Review

Published on April 22nd, 2017 | by Graham

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Chicken Invaders 4 Review

Chicken Invaders 4 Review Graham

Summary: A highly addictive, somewhat short, but pleasantly lighthearted shoot-em-up

5


The Chicken Invaders games take themselves refreshingly unseriously.

The clucky hero of this, the fourth installment, at the start of the game is heading towards his beloved local Space Burger for a well-earned refreshment.  His order of a double chicken burger, wings on the side, with a chicken salad (“hold the mayo – and the salad”) is interrupted by the arrival of a suspiciously familiar looking spaceship piloted by a Hen Solo.  Following Solo through a portal he comes across a giant starship with an uncanny resemblance to the Death Star from Star Wars – which is promptly shot by a giant egg fired from a cannon.

This is a silly, silly game.  But it’s not as KERRAZY as it may sound: there’s genuine wit to Chicken Invaders 4, and a lighthearted plot that makes it a breezy pleasure to play through.

Let’s backtrack a little.  Chicken Invaders is a series of shoot-em-ups, similar to classic arcade titles like Raiden.  Your ship is free to move around the screen, blasting waves of space-faring chickens and other perils.  You can pick up around half a dozen different weapons, and upgrade their firepower too – though you only have one gun active at a time, and picking up a new one loses your current one.

That’s essentially it, but while these games can get pretty samey, Chicken Invaders does a smashing job of keeping things fresh throughout.  Different enemy types and patterns ensure that each wave feels quite distinct from the one before, though you’ll spot some repetitions towards the end.  At the end of each of the ten waves making up a stage there’s a huge screen-filling boss enemy to take down.

Brilliantly, one stage is a set of loving homages to classic arcade games

I’ve only two real complaints against the game.  One is its length: it’s only going to take you a couple of hours to complete.  But you’re free to try it again at a higher difficulty level and beat your previous score, and anyway, shoot-em-ups tend to be on the short side.

Second is the difficulty, which can be all over the shop.  You can upgrade your weapon an unlimited number of times (I think – I didn’t manage to get it above level 20 before dying).  Dying drops it down a few levels.

At higher powers, your firepower cuts through the chicken hordes like, well, a sharp knife through a chicken.  I breezed through around four full worlds (out of a total of twelve), not losing a single life, simply because my gun was so powerful that any enemy was mincemeat the second it was on screen.  Even bosses would wilt after just a few seconds.

Then I died a few times in a row on a tough section, and found myself back down at the starting level cannon.  Now, the game does throw more weapon upgrades at you at this point, to compensate – but man, does the game become tough.  I died a whole bunch before finally making it out of world nine.  And now I’m levelled up again, and finding the game almost a cakewalk once more.

So the difficulty is hard to judge.  The flip side is that, once you do acquire a really powerful weapon level, it really raises the stakes on not dying – making the game a tenser affair.

Presentation wise there’s a nice cartoon style, a clean presentation that mostly doesn’t get too messy, and a score that feels genuinely heroic at times.  There are times when bonuses (in the form of chicken burgers and wings) are bouncing all over the shop and it’s a bit hard to see what’s going on.  And your limited missiles let off a huge explosion that kills most enemies, but not all, and also completely masks the screen for a couple of seconds, which can lead to an unfair death or two.  But generally, it’s easy enough to see what’s going on, and deaths tend to be your own fault.

I really enjoyed Chicken Invaders 4.  It’s a highly addictive, if rather short, shoot-em-up with a genuinely funny side, and you’ll have a eggstremely fun time hahahaha oh God I’m sorry.  No more egg puns, I promise.

I played this using gamehouse.com, who have generously provided me with a free access to their service. At $10 per month for unlimited access to all their games, it's genuinely a great deal. Plus you get a one hour demo of all of their games for free.

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