I wonder what Robert E. Howard would say if he saw what his creation Conan: The Barbarian’s been doing lately. His latest adventure, Conan Chop Chop is a cartoonish roguelike adventure not at all unlike the big indie hit Castle Crashers from a few years ago. Before sitting down on a by then (way late in the show day) incredibly comfortable looking puff chair, I asked the devs handling the demo the iconic question: “what is good in life?”. They looked at me like I was insane, so like any person under the suspicious guise of other people but still wanting to look normal, I resignedly sat down to play.
Chop Chop would be the last thing to come to mind when I thought about Conan before E3. What started as an apparent April Fools’ joke by Funcom turned out to be a real thing, and that ended up getting officially announced during the PC Gaming Show, a more easygoing press event that usually takes place before E3 opens. My Funcom appointment turned out to be demos for this and Moons of Madness, which is the farthest thing from the funny antics of Conan Chop Chop that there could ever be.
The whole thing’s about cartoonishly dispatching hordes of monsters, earn a bunch of gold and loot, running back to base and buying stronger gear, all without dying, that is, the whole gist of a roguelike. Up to four stick figure representations of Conan and some random characters can join in the carnage, but my demo was limited to me and another attendee who did much better than me at the not dying part. Progression is fast, so it didn’t take long before we opened huge chunks of the map and got into more trouble than we could handle.
The action felt pretty tight, and the difficult ramped up really quickly, so it didn’t take long before we both started dying left and right. Comically enough, every time one of us bit it, the other was able to revive their partner, so we kept going up to a boss fight we gave all our might into defeating, but no dice.
Still, the limited time I had with the demo gave me a good notion of what to expect from Conan Chop Chop, and to all accounts, it was pretty fun. I can imagine it being way crazier to have four people playing at the same time, and if the co-op session I had was any indication, the game is more than equipped to support it, with loads and loads of zombies and the whatnot waiting to chop us to death.
My inner raging nerd who’s recently been way quieter than years past would be really mad about seeing the Conan property being tied to such a silly game, but thankfully, my fun loving side smacked that fool aside when it saw how enjoyable it turned out to be. There will always be comics and books that feature the more serious take on Howard’s loincloth wearing hero to be read, so why not just take Chop Chop in stride and forget about getting angry at things? After all, there are many other good things in life to enjoy, and party videogames are one of them.
Conan Chop Chop will be out on September 3rd for all consoles and PC, and that’s no April Fools’!