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chick chick BOOM - WiiWare Review

Game Info
chick chick BOOM

WiiWare | tons of bits | 1 Player / 2-4 Players (local multiplayer/co-operative play) | Out Now | 800 Nintendo Points
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote (pointer)
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5th March 2011; By KnucklesSonic8

It seems like games with hatchlings have a way of winning me over. Case in point: Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, Toki Tori and DodoGo! have all become personal favourites of mine, not for featuring chickens, but for the memorable experiences and the warm and fuzzy feelings they provide. Now I'm thrilled to add chick chick BOOM to that list! This game definitely deserves to rank up there with games like Driift Mania for being so very entertaining and well-presented in its execution.

    Dispensing with any sort of story to introduce the game, chick chick BOOM wastes little time in getting you geared up for the fray. After assigning data to one of three save slots, players will make their way to the Tutorial area to learn how to play the game. Players are walked through the basics rather easily with a total of four lessons that last roughly 10 minutes to complete. Once you've cleared this portion of the game, you'll be advised to check out the Chicken Coop area to obtain more information on some of the features of the game, including unlockable teams. After having done that, it'll be time to try your hand at the three main modes available for play. 

    In the standard Duel Mode, players will continue playing rounds until one team's health depletes completely. In Time Mode, you gun for the most points by the time the match is over. And finally, Pro Mode will serve as a test to see how long you can survive against a team with an endless line of chicks. In all cases, you can set the computer to any difficulty setting you like. However, if you're playing on your own and are in the mood for less-relaxed gameplay, setting them on Hard should serve you well (even if an Expert setting would have been welcome). In the way of multiplayer capabilities, you can either choose to go against one another in a one-on-one match, work together as a team and face off against either the CPU or two other friends. Tasks will be shared one person while playing co-operatively where one player will focus on attacks while the other works on defense.

chick chick BOOM combines real-time strategy and action elements with a comical approach that's sure to win your approval. Players take on the role of a team consisting of small chickens and a larger leader. There's some nice personality attached to each of these teams that players can become slightly attached to. You have the adventure-seeking Pirates, turban-wearing Orients and, my personal favourite, a team of Snobs where all members wear stylish purple hats. Your main objective is to use a variety of tactics to eliminate the opposing team or, in the case of Pro Mode, stay alive for as long as possible. Both teams are situated in a fenced-in area where carefree chicks will aimlessly bounce around, completely unabated by the danger they're in. The system will bounce back and forth between the two teams, allowing both a considerable amount of time to plan their action plan against the opposition.

    Your main arsenal of attacks are represented by icons directly underneath the playing field in the center of the screen. Your three main attacks take the form of time bombs, large weights and dangerous plants. In addition, events in the background will take place from to time that will trigger time-sensitive special attacks. For example, storm clouds will appear overhead to indicate that the Thunder ability is now open for a short time. This is something that both teams will gain access to simultaneously, regardless of whose turn it is at the time. When you're already in the middle of defending or preparing your next attack, this disrupts your train of thought for a second and forces you to act very quickly. Even just this aspect of the game is a lot of fun as you race against someone who is evenly-matched with your skill level -- at least in the most ideal circumstances.

Whichever attack you end up using, you'll find yourself going through a similar routine each time. In a clever move, players are asked to connect a series of blinking dots that, when stitched together, will create the outline of the item you which to use. If you go through this process with speed, you may be eligible for an attack upgrade. What determines whether or not the upgrade will go through is a target that orbits around the item continuously until you aim and fire at it with the B Button. The kind of target you get depends on the score you obtained for speeding through the dots. Scores around the 80 mark will only give you the chance to go one level higher with a large green area and a white outer ring, while scores of 90 to 99 will give you a full target with red, green and white areas. Even if you don't get the upgrade, you can still deal more than the usual damage with a score of 100.

    For the first few times, it's fun to see how these upgrades make a difference against a formidable foe. In the case of weights for example, the green upgrade will cause glue to drop before it lands while the red one, the Sumo Chick, will bounce once after it lands. What's fun about the upgrades later on is the way you can catch your rival at a bad time (i.e., when a special attack is in play) where they have little choice but to take the loss. And even if you don't get the upgrade, you can still deal more than the usual damage if you manage to speed through the dots with a score of 100, the damage dealt will be larger than normal. 

So what happens when you're on the other end of those attacks? You'll be drawing lines to protect your chicks from incoming threats. Simply aim at the screen to bring up a set of crosshairs, then hold the A Button and drag to form a line out of ink. If you look closely, your ink levels are actually indicated on the actual cursor. Ink replenishes at a fairly steady rate, but not enough that you can create a box to seal in a bomb explosion. Seeing a falling piano countered by a measly line does seem like something out of a Looney Tunes short. But that comical humor and lack of seriousness is what makes the game all the more endearing. As if you didn't have enough to worry about with all those vulnerable chicks hopping around, your opponent also has the ability to create lines in your own play area with the goal of sabotage. But having a series of attention-grabbing predicaments happening one after the other is what makes the game so surprisingly addicting. 

