Developer: Nitrome | Publisher: Nitrome | Genre: Puzzle-platformer | Mode: Single-player
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, macOS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, iOS, Android, Xbox One
Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch
Released on the Nintendo Switch (and later on PC), Bomb Chicken follows a seemingly ordinary chicken who after a freak accident becomes a bomb laying free range hero. Taking inspiration from the Bomberman series, Bomb Chicken is a fun little platformer with enough explosive action, light puzzle-solving and a gentle sense of humour to keep players engaged from start to finish.
As the name of the title somewhat indicates, the unlikely hero of the story is tasked with escaping from a fast-food science facility comprised of dangerous conveyor belts, deadly spikes, spinning cogs, a maze of warp pipes and other appropriately themed industrial threats. Each of the 29 stages includes secret rooms, a host of colorful enemies and locked off areas that require swipe cards and pressure-sensitive triggers in order to advance. In addition, every level is book-ended by elevators that transport you to a fast food shrine, where you can trade in blue gems you’ve collected to increase the number of extra lives available per level. It’s worth picking up as many of these gems as you can as it makes the game easier to beat, but don’t’ worry if you don’t because the levels are reasonably short, and there is also a generous checkpoint system throughout.
What makes Bomb Chicken different than most platformers is that our titular character has no special skills save the ability to lay bombs at a limitless rate. The feathered protagonist can’t even jump, so getting over obstacles or on top of platforms relies on you laying enough explosive eggs to traverse across each room. Tasks such as jumping across a pit from one ledge to another will require you to stack bombs underneath the chicken in order to get you to where you need to be and if you want to reach the upper levels, a similar process is needed in order to reach higher ground. As with most action platformers, the difficulty slowly ramps up as you encounter more varieties of enemies, all with different patterns.
The twist here, however, is that Bomb Chicken herself is not bomb-proof and therefore players need to be extra careful, as each bomb is also an immediate danger to her. And further complicating things is that each bomb is on a short timer leaving you a mere few seconds to get out of harm’s way. If you’re not fast enough, getting caught in the explosions will invariably kill you.
Founded in 2004, British independent video game developer Nitrome has made a name for itself over the years thanks to the large library of their internet-based flash games and mobile titles – each recognizable by the pixel art design and cartoon-like appearance. There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking about Bomb Chicken, but it may be their best game yet if only because of its classic approach and simple bomb-laying mechanic. Each level is well designed, from the crisp audio, clear visuals, and the delightfully charming animated characters, and given that the price tag is less than or equal to a Happy Meal, Bomb Chicken is well worth your money and time.
– Ricky D