Every so often, you come across a game which sounds so ridiculous that it couldn’t possibly work. When I saw a game called Nonstop Chuck Norris in the app store, I laughed. But after downloading it and spending a couple of hours playing it, I think it is one of the better mobile games to grace the app store, offering easy gameplay and a large amount of replayability that suits mobile gaming really well.
Game: Nonstop Chuck Norris
Platforms: iOS, Android
Price: Free-to-Play (in-app purchases for consumables)
Release Date: Worldwide: April 20, 2017
To start, let’s discuss the basic premise. There’s a story to the game, but understandably its rather nonsensical. An evil, robotic cat is attempting to destroy everything and it’s your job as Chuck Norris to stop it.
It should be noted that Norris is fully aware of its meme potential, and uses and abuses this potential to its full extreme. Chuck Norris has been embedded in meme culture and this game uses memes and general joking. It is completely self-aware, and it makes the game so much more enjoyable.
You see, you begin with a baseball bat, running around and attacking enemies. Chuck automatically runs to enemies, but by tapping icons at the bottom of the screen you can perform super moves that deal more damage. Defeating enemies earns XP, which can level Chuck up, and allows more moves to be learned. After defeating enough enemies in the level, the player usually wins a prize of some sort, which are completely ridiculous. Clothing items I encountered were horse heads for armoured protection, and weapons range from rifles being used as melee weapons to gardening rakes. The prizes generally have a theme of some sort as well, like cowboy or samurai.
After winning the prize, Chuck punches his way to a the next floor, and the cycle repeats. There’s a boss every couple of floors, which keeps the game interesting, and requires the levelling up of Chuck’s items. Coins are earned from defeating enemies, and upgrading weapons and armour merely costs a sum of coins. The game will tell you when it thinks you’re ready to handle the boss as well, which is nice. If you haven’t got enough coins to upgrade, you can keep defeating enemies to earn coins until you do.
And this leads me to the really fantastic game design in this game: if you leave the app, Chuck keeps fighting for you. If you leave at a boss level, Chuck will continue fighting enemies and earning coins for you while you are gone – so if you don’t have enough coins, you can leave for a couple of hours, come back, and be ready to go again. I really like how I wasn’t forced into the microtransaction market with this game.
Another interesting feature of Nonstop is its replayability. Once you reach floor 20, you’re encouraged to “open a rift”, which causes you to lose all your items and coins, but you can also use tokens you earn in boss fights to upgrade Chuck’s permanent abilities (like +100% coin gain), as well as earn one of microtransaction consumable items, an energy drink which causes Chuck to go berserk and absolutely fly through floors. While the game gives you one of these for free at the beginning, I never used it again, even though it did look really cool. Again, the game doesn’t force you into microtransactions, which really makes it easy to recommend on an app store flooded with subpar games.
Other features include doing daily missions to unlock items that can lead to pets (I earned a doge pet pretty early on, which is silly and awesome at the same time) as well as leaderboard integration, if you’re into that sort of thing. I should briefly mention the art style as well, which is a colourful cartoon style that definitely suits this game.
My one major gripe with this game is that although replayability exists in levelling up Chuck and attempting to go further each time, there’s no collectible system of any sort, which means it feels like you’re not achieving much. I just wish that I could collect some of the wacky items I come across, but I can see the difficulty in implementing such a system in a game like this. I do feel like some sort of cosmetic collectables would have strengthened this game.
A minor problem I have with this game is just that some of the special attacks don’t feel like much happens – it would have been nice to have a bit more of a screen-shake when Chuck slams the ground causing an earthquake, because at the moment the special attacks just feel a little unsatisfying to use. This is a very minor problem though.
Above all, I think I can summarise this game with an example of one time I was playing: my Chuck Norris was slamming enemies with his garden rake along with his shadows, and his pet doge was attacking goons off-screen. Nonstop Chuck Norris does so much right, on a platform where games get so much frequently wrong. It’s a fun, easy-to-play game, and it doesn’t force you to use microtransactions. What more can you ask for? I give it a 4.5/5 objectively and a 4/5 subjectively.
– Great gameplay
– Good replayability
– Hilariously self-aware
– Great game design
– Lack of cosmetic collectables weakens replayability
– Special moves sometime lack “oomph”.