The most obscure 2D Sonic game is worth the fur.
I don’t feel like there’s any game quite like Knuckles’ Chaotix. It uses the basic platforming elements established in Sonic games prior, then does a copious amount of things different.
The rubber-band buddy system mechanic immediately sticks out in contrast to anybody’s experience with a Sonic platformer. If you can get past that like I did, however, you’ll find the unorthodox level design sticking out further.
Straightforward is something this game isn’t. As you advance right as most of us are inclined to do when playing 2D platformers, you’ll find yourself confused at a dead end before long. You’ll find yourself getting closer to the end vertically rather than horizontally - and it is the means that defines the end. You’ll have to fly, climb walls Knuckles-style, or throw a partner upwards to advance. In short, this is a game designed around all the things Sonic couldn't do.
Enemy encounters are few and far between, making it so that most of the action lies in the player making their way through. There are 5 Zones with 5 acts of levels that give an aesthetically identical impression, differing only by routes and the placement of platforms. Even though it feels strange to call it a platformer, it is perhaps more purely a platformer than the games in the genre we’re so well acquainted with. The gameplay consists mostly of jumping from platform to platform, swinging your partner to the next platform so he can swing you, and running.
This isn't everybody's cup of tea. I found it oddly relaxing, but if you come to it with only the expectations you'd have of a traditional Sonic game, you won't like it. If you come to it with an open mind, time to kill, and a desire to jump in a video game, you may find satisfaction among the "Chaotix". Especially if you can appreciate the ability to play as a crocodile wearing big headphones who dances during his idle animation.