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Bomb Chicken - a Nitrome game for Steam and Nintendo Switch

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Mar 16, 2017 at 8:39 PM
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Nitrome said:
Which came first the chicken or the bomb?

Nitrome is back with another object-creating bird game, this time about a chicken making bombs to solve puzzles and get around places. The bombs allow you to reach higher places, take out enemies and just let everything satisfyingly explode.

Apparently this one's a lot further into development than Flightless was, so here's to hoping it will end up being a complete game. It still has yet to be greenlit (at the time of making this thread). The Steam page can be found here.

This looks like it'll be a nice change from all the mobile games Nitrome has been making recently. I'm definitely looking forward to this one.
Mar 20, 2018 at 5:40 PM
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Time to give this thread a nice little relevant bump.

They’re finally making it on Switch. This makes me really happy even if I don’t own a Switch. :confused:

Edit: haha broken links
Jul 12, 2018 at 4:54 PM
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Aw yeah it's out

(For Switch)

Links may be broken; check the video.

Not much word on the Steam version yet, unfortunately. Come on, Nitrome! Don't let this be another Flightless.
Sep 25, 2018 at 9:14 PM
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One of my main issues with the game are the challenges, but mostly just the ones in the second half of the game. Some of the enemies, particularly the cannons that shoot a slow, electric shot at you, are irritating to deal with. A good example of this is level 27... the level is filled with nothing but these guys. To be specific, the second room in this level is a vertical section where you need to descend the room by breaking the tiles below you with bombs while a ton of cannons to the left and right of you are shooting. This section is super annoying to me. I've played it multiple times, too -- once during my first playthrough and another when I was collecting the gems I missed -- and despite my best efforts, I just couldn't come up with a consistent way to pass this section. This is primarily a puzzle game with heavy platforming elements, so I tried to think of clever ways to use my bombs to pass the challenge, but given how many cannons there, how slow their projectiles are, and how they always disrupt your bombs at the worst possible times, it always just felt like I had to get really lucky with the timing of it to finally progress.

There is also this blue goop on some surfaces that creates a deadly shock wave whenever your bombs explode on it. On its own I don't think this is such a bad gimmick; it can really make you think about managing the quantity of your bombs wisely instead of placing them everywhere. However, when used in tandem with other elements (such as several of the bouncing skull head enemies and stationary spikes), it can easily devolve into a risk-prone guessing game of how to maneuver out of the way of all the junk about to collide with you. These elements definitely don't ruin the game, and I can certainly see others tolerating them more than myself, but to me they are flaws that rear their ugly head too frequently in the later sections of the game.

This brings up another issue I have with the game. While the levels themselves are hit-or-miss past the halfway point, I feel like the worst issues with the level design are compounded by the fundamental mechanics of the game. The most noticeable of these mechanics is the life system. You have a set amount of attempts to beat the level in before you get a Game Over and have to restart from the beginning, and you can increase the amount of attempts you get with the gems that you collect throughout the stages. A life system like this is fine on the surface, but I feel like it's entirely unnecessary in this type of game. A comparison I'd like to make is with Nitrome's other games. Most of their mobile games do not have a life counter, and I think they work better because of this. I find that Nitrome games normally have a fun, simple gimmick with clever puzzles and challenges designed around it. By adding a penalty for dying too many times, I felt less inclined to try a fun, yet risky solution to any given challenge and instead opted for more safe and predictable options. I like being able to experiment without being punished unnecessarily for it. The lives aren't a huge issue in the grand scheme of things, especially because they're at least nice enough to let you keep the gems you've collected even if you get a Game Over, but I think they only serve to neuter my creativity and to drag out the game without actually making the game more difficult in a productive way.

In addition, the bomb mechanics can be somewhat difficult to wrap your head around due to how many rules you have to remember. First of all, you can get hit by your own bombs. This is fine on its own, but the blast radius requires a bit of experimentation to fully understand. Each bomb's explosion visually appears to have a large radius, and this is reinforced by the generous range in which it'll defeat enemies and break terrain. However, you yourself can get rather close to it, with only a couple of pixels of separation being enough to remain safe. I'll admit that this is a fair enough way to approach the way the explosion works, but it's not visually clear your first time playing, and I doubt that most players would ever come to that conclusion without spending a few minutes to really test that out. Knowing where you're safe and how close you need to be to bomb the enemies is essential in the more difficult parts of the game, so it's not something you can play ignorant with. Something that I didn't even notice until later was that an exploding bomb can set off other bombs right away. It sounds like it makes sense, but all it really served to do was create more frustrating moments for me when I was trying to tower my way up to another platform. Plus, some enemies and projectiles will bounce off your bombs, while others will cause them to explode immediately, the latter of which was the bane of my existence in many sections, and the former of which just served to confuse me with the latter!

Despite these problems, the remainder of the game has a good sense of design. The secrets are a lot of fun to discover. The bosses were creative and were loads of fun. Blasting enemies and solving puzzles in the main parts of the game is quite satisfying.

In regards to the presentation of the game, it's a good looking game. I never had the opportunity to try it out on a TV screen, only the Switch's handheld screen, but I was still impressed by the quality of the pixel art and various particle effects. One downside, however, is the lack of variety. For the most part, the aesthetics can be described mostly as an ancient temple overtaken by vegetation and forestry with the occassional mechanical bits. It does mix things up on occasion, such as the one level with the BFC store or how the later levels add lava and the blue goop to the mix, but having 29 levels with mostly the same look to them makes it very difficult to differentiate any of them from each other.

The music is just... kind of there. A lot of Nitrome's music is hit-or-miss for me; my favorite tracks mostly come from Leap Day, and I think their style doesn't typically hook me in as easily. My problem with this soundtrack is that it goes for a very atmospheric vibe, in that it's not even music you could hum to yourself (even the Nitrome tracks that I don't like as much are structured enough for that). And hey, I'm sure that's the kind of mood they were going for, but I'm not a fan of it. I played 90% of the game with other music playing in the background.

The game is pretty polished as a whole. There were a couple of glitches I encountered, but they were mostly just fun oddities that I never came across more than once. The physics are spot-on and it controls without a hitch. It's quite entertaining to just walk around, bounce off of enemies, and lay a bunch of bombs everywhere. The fundamentals are just plain fun. A super nice little touch (that people who play it on Steam when it releases there unfortunately won't be able to experience) is the HD rumble on the Switch joycons. Any time a bomb explodes, your controller will rumble, but it depends on the position and distance of the bomb. Having a faint rumble on your left joycon from a bomb that you set on the other side of the screen is quite wonderful.
I guess given my accounts of the game, it seems like I was mostly mixed on it, but I really did enjoy my time with it and would say my experience was good overall. It's a satisfying puzzle platformer that I would recommend to those who enjoy games in that genre. A big sticking point, however, is the price. When I bought the game, it was $15. I don't know if I would recommend it at that price. I say wait for it to go on sale if you're interested.