It was a dark and stormy night when this game, with gams for miles, stepped into my office: Chicken Police – Paint It RED!, her name was.
“What can I help ya with, doll?”
“I’ll get straight to the point: I was hopin’ you could play me for a while and then write a little somethin’ about me in the local rag.”
“Alright, but what’s in it for me sweetheart?”
“You get to play a fantastic game.” I could tell that this one was going to be trouble with a capital T.
Developed by Hungary based indie studio The Wild Gentlemen, Chicken Police tells the story of Sonny Featherland, a jaded cop currently on suspension from the police force. His wife left him a while ago and took their only daughter, so he’s definitely getting too old for this s#*%.
When Sonny comes home late one night, to his sad excuse for an apartment, he discovers the door mysteriously unlocked and a beautiful impala standing in the middle of his “office”. Deborah asks for Sonny’s help, leading Sonny to the biggest case of his life.
“Woah, back up. Did you say impala?”
Why yes, I did say impala. Chicken Police takes place in a fictional world where every character is an animal-human hybrid. While this may sound like a weird concept, in practice it is extremely endearing and creates a very unique aesthetic. Our main character Sonny, and his plucky partner Marty MacChicken are both – you guessed it – chickens!
Characters have the heads and necks of animals but the bodies of humans. This creates a very interesting visual experience: from chicken to dog to raccoon and even fly, your eyes will never get bored with this game.
It isn’t just the characters that are artistically appealing, every location and background is a visual smorgasbord. For example, step into the fancy Czar Club: you’ll see well-dressed animal patrons, flashing lights at the bar, each expensive looking table covered in fancy table settings, all surrounding the stage adorned by a grand piano just waiting for the show to begin.
Or take a trip down to Clawville P.D. where a cute hummingbird stands behind the reception desk. The Clawville crest overlooking the room, desks and benches, and the drink machine Sonny reviles.
The artistic details are a feast for the eyes, and you can tell that love and care were put into every pixel.
Musically, it is everything you would want and expect from a game with a hardboiled detective theme: lots of jazzy piano and saxophone creating the tone of every moment. The lead femme fatale sings her own lounge song. Chicken Police is dripping film noir from every pore of its black and white comb, and it is oh so satisfying.
So what are players expected to do? Chicken Police is an interactive visual novel, so for the most part you will be going from place to place and interacting with the different characters you find, collecting information and clues in order to solve the case.
Each environment has several points of interest you can interact with that will usually result in Sonny sharing his thoughts. Characters you can interact with have the options: look, talk, ask, and question. Each can help you gather information.
You can hit the buttons on the D-pad to access Sonny’s journal, full of all of the clues and information you’ve collected, as well as viewing your items and the map that will take you to the different locations in the game.
There are a couple of fast-paced shoot-out scenes that require you to navigate your crosshairs (R stick) and shoot (A), along with a shooting range at the local P.D. where you can continuously try for the top score.
Heck, there are even a couple of puzzles requiring more than just a point and click to figure out. This game takes the visual novel genre and truly ups the ante.
The writing is downright spectacular. The story is engrossing, the characters are compelling, the world itself has a rich history you can discover and read about in the journal’s Codex. Every single word in this game is worth reading!
Or… listening to! The voice acting in this game is stellar, professional, and a true delight to the ear-holes. You won’t find yourself skipping through this game, no matter how fast you can read, because it is fantastic listening to each character’s compelling voice. For a visual “novel” there is in fact very little actual reading required.
Honestly, the only hiccup I had was that my game crashed once. The game autosaves every time you change locations, and you don’t actually have the ability to manually save. This allows you to stay immersed, trusting that the game will record your precious progress, but it’s potentially annoying for those who might want to save in the middle of a scene.
It is a rare treat to play a game so good. Unless you absolutely hate noir or chickens, definitely add this one to your collection.
Chicken Police - Paint It Red! £17.99
Cue the sirens and smooth jazz and prepare for a wild ride: from car chases to burning boats, femme fatales to hard-boiled detectives, Chicken Police – Paint It RED! is the game you didn’t know you needed, but you definitely do.