Canvaleon (Wii U) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 05.11.2015

Review for Canvaleon on Wii U

A chameleon being able to change its colour is actually a myth, believe it or not. The lizards actually adjust the texture of their skin, like applying bump mapping to a game material, so that the light reflects off them differently, letting them blend in with surfaces and objects. Developer OXiAB opted for the fictional version in order to create an almost Metal Gear Solid 3-style camouflage system. Recently, the team released its stealth platformer hybrid on the Wii U eShop, but is it going to sneak its way to the top? It's time to have a look at Canvaleon.

Shunned by his townsfolk and parents, the hero of this tale is born colourless and without the ability to camouflage himself. He gets taken in by a wandering artist who sees him as a living breathing canvas, and so he, imaginatively, dubs the chameleon Canvas. Canvaleon is a stealth action platformer collect 'em up thing. It begins with an easy tutorial level ("tutorial" being used lightly, here, as it's more of a drop into the game with very little explanation about its mechanics or controls), which ends with an interesting plot development involving a flying saucer. The basic setup is Donkey Kong Country-like; it has an overworld map with levels placed around it, and a store where Canvas can create his new camo once the correct pickups have been found.

To get different camos it is imperative to embark on a butterfly collection quest, as it's these butterflies that provide the paint for the different suits. The camo can then be equipped before entering a level. The camo system is interesting and adds a tactical element to the gameplay, but, at the moment, it is very much trial and error - although the developers are addressing this in their next patch, which will make the background changeable in the camo choice screen, providing an insight into how effective the camo will be. The prebuilt camo is not quite as useful as it should be, and custom camo is somewhat fiddly, but the system ultimately works.

Screenshot for Canvaleon on Wii U

In general, the gameplay is fun and punchy, with Canvas having a large jump arc and fast run cycle. It's far from perfect, though, as every input and output feels floaty and slides like ice. Canvas gains momentum a little like a Sonic the Hedgehog does, which means he frequently overshoots the smaller platforms, leading to either death or deadly inconvenience. The level design seems to take a lot from the Sonic franchise, with lots of randomly placed spikes, forced exploration and generally odd or unthoughtful platform placement, which wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the high difficulty. It doesn't really utilise many GamePad functions, except for off-screen play.

The presentation in Canvaleon is average for an indie title, with a solid art style, colourful and well-presented graphics, smooth animation, reasonably entertaining and suitable music, and a decent story to keep players invested for its duration. The game will take a good few hours to complete, as it has quite a few levels, each with a range of paths for Canvas to use. It's only through poor conveyance of the core ideas that it ultimately falls short of being a truly fun title. With the endless backtracking to change camo and one-hit deaths with no checkpoints, it really feels like a developer's first game, where the mechanics are gotten down, but not necessarily completely worked out, which is a shame.

Screenshot for Canvaleon on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Honestly, Canvaleon a pretty good game, with some solid presentation and gameplay, but it's slightly let down by a lack of conveyance and a devilish difficulty. The developers obviously put a lot of heart into the game, with good presentation and gameplay that is fairly well thought out. It's also great to see them take the criticisms on board and develop a patch, which will bring a variety of adjustments, including two new difficulty levels - one that makes the game easier, and another that makes it more difficult. If anyone feels this is too easy (which it isn't), the patch is slated for a November release, so, until that time, Canvaleon is really only for the hardcore players. It is worth its price tag, but it's definitely not for everyone.

Developer

OXiAB Game Studio

Publisher

OXiAB Game Studio

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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