News :: Featured Game - Tile World

Date: 2014-08-04, Author: Albert H., Editor: Surkow

Fun with tiles

This week, we're discussing the GCW Zero port of Tile World, an engine-compatible clone of the classic puzzle game Chip's Challenge. The basic premise is that the player must find all the chips in a level needed to complete it. Along the way, the player collects keys and different colored shoes which help to traverse different kinds of terrain. There is also an assortment of different enemies, such as those that blindly patrol along walls, and those that seek out the player. All this, and more, are to be discovered in this faithful continuation of the puzzle game classic.

Chip's Challenge was an early Windows game included in Microsoft Entertainment Pack collections, where it rose to prominence. Chip's Challenge did not start out on Windows, but it started off on the Atari Lynx, which was a first in the handheld market for having a color screen and good graphics but ultimately failed for its lack of third-party developer support and high battery costs. [1]

For its initial release on the Lynx, the game was finished in part by Chuck Sommerville in his spare time, then developers at Epyx software continued it, including Sommerville himself as well as Bill Darrah, a professional puzzle designer. This first version of the game was the template for later ports like the well-known Windows port, which inherited the same 148 levels (with an additional level thrown in). [2]

With support from Sommerville himself, Brian Raiter started on a recreation of the Lynx and Windows version engines in 2000. As Microsoft had basically barred any further work on the original Chip's Challenge license through their acquisition of it, Sommerville had relented any efforts to make a true sequel to the game. He decided to support Raiter's new engine for his spiritual sequel. Released in 2002, Tile World has since become the de facto standard for all Chip's Challenge enthusiasts. The engine can technically support data files from both the original Lynx and Windows versions of the games, each having its technical quirks that change the game mechanics slightly. [3][4]

Now, with Tile World in its freely distributable form, several free map packs are included which recreate both the Lynx and Windows style of game mechanics as built into the engine. The GCW Zero port by Daniel Silsby offers numerous options for controlling the character, including the D-Pad, ABXY buttons and optionally the joystick nub. The latter option might be a bit fiddly for some (given this game has no actual use of analog-type controls or even anything more than 4 directions of absolute movement), but its inclusion is nevertheless appreciated by those who feel they have an advantage with the joystick nub.

Tile World can be freely downloaded from the GCW software repository[5], so get it today and experience the mind-boggling challenges that this game will throw at you.