Spy Chameleon – RGB Agent – What We Think:
Here is a game that is as deceptive as its color-swapping protagonist Edward Snowdy – what seems a cute casual puzzler for teens is actually a tough-as-nails stealth-action title capable of challenging even the most staunch speedrunner. From indie developer Unfinished Pixel out of Barcelona, Spain, this Greenlit title, featuring very little backstory, has you in control of a sneaky chameleon attempting to pick up insects from a variety of rooms populated and patrolled by security droids and surveillance cameras. “Missions” add little more than flavor – from snapping a candid pic of a celeb, to corporate espionage – they are essentially just achievements at the end of every dozen or so levels.
She Comes and Goes
The gimmick here is that you can camouflage yourself into one of four colors by tapping the corresponding button on your gamepad or by using your keyboard. I was surprised by the added trick of knocking over colored buckets of paint to win yourself an extra little hiding spot. There are always small safe areas in each room – whether its between some couches, or in a tight corner behind a plant. It is important to become aware of these fast, as there is often little room left to maneuver.
Controls are necessarily tight and responsive as you will often find that twitch-speed dodges are required to sneak past the guards towards the end goal. The developers have made sure to include enough challenges and game modes for those who like to beat their fastest time, underlining the fact that this isn’t necessarily about solving puzzles, as it is testing your perception and quick reflexes.
Another nice touch are the checkpoints scattered through any given level, to which you can return and update your progress at any time simply by stepping back on it. This means, if you get caught, you don’t merely restart from your last save point, but rather, start back at that node with whatever flies (and bonus ladybugs) you have collected since your last check-in, already accounted for.
The graphics are great, (albeit a little mobile game-like); ambient and bloomy spot light sources lay out various dollhouse-feeling 3D rooms seen from a topdown view. This lighting is separate from the faint cones cast by the security bots to depict their field of view/line of sight. Tiled floors, ornate wallpapers and so on, help break up the monotony and keep things interesting, and a funky soul soundtrack supports the humorous heist theme.
The only gripe I have is that viewport is a little smaller than the room and you have to move the camera around to see what is ahead. I suppose this is another element to the challenge, but I found it more distracting than appealing. If the devs don’t want me to see what is ahead, I would rather have a fog of war than than a rubbery viewport – and I feel that diegetically this is more sound as well. Really though, this is a design choice, as opposed to an oversight and I am aware that others may not be bothered by it.
I found I actually laughed out loud a few times at the sheer insanity of the “sweet spot” I had to land in order to pass the guards, but always, there was a rather simple way to solve things if I took enough time/tries to see it.
The Spy Who Loved Me
All told, Spy Chameleon combines a variety of play factors into a surprisingly seamless offering that is very easy to pick up and intriguing enough to keep you going through its many levels. A stealthy action title, perhaps something you might file alongside a single-player version of Monaco, the various humorous side missions and methods of solving a room make this a solid title for gamers of all types and ages.
Watch the official trailer for Spy Chameleon – RGB Agent, below: