Get-a-Grip Chip and the Body Bugs Review: Little Robot, Big Adventure
I wanted to review Get-a-Grip Chip and the Body Bugs because it looked like a charming platformer with an educational twist. I was unaware at the time that it’s essentially a reworked version of the original Get-a-Grip Chip. My review will cover both games; I lucked out in that regard because, while they’re both great, they each offer a slightly different experience.
Get-a-Grip Chip is a platformer about the eponymous Chip, a robot who works at Roboco Manufacturing. Chip helps assemble the company’s robots. He places the heads on the Battery Bots, which are reminiscent of Mega Man Legends’ Servbots. A packaging machine overheats, explodes, and sends shrapnel flying all over the place. A large gear from the machine lodges itself in the head of a large scanning robot, Scan-It Janet. She goes haywire and destroys the entire factory, sending Chip and the helpless Battery Bots into the factory’s bowels.
A brief tutorial helps you get acquainted with Chip’s world. Get-a-Grip Chip takes a page from Bionic Commando in that Chip can’t jump. He uses the grappling hook on his head to grab bolts, from which he can launch himself in any direction. It’s an accessible design with a minimal learning curve. It only took me a few minutes to adjust to the grappling hook’s length and the distance Chip can travel while airborne. In a matter of minutes, I was deftly grappling and launching myself around.
Unlike Bionic Commando, Chip only has to worry about environmental hazards. Now, the lack of enemies might make it sound like the game is easy, but it’s not. There are proximity mines, lasers, platforms with saws, electrified bolts, acid and magma rivers, conveyor belts, and more. Recall that you can’t jump, so you have to time your grapples and launches for the proper moment. And when the bolts are attached to spinning gears and surrounded by mines and lasers…yeah, that gets complicated.
The level design is further complicated by the wind. Chip is just a little guy, so he’s at the wind’s mercy, except you’ll find no mercy here. There are moments in which you’ll have to launch yourself against the wind to progress, and the change in momentum and physics can be…difficult. There’s little room for error, especially when the wind is involved.
Any and every obstacle that can harm Chip is an instant kill. He can only ever take a single hit. Get-a-Grip Chip sets a high bar for the player. The game gradually gets more complicated, but the difficulty curve is mellow. You also have unlimited lives, and the checkpoints are generous. I rarely found myself frustrated with it because it’s so accommodating. The wind made my blood pressure rise a few times but in a good way!
Each of Get-a-Grip Chip’s thirty levels has eight Battery Bots to find. The poor little guys are stuffed in cardboard boxes. Some are in plain sight, but most of them are hidden in secret areas. Those areas aren’t that difficult to find; I only had to replay a handful of levels to pick up Bots I missed on my first go. While the Battery Bots can be easy to find, that doesn’t mean they’re easy to get. Battery Bots are necessary for unlocking levels, but they also provide Chip with different skins.
The final level in each world is a chase level. Janet appears, blows something up, and poor Chip gets chased. A caustic liquid (acid, molten iron, etc.) fills the left side of the screen and chases you through the entire level. These levels are fast, hectic, and stressful, especially if you’re trying to get all the Battery Bots. Be ready to replay some sections multiple times unless you’re some sort of awesome…robot.
While Get-a-Grip Chip only has thirty levels, there are forty-four achievements, and each level has a leaderboard. I managed to pick up thirty-three during my playthrough. I’m not one for leaderboards, but it does add a little something extra for those of you who are especially good at the game. To my credit, as of this writing, I was in fifth place in Level 2-6, “Mohawk of Doom.”
Grapplin’ to the Beats
Get-a-Grip Chip looks and sounds as good as it plays. Each world is a different floor in the factory and has its own theme. The game itself has sort of a soft, cartoony look to it, which works well for happy-go-lucky Chip. Chip is also surprisingly expressive. He enthusiastically hollers when you launch him, and you can catch him smiling, too.
All the launching, crunching, and grappling sounds are appropriately punchy. The real stand out is the soundtrack. It’s an interesting mix of electronic, rock, and jazz, all fused together. The chase songs are energetic and will keep your pulse pounding while you flee for your life. Even the mellow tracks are lively and interesting, though. It’s the kind of soundtrack you can listen to even if you’re not playing the game.
There’s a lot to like about Get-a-Grip Chip, but there are a few minor stumbles. With all the grappling and launching shenanigans, I had expected some fiery boss fights, but there aren’t any. The chase levels are essentially boss fights, but it’s not quite the same. I did enjoy the chase levels, but boss fights would have been nice, too, just to mix it up a bit.
Speaking of which, the game does kind of run out of creative steam by the time you reach the last world. That’s not to say it’s dull or boring—quite the opposite. It just runs out of surprises, which is a little disappointing. Thirty levels will keep you occupied for a while, but it’s not a lengthy experience either. That’s me asking for more, though, which is always a good sign. Thankfully, the developers delivered.
Get-a-Grip Chip and the Body Bugs
After saving his friends, Chip is ready for a new adventure, which is great because he’s been repurposed into a healthcare robot. It’s kind of like the movie Fantastic Voyage but with better technology. It also doesn’t go on for so long that you can feel yourself aging. The new miniaturized Chip controls and plays just like the original. You can expect the same grappling and launching antics that made the original so enjoyable. This time, however, Chip is journeying through the body’s digestive track. His mission? Education!
A Dose of Biology
Now, I don’t want to date myself, but the last time I played an edutainment (groan) title was in the 90s. Who could forget Mario is Missing and Mario’s Time Machine on the Super Nintendo? Probably everyone because they weren’t great. I have sentimental memories of both, but I’m also never playing them again. They are Mario games in name only!
With a new adventure comes a change in scenery. Instead of grappling bolts, Chip grapples red blood cells. Instead of saving Bots, he rescues white blood cells and neurons. Each cell you save provides you with a factoid about a process or substance related to the current level. For example, in the first level, which is in the mouth, you’ll learn about food and nutrients, and the enzymes and processes involved in digestion.
At the end of each level is a quiz. There are six questions, one for each white blood cell you hopefully found. Insert the correct white blood cell to answer the question. Much like in the original with the Battery Bots, you must find a minimum number of white blood cells to unlock more levels. You also have to correctly answer those quiz questions. No worries; they’re not too hard.
I’m unsure about how much content is one-to-one reproduced from the original. I recognized a few sections—probably from spending an embarrassing amount of time in them. Either way, there’s enough new content to keep fans of the original engaged, even if it does require that you learn something along the way.
It’s not surprising that Get-a-Grip Chip and the Body Bugs is easier than the original. It’s intended for younger audiences in an educational setting. Unlike the original, you can adjust Chip’s health on the fly. You can even make him invincible, which is probably useful for the youngest of players.
We’re Disgusting Inside
Even though it’s easier, Body Bugs is still just as engaging as the original. All the obstacles and features in the original, including the chase levels, are here—viruses stand in for Janet’s destructive role. The level designs are less complicated. The secret areas shimmer, so they aren’t so secret anymore. In a way, you can think of Body Bugs’ twelve levels as a sampler for Chip’s larger adventure.
The human body is fascinating but gross. The new aesthetics perfectly fit the theme, and the sounds are appropriately squishy. Many of the game’s cells and other structures mirror their real-world counterparts, which is impressive. Of course, there are some creative liberties here and there. The original’s soundtrack is reused here, but it’s just as awesome here.
A quick aside—I know why this patient is suffering. He’s full of teeth! They’re everywhere. It’s almost like he was eating them…
Anyway, I could see Body Bugs as an engaging jumping off point to longer conversations about cell biology and the human body. It provides basic information about numerous complex systems. I even managed to learn a thing or two (or maybe relearned). In a sequel, I could see Chip tackling other systems. The circulatory system seems like a no-brainer because he spends all his time grappling red and white blood cells.
Another aside—there’s no reason not to check this out. According to the developers, it’ll be free on their website. It’ll also be free for anyone who owns the original Get-a-Grip-Chip.
Get a Grip Everywhere
Get-a-Grip Chip, and its educational sequel, is a charming platformer with a ton of heart. Its simple mechanics and complex designs will get your heart racing and your fingers twitching. For such a tiny robot, there sure is a lot to love here. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for Chip’s next adventure.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Available on: Switch (reviewed), PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Steam, Mobile; Publisher: Redstart Interactive; Developer: Redstart Interactive; Players: 1; Release Date: May 12, 2022; ESRB: E for Everyone; MSRP: $2.99
Editor’s note: The publisher provided a review copy to Hey Poor Player.