I’m a gigantic cock.
While that’s not exactly news to anyone who has met me, for once I’m talking about that description in a more literal sense of the word. To be specific, I’m a massive anthropomorphic rooster, strutting about a seedy city and solving crimes. I’m calling suspects mother-cluckers, the world is painted in shades of grey between monochromatic mayhem, and murder most fowl is going on in the shadows.
Enter you, as burned out ex-cop Santino “Sonny” Featherland. A rising star in the making before he clucked it all up, Featherland’s now a private dick in the city of Clawville where you’re either a predator or prey that’s waiting to be devoured. It’s a fascinating environment, one put together by a team of former Witcher 3, Crysis, and Call of Duty WWII developers now known as The Wild Gentlemen.
And wild’s a great adjective here! Just like Featherland, every character you meet takes on the appearance of a Furry’s wet dream. Shy goats, cunning cats, and grumpy hounds all cross your path during the course of the game. In typical hard-boiled fashion, it all begins with a dame in the office, a chance at redemption, and more questions than answers as you find yourself plucked from the streets and drowning in a tangled web of mysteries.
To get answers, you’ll need to do some proper detective work, verbal sparring, and keep your eyes open for clues in the static environments. How you ask a question is just as important as which question you’re tossing at a suspect, with each character interaction hatching more of the plot as you move forward to an inescapable conclusion.
In many ways Chicken Police plays out like a hidden object game merged with the trappings of a visual novel. Words are more dangerous than a loaded gun or a femme fatale with lofty ambition, but your handy notepad helps you keep track of everything and everyone you come across. Occasional mini-games and shootouts break up the endless barrage of questioning, but make no mistake: Chicken Police wants you to savour every crumb of its gumshoe dish.
That makes for a deliberately slow game, one whose pace won’t sit well with anyone who wants to hit the skip button and move forward. Instead this is a game where story comes first, where nuanced conversations drive the plot forward and subtle jabs between statements can deliver a cerebral haymaker.
And for all of its unrelenting weirdness, it’s a heck of a game to look and listen to. The voice acting from the diverse cast never feels out of place amongst the entire zoo of characters, every stage is a loving homage to the detective films of a bygone era, and the weirdness on display helps create a unique atmosphere. Few games deserve this statement, but there’s genuinely nothing else that can compare to Chicken Police’s B-movie stylings that are rendered with an A-game effort.
It’s both hilarious and serious, but Chicken Police is more than just 2020’s weirdest game. Beneath the clucked-up surface is a genuinely engrossing story, amazingly developed characters, and a cast that brings them to life. With slick production values, this is one hard-boiled detective story with a unique flavour.
Last Updated: November 10, 2020