Review: Chicken Wiggle (3DS eShop)

Is Atooi’s first game a rotten egg or an omelette of delight?

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 09/28/2017 19:15 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
The characters are cute; excellent mechanics to enjoy; level creator; delightful graphics and sound
Poison Mushroom for...
The level creator can confuse; Atooi needs to move beyond the Mutant Mudds engine for graphics

It’s been a stretch since the last time Jools Watsham has unleashed one of his excellent 2D platformers on fans. Part of the reason is the fact that his former company, Renegade Kid, was split in two, with Watsham taking its 2D catalogue of games and using it as the foundation of his new endeavor, Atooi. Fans of Renegade Kid likely know the developer for games like Mutant Mudds and Xeodrifter and, if you’re anything like me, you were excited about the release of Chicken Wiggle on the 3DS eShop.

Watsham and his team excel at creating retro-flavored platformers that take the best of the 8- and 16-bit eras and mesh them with modern mechanical twists and/or features. Chicken Wiggle is no exception. The game pairs the nominal chicken (is it really nominal, though, considering “chicken” isn’t much of a name for a chicken?) and his worm companion on an adventure to free his captured friends. There are eight worlds to explore, with plenty to do in each.

Immediately, I noticed that Chicken Wiggle is rocking the same basic graphical style of both Mutant Mudds and Xeodrifter. I love the aesthetics of both those games, and though it was clear each was running on the same game engine, they managed to differentiate themselves enough that it wasn’t a nuisance. Chicken Wiggle is less successful in taking the engine and carving out its own identity, however. Don’t take that as meaning the game doesn’t look good, because it does. It’s colorful and cheery without being nauseating. I just would like to see Atooi move beyond the Mudds engine in future releases.

The soundtrack is a different story. It seems to pull more from old SNES games, especially the fanfare that plays at the end of a stage (it has some serious Super Mario World sound to it). I honestly couldn’t get enough of it! The rest of the music is fun and plucky, perfectly complimenting the bird/worm duo’s on-screen hijinks. There’s also some solid sound direction on display. I enjoyed the satisfying noise of locks being broken, for instance. Atooi nailed the audio for Chicken Wiggle.

Gameplay-wise, Chicken Wiggle has plenty to offer. There’s grappling, jumping, pecking, and power-ups to utilize, as well. I was really taken by the straightforward, fast action of this game. It’s unabashedly tough at times, too, throwing some crazy challenges my way that got me killed more than once. I’d say that the Mutant Mudds games are a notch above the challenge level of Chicken Wiggle, but even a seasoned player should have some difficulty getting through the stages unscathed while recovering all three hidden “FUN” letters.

It’s when I got to the level creator that my patience started to wear thin, however. I’m going to be completely honest here and assume that maybe it’s just me that had a problem. I got confused. I looked at the various tools and figured out how to place items and so on. Yet, I spent so much time trying to learn the basics of this mode to the point that I was way too stressed out. I eventually got it, but I’d have killed for a tutorial of some sort. Again, I have a lot of faith in Watsham and his colleagues’ abilities to design a game, so I’m willing to concede that perhaps the fault was with me and not a lack of context or direction.

At the very least it’s very easy to share a level, and being able to do so extends the replay value of the game by quite a bit. It’s possible to go on and snag new creations from fellow fans as well as Atooi itself. That’s a great bonus, especially for someone like me who’s much more prone to play a game than make one. Overall Chicken Wiggle is a wonderful inaugural release for the folks at Atooi. Sales have been low on this one, but with millions of 3DS and 2DS handhelds on the market there’s no excuse for that; go support the game and give it a download!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Log In 0 points Log in or register to grow your Ninja Score while interacting with our site.
Nintendojo's RSS Feeds

All Updates Podcast
News Comments
Like and follow usFacebookTwitter Friend Code Exchange + Game with Us Join the Team!