The development team over at Atooi is maybe best known recently for their hard as nails platformer Mutant Mudds and it’s sequel Mutant Mudds: I’m Going To Kill You In Every Way Imaginable, aka Mutant Mudds Super Challenge. It’s given rise to the term that I use to compare games to, Mutant Mudds hard. If a game is that hard you know it’s going to take a long time to beat. Let me ease your mind some now and say that the company’s most recent platformer Chicken Wiggle is nowhere near Mutant Mudds hard. It is challenging at times, but not pull your hair out and scream at the screen hard.
Chicken Wiggle stars two unlikely friends, a chicken and a worm named Wiggle. The two jump, flap and whip across 50 levels set in eight different themed worlds. As you go along new enemies and mechanics are introduced to up the challenge in a nicely graded slope that never has crazy difficulty spikes. From beginning to end you feel the challenge ramp up nicely, with what I think were actually a few lulls in difficulty along the way rather than the previously mentioned spikes. It’s good. It’s really fun, and it’s adorably cute.
The platforming itself is really solid. Atooi is known for rock solid, precision platforming and Chicken Wiggle is no exception. I see hints of Mega Man with disappearing blocks. I see hints of Mighty Switch Force and Mario with blocks that change when you jump. You have the ability to use Wiggle as a whip. He allows you to grab on to ceilings and hang there plotting your next move. If you sling him at an enemy they will be stunned. Chicken isn’t defenseless either. He has a peck attack that he can use to take out anyone that’s been stunned by Wiggle. You have to be right up next to them, but one hit and they’re gone, unless they’re wearing some protection like a football helmet.
The simple jump mechanic of only being able to jump up one square and out a couple means the levels are tightly made. Corridors become places where treasure can be easily collected and enemies can be taken out with ease. Of course it wouldn’t be a platformer without cleverly hidden secrets to find. While I couldn’t see any in game reason to collect them all I had a lot of fun trying to find just where they were all hidden. It also helps that these hidden items spell out the word fun when you find them. The one drawback to the game is that it may land a little on the easy side. There are no real bosses to fight, except one at the very end of the game that is a clever fight, but almost feels out of place as there are no other big baddies to fight along the way. The main game is also fairly short. I was able to complete all 50 levels in about three hours. However, with the next item I’m going to talk about the amount of time you could get from the game could last much longer.
Let’s talk about where Chicken Wiggle really shines and that’s in the included level creator. With the release of Super Mario Maker there has been a seeming resurgence in interest for user created content that’s easy to create and just as easy to share. Chicken Wiggle ticks off all the boxes in this department you could think of. Much like Nintendo’s offering you use the 3DS touch screen to place elements into a gridded environment. There are different categories to choose objects from and their grouped in ways that seem incredibly intuitive. There are environmental objects, enemies, ghostly enemies, terrain traps and more. Simply select the category you want, pick the item you want to add to the environment and place it where it needs to go. It’s simple to use and simple to understand. There is a neat feature where you can use a fill tool, similar to in photo editors to fill an entire section of a map with objects at once. Simply border the area you want to fill in choose the item you want to fill it with and use the tool to add them all at once.
Sharing levels is easy as well. Once you’ve completed a level and can actually finish it yourself you’re allowed to share it with the world. You can give a level four different key words to help people search by. You give it a name. You attach your name to it. It gets uploaded to their servers and is available for everyone. Searching for levels is probably easier than doing a Google search. If you know keywords you can use those. If you want to search for a particular level creator you can do that. Atooi will periodically upload levels that they want to highlight into a specially curated section. You can see all the newest levels created, the most well rated and more. There are so many different search functions to allow you to find levels. It’s something that makes Super Mario Maker’s curation system pale in comparison.
Everything about this game is so lovingly crafted. The platforming in the main levels is fun, if short. Creating and sharing levels has never been easier. As long as people are making new levels there will be endless replay value from that alone.
Review copy of the game provided by Atooi
Total Play Time: 5 hours
Played through all the main levels and some user Generated ones. Created 3 levels and shared.