Like thousands of casual titles before it, Chippy is about doing something you probably wouldn't want to do in real life - serving customers at a busy catering establishment.
And like casual titles since the dawn of the genre, it's a time-management game. What makes Chippy stand out, though, more than any of its other original features, is its cheerful (and very British) sense of personality, characterised by tattoos, tabloids, and of course the setting itself.
On a more practical level, there's also the novel Reputation system, which substitutes money for reputation as the fruit of your labours.
Frying up fish and battering sausages is the order of the day as you toil in a fish and chip shop, dragging various fatty foodstuffs into batter and then oil and watching them turn golden brown, before retrieving and seasoning them for a succession of customers.
Each successful day increases your overall reputation, and success gets more difficult the further you get. You also unlock features as you go, some of which affect the gameplay (salt, vinegar, sausages, longer days) while others are purely aesthetic (bearded and bespectacled customers).Plenty of fish
There are also sets of challenges that net you extra points. Some of these are imaginative, like knocking out a fly by throwing something at it, while some simply involve serving a certain amount of something. It all feeds into the Reputation system.
Another feature that distinguishes Chippy from similar time-management games is its prep process - each morning you have unlimited time to get your ingredients and so on ready. As you begin to learn the quantities needed each day and cut down on waste, you're rewarded with higher scores.
But personality is Chippy's outstanding feature, from the bearded customers to the way your customer's eyes follow what your on-screen, tattooed hand is doing - it just oozes charm. Even the newspapers contribute to the tone, headline puns taken from Twitter fan tweets.Sausagefest
The reputation system itself works fine, but it's difficult to see why it's better than straightforward cash currency, which would allow players to buy in-game items and features at their own discretion. Allowing for a variety of approaches would have improved the game's replayability, and there's no denying the innate thrill of building up a virtual fortune.
There's also a bug in the current version that causes the game to crash around reputation level 18. The crash happens right at the end of the day, too, maximising its irritation potential. Thankfully, a fix is on the way.
As you'd expect from a competent time-management game, Chippy is addictive stuff, and it's easy to play - especially if you do your prep properly. In fact, once you've mastered that side of the game the actual customer service can be a little bit too easy.
Not only that, but thanks to the linear Reputation system there's relatively little reason to replay it once you've hit the top. Even so, it still manages to feel fresh in a genre that hasn't felt fresh for a long time, which is an achievement in itself.