    Gameplay also features two randomly-occurring bonuses that work just as well as the surprise events in being purposeful and engaging. The first is a rainbow-coloured fun-loving Piñata near the top of the HUD. As health is lost on either side, it becomes more likely that the Piñata will drop. Once it's been rattled enough, a cute voice will yell "Piñata!" as it falls and literally sits on the fence between the two play areas. You can then use your cursor to aim and shoot at it to try to send it to your side of the field. Upon landing, one of many bonus effects will be released like having one of your chicks turned into a healing nurse, or messing with your rival's dot patterns. There's quite a few that you'll come across which is great, but instead of having all the effects take place instantly, I think I would've liked to see some more offensive bonuses that you could activate on demand. Just like with the special attacks, both teams have an equal chance to receive the bonus. Watching it bounce back and forth is almost like a mini-volleyball match, offering brief amusement so long as both players can keep it aloft. Again, while this is happening, attacks are still going on so sometimes you need to make the call of letting the Piñata fall to the other side or taking on damage. 

The second bonus character that appears from time to time goes by the name of Corncobman. He randomly shoots up directly behind the enclosed arena with golden bits of healing goodness to share with the teams. Once again, his arrival is announced by a cute childish voice that yells out his name as he makes his appearance. You'll repeatedly shoot at the poor guy with the B Button and watch as tiny bits of corn work their magic by slightly refilling your health meter. Both the Piñata and the Corncobman might seem like just little additions to the core gameplay, but they do serve their own purpose in the grand scheme of things, adding good fun to the mix.

    As you play more and more, you'll experience a small yet noticeable sense of progression that will be mostly exhibited by the strategies you implement. A large part about being successful in this game is having good reflexes and being quick to react to different situations that come up. So that's something that improves with time. But in a less obvious sense (and this will probably be a case-by-case deal), you may become more adept and creative at the way you use lines. For instance, instead of just covering a bomb with a curved line, you may use lines to direct chicks off to the opposite end of the arena. Or, even before the bomb lands, you can create a curved ramp to send it to a less hazardous spot on the field. Those are just a few examples. In doing so, you actually become less predictable in your moves and respond instinctively instead of out of habit, which of course makes you a bit harder to read from your rival's perspective.

    In particular, t
here are two strong aspects of the game that I wanted to draw attention to. The first is the uniqueness found in the battle arenas. chick chick BOOM features three in total, namely City, Ship, and Haunted Wood. What I loved about them was that they each had their own unique special attacks. So in the City, you'd get to call on a UFO to abduct one of your rival's chicks using a tractor beam. In the Ship level, Octopus would stick around your opponent's zone for a while, attacking them semi-regularly and really serving as a source of distraction. Haunted Wood was also quite interesting in that there were menacing ghosts who would try to turn your chicks invisible or eat up lines you drew in so you couldn't protect them. Each of these arenas were not only fun to play on, but they did much to instill a sense of variety within the standard formula. One other highlight to the game is the fact that players are almost always involved. Even when players are not attacking, Piñatas are bouncing about in the air, rivals are trying to sabotage your defensive maneuvers, special events are triggered, and more. And I think that's a noteworthy accomplishment in itself for a game that uses an alternating system of play.

    The presentation values in this game do much to solidify initial feelings of contentment and delight. It's all well-presented in the way it's laid out -- white space is used effectively to ease the eye, the layout isn't cluttered or hard to follow, and although special effects are used quite nicely, they don't run the show. The visuals certainly lend themselves to the smile-inducing action presented on-screen. Along with that comes all the quaint little touches the developers added, like seeing your team member's hat levitate as a tractor beam carries them upwards. The music is also very quirky and totally appropriate for all that takes place in the game. 

In terms of content, most will feel pretty satisfied with what's on offer here. Three modes, three arenas, a good number of unlockable teams, and the ability to play co-operatively as a team. Some may feel justified in complaining about the lack of varied gameplay, but I didn't see a big reason to remain unduly concerned about this. This game doesn't get old fast, nor does it ever feel boring and I think that's a testament to how charming the game is. Having said all that, I think I would have liked to see maybe one or two more attacks and perhaps a light-hearted skirmish-like Story Mode to tie the different teams together. That certainly would have been a lot of fun. Online play would have also made this title that much more stronger but I grew to live without it. 

    As has been well emphasized already, chick chick BOOM is definitely a great buy for multiplayer sessions. But now, what about the single-player component? Is the game still fun to play on your own? Well I might be in the minority on this, but I thoroughly enjoyed playing by myself. The computers were truly fun to face since they actually put up a good fight. And as I mentioned before, because you're always attentive to all that's going on at a given time, the game never becomes dull. The ability to set new records in Pro Mode and improve your overall stats were both motivating goals to strive for. Furthermore, any game that manages to put me in a sincerely good mood after a rough day most certainly earns my respect and appreciation.

    Keeping your focus on the fun and very engaging gameplay will only result in you having a great time. chick chick BOOM may not have a lot of gameplay variation, but it is still very good at what it does offer. Even when playing on your own, there's still some good fun to be had. Really, I have no reserves about recommending this title for your next multiplayer-focused evening with friends. You're bound to have a memorable time!

27/30 - Excellent

Gameplay 9/10 - Great mix of action & strategy, accessible controls, upgradeable attacks, engaging offense & defense phases, special attacks, fun NPC's 
Presentation 9/10 - Both the visuals and the music are delightful, contains lots of little touches that go a long way, nicely laid out and easy to follow
Enjoyment 5/5 - Uplifting comical humor, quirky enough to put a smile on your face, still fun to play on your own, personal progression to be experienced
Extra Content 4/5 - Co-op multiplayer, unlockable teams, three different modes and arenas, motivating to set records and improve stats, no online play 

Equivalent to a score of 90% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Review by KnucklesSonic8
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