; there's a new champ in town.
The cherubic Mr. Chin is on a quest to eat...and eat and eat and eat and eat and eat. In fact, aside from the erratic jumping and what I can only surmise is gas-induced floating, he doesn't do much else.
Yet his quest is oddly compelling.
Mr. Chin is an already rotund Chinese man with an apparently insatiable appetite. As the first stage loads, he leaps to the sky, left arm extended high above his head in a gesture of utter joy over his imminent gluttony - and oh, what tasty tidbits await!
I think they're blowfish with legs. Or maybe sea urchins. Perhaps they're horned toads (do they have horned toads in China?). At any rate, they're round, spiky, and altogether undigestible. Touching them means instant death. So how, you ask, does Mr. Chin dine upon these deterring delectables?
By turning them into bonbons using bombs and lasers.
Thats right. Lasers.
Upon bashing his head into and breaking the bricks which comprise the level surfaces (a la Super Mario Bros.), Mr. Chin finds numerous goodies to aid him on his way. Bread turns him pink and invincible, while what appears to be a ripe berry pie gives him gaseous levitation, and bombs - those beautiful bombs - remove the horned toads' prickly outer layer to reveal the tender, edible flesh beneath. Though they are naked and vulnerable, the bonbons remain mobile and Mr. Chin must either chase them down or allow them to come to him, whereupon he unhinges his jaw in an impressive display of eatsmanship and swallows them whole. If horned toads remain but bricks do not, an intermittent laser ability successfully fries the shells off the suckers, rendering them once again edible.
Sound easy? There's more.
Most stage surfaces include a few interesting "holes" that only the horned toads can cross. If Mr. Chin attempts to walk across these areas he immediately falls through to the level below. This can be useful, since there's typically a "safe" level per stage that the horned toads cannot access without an opening created by Mr. Chin's noggin. A pipeline on the bottom-most level that drops Mr. Chin to the top-most level is also usually included and can likewise be useful, but what works for him can also work against him, so be choosey when destroying level surfaces and using the pipeline.
Finally, with his belly full of bonbons, Mr. Chin advances to the bonus stage where an all-you-can-eat bonanza awaits. Engorge the fat man with as many bonbons as possible within a certain amount of time (the easiest way is to just sit on the top-most level and inhale them as they drop from the sky) and rack up the points, then move on to the next stage.
That's pretty much it. Stage after stage, Mr. Chin eats his way into infamy and my little gamer's heart. As addictive as Tetris, as cute as Pokemon Yellow, and as inane as Urban Yeti, Mr. Chin will add hours of relaxing silliness to a stressful day, or even just serve well as a break from Megaman Zero. Backed by a cheesey, stereotypical kung-fu soundtrack, how can Mr. Chin go wrong?
Though Mr. Chin's Gourmet Paradise is oodles of fun, all the stages start to
look the same after about number seven or so. Don't let that dampen your
curiosity, however; as far as $7.99 games go, I give it a 9.2. Mario, eat
your heart out...and your thigh and your appendix and your right arm (you
have a lot of catching up to do).
When Vera LaPorte's not engorging her feline companion, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.