In the modern world of video games, there is not enough room for everyone. And unfortunately, some titles, no matter how complete or exceptional they are, fail to grab public’s attention and most importantly, its wallets. However, at times, bang average games make it past the abyss of the modern digital stores, and establish themselves as cult classics. And since the release of the original Nidhogg, many party-centric games, have rose to prominence by simply providing players with the now borderline-extinct, and forgotten, couch co-op, while being nothing more than a handful of assets cobbled together into one ramshackle, lacking package.
Nidhogg’s success has inspired many videogame developers to capitalise on the fad of couch co-op games, and an abundance of party games has soon flooded the market. And while many have believed that just like any other trend, the couch co-op party games will soon die out, just like the souls-like titles before them, it un-or-fortunately seems like this particular type of indie game is far from over, and the recently released Ultimate Chicken Horse, only further proves the legitimacy of this statement.
Ultimate Chicken Horse is by no means a ‘’new’’ title, as it has initially launched on Steam back in early 2016. And the experience which it proved players with was substantial enough, in order for it to gain the cult status within the indie community. As for months on end, players around the world, were praising Ultimate Chicken Horse for its ingenuity, and its sheer entertainment value, which at least to some, had seemingly no bounds.
The core premise of Ultimate Chicken Horse, is to place four players against each other in a side-scrolling race to victory. However, unlike your Mario’s and other Mega Men, Ultimate Chicken Horse, doesn’t contain pre-existing levels, as all players present are in charge of building their own, trap laden course. And the ultimate object of the Ultimate Chicken Horse is to create a course which will be lethal to one’s opponents but crafty enough, to let you, the creator, pass with ease.
Each and every game of the Ultimate Chicken Horse is divided into two phases. First involves building, and the second revolves around beating the course. And while it would be safe to assume that course creation could be a cumbersome and difficult task, it would ultimately be incorrect to do so, as the creation suite located within the title is so easy to comprehend, that a literal child could use it. But just because it is easy to use, it doesn’t mean it’s fun.
Some games, have risen to polarity mainly because of their create-a-map systems, or other editors. Even Media Molecule’s Little Big Planet, despite of featuring a robust, and cohesive story mode, is only know and remembered for its level creator. However, this is not the case with Ultimate Chicken Horse, as for this particular title, the create-a-level system is more of a hindrance if anything, As it turns the otherwise fast paced and fun game, into slow and monotonous slog, where all players involved have to wait for one of the players to stop playing around with traps, and simply start playing.
People with whom I had a chance to play Ultimate Chicken Horse, and I, have all found Ultimate Chicken Horse to be its own biggest enemy. As by forcing the players to constantly switch between roles, completely destroys the title’s pacing. And before long, we’ve found ourselves simply playing through the user created challenges, of neither of us could be bothered to continue on with the party mode. And while the in-game challenge mode has provided us with some quality entertainment, the fun factor has rapidly wore off, and within an hour, we were back to playing Call of Duty World War II.
When discussing Ultimate Chicken Horses content it is difficult to give the title itself any praise, as ultimately players and in-game creators are the ones who ultimately make it or break it. And yes – the developer behind the title has provided us with all the required tools, but if one is not keen on doing developer’s job for him/her. Then he/she is probably is not going to get a lot of the experience. And while it is possible to simply play through user created content using the challenge well, it is ultimately not worth the bother, as in order to get to a single level which is both fun and challenging, one will have to dig through heaps of literal trash.
Ultimate Chicken Horse, may not be the ultimate party experience, but it will surely find some who will respect, and cherish it for what it is. And its visual façade, and whacky art style, can carry it a long way, as at least visually, Ultimate Chicken Horse, really stands out from the crowd. But unfortunately whacky character models, and a handful of backdrops and in-game items, is not sufficient enough to warrant the title’s asking price, which even on PC, where it costs just £10, is rather steep.
To conclude, all that has to be said about Ultimate Chicken Horse, is that it is like a sport game, with no factual content. It’s like a football game, which has no teams within it, so fi you want to play a match with your friends during a party, you have to make all the players one by one, and only after you’ve composed 22 unique footballers, then only then, you can engage in the game itself. Which in all honesty, completely defeats the purpose of a party game. As titles of this particular genre should be quick and snappy, and getting into them should take a dozen of seconds, and not minutes.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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