One part action, one part jibba-jabba
Chat Fu by Blot Interactive drives home a point we all learned in grade school: words can hurt. The game plays like an action/fighting title that’s been cross-bred with Charades. Chat Fu for Facebook offers a good time with words and flying fists, even if there are some technical issues that foul up the fight a bit.
In Chat Fu, you are ninja. So is your opponent, although he or she doesn’t realize it. The game runs through Facebook’s chat function. You choose a friend to spar with, and select “Fight.” Then you pick a category: some selections include Pop Culture, Food, TV, and Cartoons. The idea is to get your friend to say a word that’s related to the category, but you can’t use any of the listed “trap words.” If you use a trap word, you lose.
For instance, you might choose “Pop Culture” and be instructed to make your pal type “Facebook”—but you’re forbidden from using words like “Wall” or “Social Media.” You can simply ask your friend, “Say, what platform are we chatting on right now?” If you’re lucky, he or she will type, “Uh, Facebook?” If you’re not lucky, your answer might be, “What are you stupid or something?”
As you and your buddy type, the dudes on-screen will trade blows. Coins spill out when you make successful hits, which you can use to buy more fighters. You can also buy ninja stars that let you disarm trap words, or change out your target word entirely. If things get too hairy for you, you can simply give up (the game’s instructions make it clear that if you take this route, you will feel shame. So it should definitely be a last resort).
It’s easy to appreciate the creative spins that Chat Fu puts on the standard Charades formula. It’s mega-challenging (and maybe a little creepy) to play the game with an opponent who’s not aware that he or she is actually playing a word game with you. It takes skill to carry on a normal conversation with a friend while steering him or her away from, or towards, certain words.
There’s also the ninja element. It’s fun to watch your onscreen guys flail at each other while you carry on a conversation about going out for pizza. It adds a humorous sense of urgency to normal interactions. You can also engage multiple chat partners at once if you’re in the mood to get intense.
However, Chat Fu is in desperate need of a full screen mode. Depending on your screen resolution, you may wind up dealing with three scrollbars at once, which is a huge inconvenience when you’re trying to type and keep stock of your trap words.
Hopefully, Blot intends to iron out Chat Fu‘s wrinkle. It’s an otherwise fun experience that adds a neat twist to mundane, everyday conversations about what you want on your pizza. It’s also a good exercise in being careful about the words you use online—never a bad thing to brush up on.