There are many games Sonic fans want to see from Sega, such as the obvious Sonic Adventure 3, Sonic Heroes 2, Sonic Rush 3, a third storybook game (if you existed back in 2010). But a small area of Sonic that seems to have been forgotten despite it’s love from fans is the Chao Garden. The Chao Garden was an extra part of both Adventure games, which allowed the player to raise a virtual pet called a Chao. It was a fun, addictive feature that many have requested to return, or even have it’s own game…
Introducing Chao Resort Island – A game entirely based on the Chao Garden! Created by a guy called Nekko, known throughout the internet as Nefault1st, the game still uses the same structure as the Chao Garden, with three new gardens or ‘resorts’, as well as new minigames, a time and season cycle, new toys, and even gamepad support. Fans may notice a striking change from 3D to 2D as seen in some of the screens provided, but rest assure the Advanced-style sprite work is fantastic, and is well complemented by a Animal Crossing style cylinder technique which creates a lot of depth the game’s areas.
There’s very little to take issue with here. Chao Resort Island is well polished, looks fantastic, and plays how you remember. Sure, there’s less characters but it still covers general fan-favourites: Sonic, Knuckles, and Shadow, which represent hero, neutral, and dark respectively. The game is presented nicely and the small soundtrack is composed of ‘easy on the ears’ remixes, including that iconic Chao Garden theme from Sonic Adventure 2 in a tropical style.
On the whole, the game makes for a relaxing and rewarding experience which is just as satisfying as the original feature. That said it does raise the question: Can the the Chao Garden stand up as it’s own standalone game? In this case it works, but I do admittedly find myself playing frequently but for very short amounts of time. If Sega were to release a full Chao Garden game on it’s own in the future I feel it would either need to be made for a portable device (mobile or Switch?), or expanded a fair bit with additional content that maintains the satisfactory feeling that the Chao Garden presents.
But enough of my babbling. If you couldn’t tell, I strongly recommend you give Chao Resort Island a shot! It can be found in the link here for both PC and Mac (at the time of writing, version 1.1). Make sure you let us know your thoughts on the game and the Chao Garden as a whole, in the comments below. It may also be worth noting that I found the game through a Sonic fan event called the SAGE Expo. It gathers multiple Sonic fan games, and is definitely worth checking out.
Some guy from the UK with a big interest in video games, mostly Japanese ones. Just starting up as a writer so go easy on me, it might be terrible.