Visually the game looks great, with each area being distinct from one another, and the soundtrack offers some nice funky beats that fit the action well.
What makes this game different to the normal platformer is that chip lacks the ability to jump. Relying on his head-magnet, he needs to grab and propel himself forward using the various grapple points available. Being only able to move and grapple keeps things simple, and the swinging momentum gives the game a really fast-paced feel to it as you swing around like a robotic spiderman. It feels really good to control, and that is the most important thing for any platformer.
The simplistic mechanics benefit the rest of the game, since each area has its own platforming mechanics to deal with. Whether it’s rotating glands, or fragile blood vessels that pop upon touch, there’s a fair amount of variety on offer. In addition to the platforming challenges, there are also six cells hidden within each level that you need to find. A telltale bright light will guide you towards most, but some can be easy to miss. These cells are necessary to unlock further levels, so it’s worth grabbing as many as you can to aid your progression. Each of these cells represent a bodily function or organ and give you information on their particular body part as you collect them. The kicker? At the end of each level, there’s a quiz-like section that has you matching obtained cells to their description. It’s quite fun and surprisingly challenging if, like me, you didn’t bother reading any of the descriptions beforehand.
It may not be the longest game, clocking in at around an hour, but it’s enjoyable and extremely cheap. In fact, if you own the first game then you can download this one for absolutely free. It’s great that the developers crafted a neat little platformer and essentially gave it away for the sake of education.
My expectations were low going in, considering it was a dirt cheap edutainment title, but I was pleasantly surprised by the overall production values and the entertaining and unique gameplay it offered. Coupled with some nice edutainment sections teaching you about the human body, this is a great game for a child learning about the natural sciences. Or for an adult that wants to have a solid hour’s worth of platforming fun.