Zoo Games has established themselves as a low quality budget game publisher. Making nothing but Wii shovelware, they have out done themselves with one of their latest games, Chicken Blaster.
Using the IR sensor on the Wii controller, Chicken Blaster is nothing more than pointing at the screen and mindlessly tapping the trigger button. In fact, you do not even have to aim as the screen as it is flooded with flying chickens making it difficult to miss, eliminating any sense of challenge.
Almost every single thought and design aspect about this game simply does not make sense. Let’s start with the game’s concept: shoot floating chickens. The game never explains why the player is sent to perform this task. Further, the game’s overall concept is even more questionable due to the box art. For some reason, the box art shows a beat-up chicken in a police line-up. Why? The game has nothing to do with arresting chickens or police brutality. You just shoot them like a fish in a bucket. The game’s box art rivals that of MegaMan 1 on NES. The single page (yes, the entirety of this game is written on one page) black and white instruction booklet fails to mention anything of remote significance either.
Ok, so what else doesn’t make sense? What about the title screen? Is there a reason why a chicken constantly vanishes in and out of existence, as if it doesn’t know whether or not it wants to remain in any moment of time? It is just freakin’ weird.
Also, who in their right mind makes the “A” button the cancel button and the “B” trigger button to confirm when browsing the game’s menus? This strange button configuration also makes it ways into the game – “B” shoots and “A” reloads. Using the “B” does generate more of a gun/shooting feel, but at least give the player some options to tweak the controls. In fact, there are no options whatsoever. The only options that are available to the player are to adjust the volume levels of the music. Well guess what? I could do that with my TV remote. The game does have a “calibration” setting, to assumedly help make your Wii remote more accurate, but it just doesn’t work. And when I say that it doesn’t work, I mean you shoot at the screen and nothing happens, as if the programmers just decided to make a blank page.
Before you can start shooting chickens, you have to navigate the game’s menus. Like everything else in the game, the menus are also broken. The player basically selects a level, and instead of the game taking the player to the gameplay, the player must select the level again in a following screen. Why do I need to select the level twice in two different screens!? It is like the game is double checking to see if you really want to play. WTF!
The game tries to make itself have more content than it really does by reusing the same levels. Making matters even more fake, Career Mode and Survival Mode are exactly the same thing. The game brags that it has three modes of play, the third being Quest Mode – objective based missions, but Career and Survival are completely 100% identical. Claiming to have three game modes when there is really only two is like saying that playing Mario 1 on NES is totally different experience when you play as Luigi. At least in Mario 1 you play as a pallet swapped character; you don’t even get a minor difference like this in Chicken Blaster.
Now, let’s get into the actual gameplay. Without any type of tutorial or direction, the game basically just starts up and the player is left to figure out what to do. The only objective in the game is to shoot hovering chickens. But the poorly modeled and animated chickens have no real tie in with the rest of the game or the box art. There is no explanation as to why chickens can fly, why some are holding samurai swords, why they are pooping eggs at you, or why the player has to shoot them? The absence of any sort of direction is mind numbing and actually confusing.
The chickens, like the ghostly image on the game’s main title screen, also literally appear out of nowhere – they just spawn right in the middle of the screen. Unlike the structured and aim-based mechanics of a shooting gallery, Chicken Blaster just tells the player to go trigger happy with its magically spawning chickens. At least in a shooting gallery, you have to take aim and steady your shots, introducing skill to the game. A retarded, blind monkey who had a stroke could easily be a pro at this game.
The game’s one option, controlling the audio’s volume levels, actually proves itself quite useful. Every time you nail a chicken, they announce their death with a highly annoying squawk. After completing the first level, you will curse yourself for having ears.
As you progress through each level, the player must tap “up” on the d-pad to move to the next area. There is no reason why the game should not move the screen automatically. And why does the player have to tap “up”? Hitting “down” on the d-pad would make more sense as it is easier to reach. The worst part about all this is during the camera’s transition to the new part of the level, the player can take damage from incoming attack eggs. The player, however, does not have the option to shoot during these terrible transitions, forcing the player to lose needless health points. Not only is the game terrible and poorly programmed, it also cheats.
Needless to say, the game’s presentation values are completely subpar. Visually, everything is of high school quality. The game also has a very long load time after the player moves from menu screen to menu screen. Chicken Blaster does not even have a three or four player option, an option that should be a staple in a light-gun style game.
Like just about everything else Zoo Games puts on the market, this title is designed to be purchased on impulse as it only retails for about $20. Since the Wii is currently the most-sold system, they figure they can get at least few suckers to purchase this game. But until the quality of their titles increase, it is best to leave these games to rot in the bottom of the bargain bin. It is of the lowest quality.
Not As Good As: Duck Hunt
Also Try: Wild West Guns (WiiWare)
Wait For It: anything else
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