Chicken Wiggle Review
This Duo Has Challenge and Charm
Chicken Wiggle is the latest game from Atooi LLC (Mutant Mudds, Xeodrifter) for Nintendo 3DS. The game starts with the Evil Witch capturing all the chickens in the land. Only one chicken manages to escape and soon finds a lowly worm in one of the nearby apples. The two decide to team up and our heroes' adventure begins.
The intro stage does a great job of introducing the primary gameplay mechanics. Players can whip with Wiggle the Worm and use a peck attack. The whip attack is used for two things. It can stun enemies which makes it easier to defeat them without the risk of being killed. But more importantly is that Wiggle is used as a grappling hook to latch onto platforms and move quickly throughout the levels. This is one of the most important mechanics because the main hero cannot jump very high on his own.
In the main campaign there are eight towers (worlds) and six levels in each tower. The primary goal of each level is to get to the end and rescue the chicken that is locked up in a cage. However, there are two additional side challenges to complete in every stage. One is to collect 100 gems throughout the level; the second is to collect the letters F-U-N. The letters are often found hidden inside secret walls and offer a good challenge figuring out how to reach all of them.
Chicken Wiggle features several abilities for the heroes spread throughout the campaign. These abilities will change how the game plays. With the Hero Mask, the heroes can now fly and traverse through levels, similar to Flappy Bird as there are often spikes above and below the player. Higher platforms prove tricky to reach until you equip the Jet Pack, which allows you to double jump. With the Speed Shoes, Chicken Wiggle will move quickly past hazardous traps. Spikes, often the cause of many deaths, are rendered useless while using the Ghost ability. Finally, the Demo Hat, a personal favorite, as it empowers the hero to peck through any environment. It turns the level into a puzzle as the player must create their own platforms to maneuver through.
The biggest challenge in the game is the fact that the hero dies in one hit. There is no health bar or shield and the player can be killed by enemies or level hazards like spikes. There are more than a handful of different enemies each with different pathing and movements and not all of them can be defeated. Another challenge I found in the game was the fact that I would often accidentally kill myself by using the whip trying to stun an enemy and instead it would hookshot me into spikes or another enemy. Honestly, I died at least once in almost every single level in the campaign. Fortunately, each level contains one or more checkpoints which keeps the overall frustration to a minimum.
There is only one boss in the game appearing in the 48th and final stage. This almost feels like a missed opportunity. It would have been cool to see boss fights in the sixth stage of every tower or even three or four throughout the game. With that being said, the story doesn't really expand for multiple bosses. But it could be something to consider if the game gets a sequel.
Chicken Wiggle is enjoyable throughout, but there are a few areas that could have been better. One thing I noticed immediately was that the in-game text was incredibly small. While I could still read it, I felt the text was much smaller than it needed to be and some people might have a hard time reading it.
Another thing that stood out to me that could have been better was the primary antagonist. With the game featuring an animal duo, it immediately reminded me of Banjo Kazooie. For those that have played Banjo, they know the main antagonist of that game is the evil witch Gruntilda. In Chicken Wiggle, the main boss is also an Evil Witch. While the story is not a key part of this game, I feel like the boss could have been something a little more unique (a troll, giant slime monster, etc.).
Lastly, one thing that wasn't apparent was if there was a way to view your level progress after completing the stage. My goal while playing through this game was to get 100% on every level if I could. While playing in the level the UI will track how many gems you've collected, and if you collected all three letters to spell "FUN". However, once you beat a stage there doesn't seem to be a way to verify this. Because of this, I didn't go back and replay any of the levels since I didn't know which ones I had 100% completed or not.
The art in this game is inspired by classic games of the 2D Sprite 16-bit era. Atooi's motto is "Retro Roots. Modern Mojo" and it clearly shows in the art style of the game. The game's background art and enemies stand out. Slumber Tower's pastel theme was by far my favorite.
The music and sound effects are charming and work well. My favorite track was ironically the music that plays after dying. A song that I heard very frequently throughout the game.
The campaign, which took me 7 hours to beat is really only half of the game though. A huge selling point to Chicken Wiggle is the fact that the game comes packaged with a full-fledged level editor. The game's motto is "Play, Create, Share!". The player can create up to 60 different levels with around 100 assets and can upload them to share with others online. The Level Editor uses the 3DS Stylus to select items and objects and place them all over the map. Anyone familiar with Super Mario Maker should be pretty comfortable using Chicken Wiggle's level editor.
Another really nice feature of the Level Editor is that it gives you a few different gameplay rules when creating different levels. Unlike the main campaign that only has the one type of level where the player must progress through to free the chicken locked in the cage, the level editor offers six different ways to complete levels. They are: Rescue Friend, Grab the Loot, Remove Meanies, Lock & Key, Take Me Home, and Destroy Blocks.
All the online features and extra stages are free and can be downloaded and saved for later or played immediately. Similar to Mario Maker, all the custom levels will really add a tremendous amount of depth and replayability to the game.
Who Should Play This Game?
People that enjoy challenging platformers or have a creative side and enjoy games like Mario Maker.
What Makes the Game Worth Buying?
It has very unique game mechanics with fun and challenging levels. The main campaign is worth the price alone, but with the Level Editor built into the game, it adds to the replayability exponentially. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Chicken Wiggle and it's worth breaking out the 3DS to give this game a whirl.
- Gameplay that is unique, fun and challenging
- New abilities throughout campaign keep levels fresh
- Level Editor is great for young developers and expanding the game
- Text was really small in most areas
- End boss too similar to Banjo Kazooie's Gruntilda
- No apparent way to verify if you collected everything after beating a stage.