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Bomb Chicken – an explosive platform puzzler

A tasty retro-style arcade treat – assuming you can stand the heat

Price: $5/£5
Version: 1.0
Size: 336.6 MB
Developer: Nitrome
Platform: iPhone / iPad

Bomb Chicken

It was level eight before we shouted the kind of expletive at Bomb Chicken that would require quite a few bleeps had it been uttered on television. Our fine fowl was being chased along a corridor by a screen-high circular saw, determined to fillet the hero. This was attempt number ten. Seconds from victory, the chicken was sliced in two yet again.

The frustration produced by this kind of demanding challenge would usually be enough to make even a hardy gamer quit. No matter Bomb Chicken’s gorgeous retro visuals, fab soundtrack, and tight controls. So we need to rewind a bit, because there’s more to this game than detonating your temper.

Finger-licking’ good

Bomb Chicken exists in a world where fast food is literally addictive. In the facility where a mysterious blue hot sauce is made, you need to discover the secret ingredient.

You also happen to be a chicken, who’s been altered after the egg he was once ensconced in came into contact with toxic waste (or perhaps just sauce overflow), resulting in said fowl being able to lay bombs instead of eggs.

You can see where this is going: the chicken must search the facility, using bombs to blow holes in walls and deal with deadly foes. There are gems to pick up as well, which between levels can be used to permanently upgrade your finite set of lives.

It’s a blast

Initially, it’s grin-inducing stuff. The visuals are superb — retro-infused, but with a great sense of humor, and animation that’s a world beyond 1980s videogame hits. The controls mostly work well – you slide a thumb to move, and tap to lay a bomb. Satisfyingly, you can lay entire piles of bombs and then slam into the bottom of the tower, sending them all skidding across the screen.

Occasionally, though, things don’t quite go to plan. You’ll lay a bomb instead of move, or vice-versa. Normally, that would be a minor irritation; but in Bomb Chicken, any slight error eventually results in the protagonist becoming an ex-chicken. And so we return to the beginning of this review: swearing at the screen, as the game yet again shows us up for not being perfect.

An eggsplosion of frustration

The question is whether you’ll endure under such pressure. Modern mobile games trained everyone to assume they’ll get infinite lives and plenty of checkpoints, in order to best any level. Often, it’s possible to just brute-force your way to the end. Bomb Chicken bites (pecks?) back, with more retro-oriented thinking. Die and you start the current section again. Lose all your lives, and you restart the level (although, fortunately, not the entire game).

So are you a tough ol’ bird or just plain chicken? Grab this game and you’ll find out soon enough. But even if you do fail often during play, everything else about Bomb Chicken will likely find you coming back for another go — even if your language has by then become as blue as the game’s hot sauce.