Game

Review: Neo Noir Chicken Police Is a Delight

Screenshot: Chicken Police

It’s New Year’s Eve, and you’re a washed-up detective. You’re 121 days until retirement—but it feels like an eternity slowly ticking away. When you step into your office, you’re met with some dame. She’s doe-eyed, innocent—but how the hell did she get into your office? She’s in over her head, but she has a message from her mistress–she needs your help. It’s going to be a long night in Clawville, and you’ll need your partner to get to the bottom of this, but he’s a chicken. That’s okay, because so are you. That’s Chicken Police.

Chicken Police is an adventure game where you take the role of Sonny Featherland, a grizzled detective that is “still a cop on paper” but has a setup that looks a lot like a private detective’s. You and your partner Marty get embroiled in a mystery that involves intrigue, and murder—and you have to solve it. It’s incredibly story heavy, with a mystery underlying the whole affair, so I won’t spoil any major plot points. But Chicken Police is certainly a trip. The entire world of Chicken Police is filled with people with animal heads, and humanoid bodies. They’re not large animals—it’s more like you’re interacting in a world of noir styled Egyptian gods.

Screenshot: Chicken Police

As Sonny Featherland (with partner in tow) you visit multiple locations, search for clues, and attempt to unravel the mystery. It’s a point and click adventure where you don’t gather a whole horde of items, but instead, rely more on communication and dialogue to unravel the mystery. There are plenty of puzzles, and even the occasion to use an inventory item to solve them—but more often than not, you’ll be digging through dialogue more than piles of pixels. Still, attention to detail is a must, and some puzzles can’t be solved without a keen eye.

The story is a mystery, and there are plenty of clues to find—and sometimes you have a piece them together to get past any roadblocks in the case. There’s even a minigame that helps you connect the dots between people, locations, and events—using thumbtacks and string—just like a real noir-styled detective.  You’ll also have to interrogate suspects in a way similar to L.A. Noir—you’re given questions, and you have to choose the best answer for the situation. The better your questions, the higher your score—and the more cooperation you’re presumably get. Though, even when I made mistakes a few times, I still seemed to get the information I needed to get the story going forward.

Screenshot: Chicken Police

Sonny Featherland is a great lead protagonist, and he has the perfect noir-detective disposition. He’s solving a murder in a world that is inherently absurd—something he would probably agree with, but for different reasons. This absurdity leads to some pretty funny moments. And while there is plenty of humor in Chicken Police, it also goes into some surprisingly dark territory—like drugs, alcoholism, murder, etc. It doesn’t shy away from sexuality, either. There are multiple depictions of half-naked animal people—but it’s nothing gratuitous.

Chicken Police has a wide cast of characters—and most of them don’t seem to be telling the whole truth.  Every character is fully voiced, and done well for the most part. Some of the more animal-like affectations were annoying, but something I was able to quickly get over. Chicken Police has an amazing presentation—and that’s actually one of its major draws.

Screenshot: Chicken Police

I’ve never played a point and click adventure game with as much eye towards cinematic presenation as Chicken Police. It really goes all-out with its noir style, but also with its movie-like style. Cinematic interstitials pop-up often to move the narrative forward, and they’re always a delight. It takes itself seriously visually, but the whole setup is so tongue-in-cheek—it really creates a strange juxtaposition that just works. It’s hard go wrong atmospherically when noir style is combined with smoky jazz, which is the case with Chicken Police.

If I had any complaint about Chicken Police, is its length. It only took me a few hours to get through its story. There are only a small handful of locations and characters—though locations are often visited multiple times, and every character that is there is quality.

Screenshot: Chicken Police

Chicken Police is a gorgeous, hilarious game with unmatched cinematic presentation. It’s really something special, and though it may be short, it’s a quality ride from start to finish.  I loved most everything about it, from its animal-filled world to its gruff feathery protagonist. It the premise is at all interesting, or you’re a fan of point and click adventure games, you should check this one out.

 

Chicken Police is available now on Steam and for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.

 

 

 

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