Conan Chop Chop is a co-op roguelite beat-em-up by Mighty Kingdom in which you hit things with swords and bows.
Your goal is to fight your way through four regions and defeat their bosses in order to open a door and fight another boss. The reason for this isn’t important or well told. The cutscenes are silly on purpose, but not funny and immediately overstay their welcome. Thankfully, the cutscenes are short and few in number.
The art, music, and sound effects evoke the aesthetic of a late 2000s Flash game, and while it didn’t personally charm me, it’s perfectly functional and the animation is mostly smooth.
Your toolkit is about what you’d expect from a top-down beat-em-up: You aim your close-up and ranged attacks with the right stick, and you have a dodge, a parry, a block, and a super move usable once you fill your rage. There are four different characters with slightly differing dodges, super moves, and upgrade trees, and you pick up a variety of items along your journey that will further augment your character.
Despite some hitboxes not matching the visuals, all of this feels responsive, and it’s just crunchy enough to not feel like button mashing.
There are a few categories of items you’ll pick up during a run, most of which simply increase stats and scale upwards as the run continues. If you stick with one weapon for too long, it will stop dealing any damage, so it’s better to switch it up whenever you can. None of the weapons feel radically different, mostly being a little slower or faster, but it’s adequate.
The main differences come with the charms, which allow changes like applying poison to your sword swings or dropping a bomb when you dodge. These buffs are more restrained than I would have liked, with many of them being irrelevant to most playstyles or affecting the game in subtle ways rather than the bold, fun ones that make the game’s best charms.
Unfortunately, you have to pick up Steelfire from fallen enemies to spend it on unlocking new items. This means you start your first run with very few items unlocked and run into the same stuff repeatedly. Also, since you can only carry four charms and the other items only differ in small ways, you’re often unlocking things that aren’t all that useful.
The roguelite elements of Conan Chop Chop aren’t brilliant, but they’re good enough, and the combat is fun, but not mind-blowing. However, when you’re playing it with friends, the added chaos and co-operation add enough excitement to elevate the game to a competent co-op roguelite.
Unfortunately, when you’re playing alone, the pace of the game is quite slow, with a somewhat methodical feel to dispatching each group of enemies. It’s still not ridiculously difficult, but it does expose how random it is to get the good drops, because without good luck, you’re going to struggle with the bosses.
The boss designs aren’t exciting, and some of them have moves that’ll one-hit KO you or are extreme damage sponges if you’re playing solo. The final boss is particularly egregious, making you fight all the other bosses again and having multiple stages that aren’t exciting and don’t work with the camera system. I sleepwalked through the first two areas over and over on my way to the final boss, and the lack of item variety in early runs didn’t help.
If you don’t have friends to play with, there are better-balanced roguelites with more exciting power-ups out there. But if you’ve tried all the classics and are looking for an easy-to-learn co-op roguelite, Conan Chop Chop contains a solid amount of fun.
Conan Chop Chop releases on March 1 for $14.99 on PC (where it is currently 10% off) and $19.99 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.