Chicken Wiggle Review – A Whole Lot of Platforming Goodness
Chicken Wiggle, a downloadable indie game on the 3DS, is Atooi’s most recent project that knows precisely what it wants to be: a fun platformer and an intuitive level creation kit. In Chicken Wiggle, you control a chicken and worm duo who must save their friends from the clutches of an evil witch. This odd couple must traverse eight towers in order to save all of their feathery pals. The chicken can do basic jumps and peck at enemies, while the worm is used as a grappling line to stick to the surfaces of walls and ceilings. Although I find the designs of these two characters to be bland, I love how the developers pay a little homage to Banjo-Kazooie with the blue backpack that the chicken keeps his worm buddy in. Chicken Wiggle succeeds in representing the spirit of classic 8-bit/16-bit platformers. Additionally, the game offers an in depth level builder that gives Super Mario Maker a run for its money.
The game’s graphics are nothing unique. There have been tons of indie games in the past that utilize the 8-bit aesthetic like Shovel Knight and Watsham’s previous game, Mutant Mudds. On top of the main characters’ looks being boring, I also found the enemies to be drab as well. Throughout the game you encounter generic bats, ghosts, and floating eyeballs, all leave absolutely no impression. Perhaps the real saving grace of Chicken Wiggle‘s visuals is its level design. I was thoroughly impressed at how each level looked and played differently. Sure, enemies and obstacles are reused, but they are recycled in creative ways to work with the dynamics of a level.
Chicken Wiggle doesn’t need to have elaborate graphics or a deep plot because it delivers on wholesome gameplay. Be warned though, the game doesn’t mess around and has plenty of challenging levels to push through. If you take a single hit you die and must restart the level from the very beginning unless you reach a checkpoint (they can be deactivated to make the game even harder). Gameplay never stagnates either, there is always something new being thrown your way to keep you on your toes. For example, some stages require you to use a hot air balloon to get around; others grant you access to special power-ups needed to get past obstacles and enemies.
Level building is the flagship of Chicken Wiggle‘s fleet and adds lots of replay value. Creating a level is a breeze and plays out similarly to the level building in Super Mario Maker. You start by selecting a desired level theme and gameplay rules. Then you use the stylus like a brush on a canvas to trace out the placement of platforms, enemies, and hazards. The options available to you in the level builder are nearly limitless as you have free reign to use all of the game’s assets. Once you are done making a level you can share it online or you can download other people’s levels to play through yourself. I guarantee that you will spend hours in Chicken Wiggle‘s level builder, experimenting with all kinds of insane level designs.
An issue I have with Chicken Wiggle are its collectibles. Their are two types of collectibles seen in the game: coins and letters that spell out “FUN”. Collecting them yields nothing aside from getting 100% level completion, rendering them totally pointless. Furthermore, the game would have greatly benefited from some kind of multiplayer mode to keep it engaging. Chicken Wiggle is no magnum opus, but it offers hardcore platforming gameplay that any gamer can appreciate. Mix that up with a compelling level creator and you got yourself a real gem here. Not bad for an indie game developed by less than ten people.