20/05/2022

๐Ÿ”๐ŸดChicken Police- Paint It Red Xbox Series X Review 8/10 “A clucking good noir” ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿด @ChickenPoliceG #IndieGame #GameDev

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I’m sure my reaction to first hearing about Chicken Police mirrored a lot of others, “What the hell is Chicken Police?”. I then looked it up on Google and realised that it’s a noir with anthropomorphic chickens. It’s a very intriguing and almost confusing idea, one which could easily be hit or miss.

Chicken Police is a narrative-driven adventure game set in the city of Clawville. You play as Sonny Featherland, a grizzled cop who is close to retiring, currently suspended and gets dragged into one last case.

He teams up with his estranged partner Marty Macchicken and it’s clear that their relationship has become frosty, and by frosty - I mean the last time they saw each other Marty shot Sonny, so they definitely have some issues to sort out.

Sonny and Marty then go on to investigate a case that explores the dark underbelly of Clawville and takes them to various locations around the city, as they try to solve a dark secret. 

Now, the first thing that struck me when playing the game was the art style. Using anthropomorphic animals is nothing new - both Blacksad and Backbone used them, with both also having noir elements, but one is very cartoony, and the other features pixel art. Chicken Police, however, goes for photo-realistic graphics which are very striking but at times can be slightly off-putting.

The use of animals though does bring in a great comedic element in both the dialogue and visual gags. The dialogue could have gone into the very generic territory but it’s a delight that never takes the easy option. The black and white backgrounds are gorgeous, the city reeks of 1940s America and the use of colour scattered around the game is striking, a neon sign or a character’s eyes, I love it - it’s a visual feast.

The gameplay is very dialogue-heavy, which isn’t a problem as the dialogue is always interesting. Characters and the city are well-formed and so learning about both was always engrossing.

A few puzzles are scattered about for you to solve during your investigations, but you do most of your investigation by questioning suspects. You have a notebook which keeps track of characters, places, and events, and when questioning a suspect, you have a meter telling you how well the investigation is going, ask the ‘right’ questions from the multiple choices available and you’ll get a higher ranking. Then, once the questioning is over you are given details of the suspect, which helps guide what you should be asking. 

Every character is fully voiced, and the voice acting is superb. All are wonderful with plenty of charm and character, Sonny and Marty really hold the game together as their friendship and banter are definite highlights.

The story is strong and takes about 6-9 hours to complete. At no time did I lose interest in the plot, it’s a gripping mystery that keeps you guessing all the way along. In terms of sound, the music in the game is exactly what you would expect given its genre, I will never tire of hearing trumpets wailing while you investigate smoky bars - it sets the mood perfectly.

It’s a very small complaint but I’ve run into it in a few adventure games - halfway through Chicken Police, you get into a car chase, and you have a mini shootout, whereby you have to lean out of the car and shoot, with both cars having only a certain amount of health. It’s probably meant to break up the game and offer some fun by throwing in an arcade sequence, but every mini-game I’ve played in these games has been awkward, handle poorly and offer nothing. I would have preferred to just watch a cutscene and move on.

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